It’s now Lockdown 2.0 – and the period of remote learning, remote working and staying at home we experienced between March and May isn’t getting the opportunity to feel like a distant memory – it is all coming back to us.
One of the particular challenges I believe of this second lockdown is that it brings with it a greater sense of uncertainty – leading us to question whether periods of lockdown may become the new norm, whether we will need to embrace more and more new practices such as the wearing of masks (mandatory in public as of midnight tonight at the time of posting) or whether we may have to continue to go further, with either Stage 4 or Stage 5 restrictions.
Last time around, we entered this much more naively, but also with greater hope. This time, our knowledge leads us to worry and wonder – what’s next?
While you have probably heard this many times over the pandemic period – whatever you are feeling is normal. In extraordinary times – almost anything is normal. It is normal to be uncertain and to worry about what is next – control is an essential part of human life, and we suddenly feel like we don’t have any to take for ourselves.
But there are things that can help us feel more balanced and can help us take a step closer to feeling in charge of our emotions.
Do things that make you feel good
Pre-emptively, focus on things you enjoy during lockdown. Seek balance before it becomes an issue so as to protect your wellbeing.
If your house is messy but you would benefit from a book and a cup of tea… now is the time to choose that. Stock up on things that allow you to create (one of our nine facets, and an important daily habit) as creating allows for positive self-expression and a sense of accomplishment.
And remember that feeling good isn’t all about eating chocolate (although I’d argue that many of us should not feel ashamed for embracing it!). It can also be a brisk walk, a short run or bike ride with family.
What makes you feel good? Be conscious of it and invest in it.
Take each day at a time
Part of what makes us feel out of control is the sense of six weeks or more of lockdown looming in front of us – and the uncertainty of what the future will bring.
Instead of thinking about the weeks and weeks ahead of restricted movement and possible financial hardship, try taking each day at a time. Just focus on getting through and making the most of today.
It reminds me of a personal trainer I once had who did gruelling interval training. He kept telling me – you can do anything for a short period of time! So just focus on that current period.
Control what you can – perhaps with a little routine
Some people enjoy the thought of taking control back by making their own lockdown routine – a series of activities they complete at set times each day. That allows them clear focus points and to target areas they want to improve so that this becomes a time of growth rather than helplessness.
Many of the world’s highest achievers are big proponents of routine – to start their day, to write their books and so on. We’ll be presenting an article on morning routines soon!
Embrace Emotional Agility
While we all want to feel positive and optimistic – sometimes we need to accept and be curious about the emotions we are feeling and what they mean.
This means, the key to surviving the pandemic isn’t saying – I don’t want to be frustrated by COVID19, or I am not angry about what this means for me, it’s to ask yourself what your frustration means. What does it teach you about what you value? About what is important for your mental health? This leads to learning about yourself and a deeper understanding of how you work and in turn, what works for you.
It’s about accepting and understanding your emotions rather than forcing them to be something else.
Keep the big picture in mind
Another way to manage our grief (yes, it is grief in some ways) about what lockdown means for us is to remind ourselves of why we do this – to help control the spread of this virus. Thinking of others and embracing an attitude of kindness and love can help lift us from the lowest moments.
These are my tips anyway – and there are plenty out there. Check out these as well!
Photo by EVG Photos