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A Different Year – Reflections this Christmas

As we approach Christmas, Fiona Cook PTSTA, one of the Directors of Physis Scotland reflects on the challenges we have all found ourselves faced with this year, particularly in light of the recent Government announcements this weekend. 

As I write this, I imagine that you will have made some plans for Christmas and the Festive Season. It has been quite a year, hasn’t it? Who would have thought a year ago that we all would have experienced what we have all experienced in these last nine months? Isolation, anxiety, sickness, sadness, stress, death, home schooling, being furloughed from work, working from home, and my daily commute to work now a mere eight feet walk from my bedroom to my desk in my living room?

It has not been easy for any of us. Talk about a complementary Parent-Child transaction from the Government to every citizen in the land about what we can and can’t do, and how confusing has some of their ‘guidance’ been?

At Physis Scotland, we had to adapt quickly to the new way of being, putting everything online which was very challenging – getting up to speed with online technology, not to mention considering zoom etiquette. It all had to happen fast! We could not be prouder of our tutors and students who have adjusted to the new normal and who understood and continue to understand that we are doing the very best that we can. There are obvious things we are missing. Our beautiful home in Drumsheugh Gardens for a start! We also miss the pastiming conversations in the kitchen as we are making coffee, or going to lunch together, and just arriving and greeting each other with a hug. Virtual hugs feel different, very different from reality. And yet, we are managing. There is connection and intimacy experienced in the year groups, even online.

The latest COVID announcements this weekend from the government about further lockdowns and Christmas restrictions have had a additional impact when we had a very small window of hope to anticipate being together with family members slightly further away. So how can we be okay with all of this, when the future continues to be uncertain for us all? I am no guru, but there is something about being mindful and staying grateful for the things we do have and can be grateful for.

Last evening, we held a virtual Physis Scotland Party for students and colleagues. I had never been to a zoom party before and was unsure of how it was all going to go. Surprisingly, it was great fun and had been organised by students from every year group on our Counselling programme. After playing virtual Pictionary and Catchphrase, sharing our respective rituals around Christmas, using TA models to ‘diagnose’ Christmas characters (which was hilarious by the way!), the final element of the party was for us all to reflect and write on the virtual whiteboard things we are grateful for, despite the year we have had. It was incredibly moving as we shared together. We were grateful for health, we were grateful for family, we were grateful for each other and the support we can offer as part of the growing Physis Scotland community. It was good to have been invited to account for what we do have and can do, rather than the opposite. It was purposeful and intentional which is something I would like to do more of.

None of us knows what will happen next. It feels uncomfortable and potentially scary, but I wonder if we can begin to be more comfortable around our discomfort and unease – being comfortable with being uncomfortable?

Let’s continue to share our thoughts, concerns and our gratitude with each other as we move in to 2021.

Wishing you all a very happy, warm and fuzzy Festive season and a better 2021.


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