“In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.” Dave Hollis
It’s fair to say we are now living a ‘new normal’. Lockdown under COVID-19 is keeping us in our houses and asking us to practise social distancing when we’re outside, to keep everyone safe and prevent the spread of coronavirus. Life as we know it has become restricted, and our social norms have shut down: there’s no gym, restaurant, theatre, gallery, shopping, pub or party to keep us entertained or distracted. So, how can we make the best of lockdown to make it a more enriching experience?
Can there really be an uplifting side to staying indoors for weeks on end?
The answer may possibly lie in whether you’re a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty person. With all regular aspects of life removed, you may find yourself feeling stripped bare, with a lot of time on your hands. That could feel overwhelming, daunting and uncertain. And it could also feel like an opportunity to use this unprecedented ‘me time’ to reflect on what is truly important in life.
After the initial shock, anxiety and fear that people were feeling at the start of the corona crisis, among those who are well and safe we are beginning to see more positivity and optimism and for a chance to strengthen mental and emotional health. Here are some of the areas where you may grow stronger…
Relationships with loved ones
Some are reporting closer relationships with their loved ones. If they live together, people are doing more activities as a family and taking time to support each other through this. If they live apart, then online video is helping people stay in touch. Old friendships that were fading are now being rekindled, now that people have more time to spend with others.
Prioritising personal development
Lockdown could present the opportunity to do that thing you’ve always promised yourself you would do if you had more time. This may be learning to play an instrument or to speak another language, growing a vegetable patch, or it may be to do all the writing, painting, drawing, singing and dancing that you’ don’t normally have time for. Whatever it is, do that something that puts you in flow and helps you feel uplifted.
Valuing what you have
It’s often true that you don’t value what you have until it’s taken away. We’re seeing more gratitude as people count their blessings, whether that’s the roof over their heads, the food in their cupboards, or the friends and family they may have taken for granted. You may be promising yourself not to take anything for granted again, or to be wasteful of what you have – and to be way more considerate to yourself and others – once you’re back out in the world.
Becoming more mindful
With gratitude comes the ability to notice the tiny little things and to appreciate them, whether it’s the breath in your lungs, the sound of birds, or the sight of spring outside your window. You may become more attuned to your thoughts, emotions and senses, allowing you to live moment by moment. You may also take this opportunity to check in with yourself more frequently – for example, through journaling – to become less judgemental and more compassionate with yourself.
Gaining new perspective
This crisis has put many of us in an existential place, as we begin to question what life’s about, and what gives us meaning and purpose. Living a simpler, pared-back life can help you look at life through a fresher lens. The issues that used to cause you angst and worry may have diminished in importance. Maybe you’re fretting over the little things a lot less. Maybe you’re letting to rather than holding in tight to perceived slights. Maybe those slights are really not slights at all in this ‘new normal’. When the big issue is survival and staying well, the tiny little worries may feel a lot less significant.
If you feel you could benefit from talking things through with a professional during this time, get in touch with us and we’ll match you with the right therapist for you. Our services are available through online video and by phone while the coronavirus lockdown continues – and you can continue remotely if you’d prefer to when we return to the ‘old normal’. Call our reception team on 020 8673 4545 or email [email protected].