The weekend just gone, we were going to town so I accompanied my wife to the supermarket (and I don’t usually do the supermarket shop). We arrived, it wasn’t too bad, we walked up and down the aisles. Obviously, quite a few shelves were empty, no toilet roll, no pasta, no rice or baked beans. There was a big long queue at back of the store. I said to my wife, ‘The fish counter’s busy’, and we wandered over only to discover it was the queue for the checkout. It wound right around the store to the back wall. At this point, I suggested that I stand in the queue while she shops and brings stuff to me.
We are now in a queue when we’re supposed to be two metres from anyone else but it’s not possible. Fifty minutes later we paid and walked out.
The few things you normally consider essentials weren’t available. They had bread and vegetables, etc. But dried food, tins and toilet rolls were absent. Two things then came to mind:
- I wondered why everyone was buying pasta, baked beans and loo rolls. I had a quick flick through Joe Wicks’ recipe book and couldn’t find one recipe that contained all three ingredients. The irrational behaviour of people when what you really need is fruit and veg.
- Living in the country you tend to observe things. On my morning run, which I am grateful I can still do despite the lockdown, I noticed roadkill. There were several pheasants and rabbits lying by the roadside which had obviously been struck by cars. We love the local wildlife and feed the pheasants at home from the kitchen window but the thought came that if this supermarket thing persists and people continue to behave so irrationally, should I pick up roadkill to take home?
In all the craziness, you have to think about impact and behaviours. Apply things from a work perspective to a personal perspective. Firstly, show awareness of yourselves and others; think about how you impact on others. Don’t buy all of the toilet roll if it is not needed, don’t clear the shelves of things you don’t want or need.
I think that there are three categories in life:
- Things I can influence – I will try to effect change through the relevant people or authorities
- Things I can control – I will take ownership
- Things I can neither control nor influence – I will try to let them go
I believe that this helps mental wellbeing. I don’t spend time stressing about things that I cannot impact upon. What is going on at the moment is so unprecedented, nobody knows where it is going – it is clearly going to evolve and unravel. You have to continue to be aware and adapt your own behaviour, try to influence the behaviour of others to behave rationally. Keep calm, controlled and rational. Ensure you act with integrity and empathy for others. Don’t do something today that you will look back and regret tomorrow or next week – you cleared the shelves of toilet roll and wonder why you can’t get food in the cupboards when they are full.
You might not be able to control it but be aware, monitor news, see how it is evolving, consider how you need to adapt actions. I will continue to run and, if desperate, I will collect roadkill! Hopefully, it won’t come to that if everybody stays calm, behaves rationally, thinks about the part they play and how they impact on others. We will all get through it and we will come out of the other side. We will look back on this and tell our grandchildren in years to come.
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