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Living in the Present

Thinking back, 2020 has certainly taught us to be resilient and adaptable. I am sure that many people opted to change their holiday arrangements in light of the Covid resurgence and closed beaches.

Our family holiday was to be in Knysna. We actually drove as far as Port Elizabeth, but after the President’s family meeting on the 14th of December, decided it was perhaps not the best idea to spend time in such a popular and populated destination. Johannesburg seemed a much safer bet and we spent a wonderful Christmas at home.

After Christmas and much consideration, we all agreed as a family, that the Kruger National Park would be the ideal getaway in a safe, open-air environment. We were so sure that we had made the right decision for a low-risk Covid exposure, surrounded by the African bush and immersed in nature.

Things don’t always go as planned and we have just emerged from 14 days of isolation. My son Josh tested positive for Covid while we were in the bush. You just never know!

Having a child with Covid – or any family member, friend, colleague or client – is hard. You are constantly anxious about their health and your own. Josh worried that he would pass it on to us, and we worried about him. So many thoughts whirl through your head: what if I have it; what if I pass it on unknowingly; am I doing the right thing?

In this time, I have learnt that it is so important to control your thoughts. My recurring thoughts was thinking about the past, “I wish we had …” or “I wish we could go back to the way things were.” Some of my thoughts dwelled in the future, and I kept asking myself “what if” while at the same time trying to guess what may or may not happen.

What really helped me cope and manage my emotions, was to stay in the present. Being present, in the given moment, means that you let go of the past, and stop worrying about the future. All you have, at this moment, is this time. Focus on what is happening right now. Make every moment your priority and don’t let it slip by you unnoticed.

By focusing on the present, I was able to cancel out most of the noise in my head. It gave me peace knowing that I was celebrating each present moment instead of worrying about the past or the future. I know this is not always possible, and it’s certainly not easy. Our minds are wired for flight or fight – an automatic physiological reaction to stressful events. But we owe it to ourselves to try.

Support and be kind to yourself during this process. Remind yourself that you are doing the best that you can. If possible, find ways to quiet the thoughts in your head – I like to focus on my breathing and meditation is also a good tool. Some people immerse themselves in their senses. Whatever works for you, remind yourself, as often as you need, that each moment is a gift. A gift that is worth living.

Wishing you all many happy, healthy and peaceful moments this year!

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