Ditch the Fear for a Healthier and Happier New Year.
With the new year around the corner and the festive season upon us, many of us will have one eye on January as a time to purge ourselves of the excess baggage and toxins left behind by the indulgence of Christmas. In light of the year we have endured, I’m sure the desire to celebrate. and experience some relief from the pressure cooker of fear, will be at an all-time high this festive season- and why not! During my work over the last 2 years as an Osteopath in Beaconsfield and Qatar I have observed and witnessed the negative impact of the last 2 years of life, that still has many of us waiting with baited breath for the next cascade of doom to descend. However, it now feels as though more and more people are running out of patience and tolerance of those who seem to be desperately trying to maintain our current state of fear and confusion. Thankfully, a growing number of people seem to be focused on restoring humanity, while many still feel suspended in animation- like rabbits in headlights.
Although there seems to be very little focus on the disastrous harms of some of the disproportionate responses to the pandemic, it is becoming increasingly more evident that the cure is becoming worse than the disease! As healthcare professionals, it is our duty to tailor our treatments to the needs of each individual. Unfortunately, the concept of ‘person centred’ care seems to have gone out of the window in the last 2 years, in favour of a ‘one size fits all’ approach for everybody, regardless of their individual health status! As an Osteopath in Beaconsfield, I frequently hear, first hand, how harmful this approach has been for the health of many of my patients. It is now becoming increasingly more obvious to see that some of the measures being imposed upon us, in response to the pandemic, are doing just as much, if not more harm than the pandemic itself. In fact, the majority of people I speak to are now more afraid of the rules and responses imposed upon us, than the virus itself!
Is the Cure Worse Than The Disease?
For many, 2020 has felt like a year of psychological abuse, and that wouldn’t be far from the truth. The book- ‘A State of Fear’ by Laura Dodsworth, describes how governments have used behavioural psychologists (as part of their secret SAGE & ONION team) to deliberately scare and shame people into obedience. This sustained campaign of fear mongering, on top of lockdowns and other questionable interventions, has taken a heavy toll on our health and wellness.
Why are we not hearing more about the consequences of such impositions as social isolation, disintegration of family life, loss of purpose and routine, job losses, and drastic reductions in routine healthcare? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise the disastrous impact that these avoidable consequences have and still are having on our health. We have already seen significant increases in childhood obesity, heart attacks, and depression since the start of the pandemic, and these are just a few of the needless consequences suffered by people of all generations, as a result of the ‘one size fits all’ response to a virus with an average mortality age of 80 years old.
I’m certainly not playing down our global health crisis, but when the cure is proving to be worse than the disease, it has to be called out. Just because the mainstream media is choosing not to focus on the harms being caused by the response to the pandemic, it doesn’t mean to say that they’re not happening. I completely understand that so many caring and well-meaning healthcare professionals are afraid to speak up, but it’s a time to be brave. I am fortunate to be working in private practice as an Osteopath in Beaconsfield, which means that I am not beholden to a completely one-sided narrative that is disregarding the unnecessary destruction of wellness that we are being exposed to.
One minute we are clapping for the medical staff risking their lives to help save lives, next minute we are indifferent to them being fired because of their well-informed personal medical choices!
The above really sums up the lack of humanity we have had to endure this year – A year that has clearly demonstrated to us that if we are to salvage, protect and nurture our health and happiness, we must be proactive, brave and flexible. More than ever, we must be proactive in fortifying and protecting our health, in the face of increasingly more unhealthy and restricted lifestyles. We must be confident enough to trust, and take charge of our health. We also need to be brave enough to make choices that may not be popular, but are the best for us. We must also be flexible enough to traverse the nonsense and unpredictability of a society being deliberately ravaged by fear, confusion and divisiveness.
I have spent most of my career trying to make a more compelling case for pro-active and preventative healthcare, and now the world has abruptly made this case more compelling than ever. If we choose not to heed the message from this harsh lesson, then we only have ourselves to blame!
Ding Dong, The Wellness Bells Are Ringing!
Anyway, ‘tis the season to be jolly’, and also a good time to remember what it feels like to be a compassionate human, as opposed to a fearful and guilt riddled biohazard! If there is one thing we need more than ever right now, it is to reinforce the connections and relationships with the people we love and enjoy. To reconnect with some of our most primal instincts- to commune, share, and celebrate with each other (you know, those instincts that have suddenly become a threat to civilisation! 😂).
The festive holiday is also a great time to reflect on the year that has passed, and pay a little mind to any intentions for the year ahead. Among those intentions should be the priority of doubling down on our wellness. Since the beginning of 2020 the wellness bells have been ringing louder than ever! Both our physical and mental health have been gradually suffocated between a virus on one side and opportunistic governments on the other. By the way, If you’re reading this and thinking-‘why is he government bashing?’, you must have spent the last 20 months living in a remote cave. If you are someone who hasn’t suffered as a result of the response to the pandemic, then I would regard you as both lucky and in the minority!
Your First-Aid Kit For 2022
The case for self-care couldn’t be any clearer than it has been in the last 2 years, and if you haven’t already taken the reigns of your health with a firm grip, it’s time to don the riding gloves, sink the spurs in and hold on tight! I’m sure many would agree that if 2021 is anything to go by, a bank of physical and mental resilience is going to be essential for our 2022 first-aid kit. If this year has felt like a psycholgical beatdown, it’s definitely time to start 2022 with a David Goggins style ‘living autopsy’. It sounds pretty morbid, but a ‘living autopsy’, is just a self-examination of the way we are currently feeling, thinking, and interacting with the world. An essential and very effective aspect of my Osteopathy treatments in Beaconsfield is to help people become aware of how their perspective, thoughts and feelings can affect their aches, pains and overall wellbeing.
The last 2 years have amplified many of the negative or ‘unhelpful’ characteristics of humanity, such as fear, helplessness, apathy, discrimination, ignorance, inhumanity etc. Many of us project a personal void of self-esteem, self-care and self-love outwards in the form of blame and self-victimization, instead of doing a ‘living autopsy’, and taking full responsibility for the way we feel. Yes, we can lay some blame at the door of a few very obvious entities involved, but the way we respond to the challenges we face is under our control. We cannot expect anybody to protect us from the negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours that we choose to engage with. It is these reactions that disempower and rob us of our health, happiness and resilience.
We have seen clearly over the last 2 years, what happens when we succumb to fear, and hand over our health to uncompassionate authorities masquerading as our benevolent guardians- we suffer more! Over the last 2 years, many people have described the dynamic between us and our authorities as an abusive relationship. We hand over our trust and agency, and in return we are lied to, frightened, shamed and oppressed, all apparently for our own safety!!!
So, as the new Surgeon General of Florida said recently- ‘WE’RE DONE WITH FEAR!’ Fear of ourselves, fear of each other, fear of speaking our truths…. Let’s make 2022 about repairing humanity, starting with ourselves. I’m not suggesting we are broken, but we definitely need to regain our power and sense of agency by being more accountable to ourselves and taking full responsibility for the way we think, feel, and interact with the world at large. I think it’s fair to say that when we are putting in the work to feel vital, healthy and strong, the results are a greater sense of agency, self-confidence, positive affect, and overall wellbeing. It’s far too easy, yet completely unsatisfying, to be a victim of circumstance, live in an echo chamber of low frequencies, and blame others for our deficits in health and happiness.
So who’s gonna form your tribe in 2022? What have you learned from 2021? Can you do a ‘live autopsy’ and put the results into practice?
Reactivity Is Out, Pro-activity Is In!
In my 20 plus years of working in health and fitness, I have come to the conclusion that we are more reactive than pro-active, even though we constantly extol the virtues of the latter. In my work as an Osteopath in Beaconsfield, I mainly treat people who are reacting to pain and disease as opposed to proactively reinforcing their wellness. The most radical and inspiring health transformations I have had the privilege of witnessing have been in reaction to some of the most life threatening and traumatic experiences life can throw at us, such as heart attacks and severe psychological breakdowns. These superhuman reactions are rare, partly because most people never get the opportunity to return from these adverse experiences. We don’t need to radically transform ourselves in response to our current health challenge, but we definitely need to be proactive, and establish some simple habits that protect and improve our health and happiness.
Robust health isn’t established through sporadic superhuman feats of effort, sacrifice and self-discipline, it is steadily nurtured and compounded by our everyday decisions and choices- How am I going to start my day? What shall I eat? Shall I take the lift or the stairs? Is this a problem or an opportunity?…… Since the beginning of 2020 we have been given the warning and the opportunity to respond to an unprecedented challenge in a way that can make us more resilient, healthy and united. Instead we have become more unhealthy, unhappy, fearful, and divided. For the most part, the virus hasn’t done this to us, but our loss of agency to people who do not care about us has! Let’s take back our humanity and sense of control in 2022. This starts by caring for ourselves, trusting in ourselves, and reconnecting with each other.
If you feel as though you need any guidance or support with your health and wellness, my ears and mind are always open. I also provide a mobile service of Personal Training, Sports Massage and Osteopathy in Beaconsfield, and the surrounding local areas. Feel free to contact me for any advice, treatment or just a chinwag, because even something as simple as an uplifting conversation can make us feel a whole load better!