Sue Tredget is a French and Spanish teacher at PLC. She is also a published author and Beyond Blue ambassador. In her monthly ‘Reflections’ article, she shares insights and experiences from her own wellbeing journey.

Finding The Positives In Tough Times

One of my Year 12 students commented recently in a Spanish speaking assessment that an unexpected benefit of the COVID pandemic has been the positive impact on the environment. Her comment not only linked two of the IB themes we have been studying, but was also spot on! With less travel, fewer planes in the air and fewer vehicles on roads, we get to enjoy cleaner air and less contaminated oceans, among many other planetary benefits.

There is no doubt that our planet has been creaking under the strain of 21st century living. Now, perhaps, it is being given some chance to recover.

Reflecting and Adapting

I’ve been thinking a lot about what my student said and mulling over my own thoughts. Terrible as it is, COVID has given us all the opportunity to reflect on our lives and how we live them. In the workplace, we have had to think outside the box and adapt to new ways of working. We are lucky to be working in a school where the technology systems in place allowed us to keep teaching and learning, as well as to improve our skills across a range of online platforms. This positive impact will no doubt help to shape more flexible working practices as we move into a post-COVID era.

Maybe COVID is also helping to wake us up – to shake us out of our consuming ways and our accumulation of too much stuff; the acquisition of too many air miles and too many unnecessary car trips when a bicycle or our feet would be a perfectly good option.

Appreciating More 

Finding the positives can be hard when we are far away from loved ones. The imposed ban on travel is tough for many. I miss my son in London terribly and have no idea when I will see him again. I’d grown used to jumping on a plane to cross the world at a moment’s notice. I’d come to take international travel for granted. Never again.

The upside of this is that I’ve come to appreciate our magnificent state much more, to savour the beauty of the South West, to marvel at our open skies, sweeping shores, towering Karri forests and vine covered hillsides. We may be locked in for the time being, but it’s a very beautiful prison.

So while I look forward to the day when I watch the man of my dreams walk towards me down the aisle and utter the magical words ‘Would you like the chicken or the fish Madam?’, I shall continue to explore and enjoy the delights of my own backyard.

And while it is sometimes difficult to remain optimistic when the future is uncertain and the pain of separation from family and friends can be hard to endure, I am determined to seek out the positives in these strange times. Amidst the turbulence, there are still little pockets of joy everywhere; all we need to do is look.

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