Sheffield business leader is thinking of others on the cusp of a healthier new year

Months of restrictions has inevitably made us fearful and tentative in our behaviour.

Annette Matam and Nick Twite organise a food parcel at the S2 Food Bank. Picture: Andrew Roe

That has taken a toll of us economically and health wise as businesses have been devastated with jobs and worst still lives lost.

The cycle of lockdowns followed by relaxations etc has become customary, reinforced by media briefings and masses of graphs and charts. The success of the restrictions however described has always been dependent on how we comply and it has been remarkable how wearing of masks, social distancing and hand hygiene has become as established as not smoking in public places.

However the psychological effects of the last eight months or so cannot be underestimated with care home residents devoid of family tactile support, children denied association with their mates during home schooling, employees working from home enjoying the flexibility but feeling isolated.

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Graham Moore, Westfield Health honorary life president

The period up to and including Christmas is going to be challenging one as we try and save jobs and livelihoods but not stimulate an increase in coronavirus cases as well as enjoy some relaxation.

This period has the potential to alleviate some of the stress caused but paradoxically might make it worse if earlier instances of panic buying at onset of the crisis was replicated.

So our behaviours at Christmas will be both opportunity and risk of making the New Year to be apprehensive about or welcomed.

Vaccines ready to be deployed after regulatory approval should be all the incentive we need to enjoy Christmas, albeit in a disciplined manner.

It will also a period to remember those who will continue to be isolated and deserving of our support.

It can be a period to help those less fortunate than ourselves who need to avail themselves of food banks and support charities more than ever.

So as we look forward to our own festive reunions we can show our gratitude to those who need our help most and make it a new year to look forward to.

We are on cusp on a healthier, safer new year provided we show our discipline. As I have found during self isolation, thinking of and responding to others made me cope better.