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Let's talk about you #Lockdown2.0

Updated: Nov 4, 2020

I don’t know about you, but it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster of a day. My feelings about the new lockdown are so mixed. It’s not that I don’t get it, I do. COVID is a threat and we need to go into protection mode – our physical health is a gift that can’t be taken for granted.

The upside is time to slow down. Life’s pace had really picked up again and I know that for many, the changes that were promised as a result of the first lockdown have all but slipped away. That’s not something to feel guilty about, but perhaps lockdown 2.0 will provide the space to address structured vs unstructured time. In vs Out. Saying yes to everything vs really listening to our bodies and being able to say no.

But (and it is a big but), what about our mental health? What about the threat of isolation? The burden of economic hardship? The loss of connection to friends and family? The worries about the future? What about those families who struggle to be in the same room for a day, let alone a month? And what about those who are living with addiction? How will it affect our children and how should we deal with their fears? What about the long dark days and the inevitable reduced hours of sunshine? When will we be free to go on holiday? What about Christmas? These are just some of many burning questions, and yet none of us know the answers…we are in the unknown.

Sitting alongside, (and making friends with), the unknown can be hard. When answers escape us, it’s natural to feel uncertain and anxious. To panic or to feel overwhelmed. So, if like me, you are in the midst of brain fog…rest assured, you’re not alone.

I’m finding that there is comfort in knowing that we all have to ride the same wave, but I’ve also been questioning how to deal with the impending storm. After all, we are parents, educators and caregivers – we can’t get emotional or show weakness. We have to be strong and to get it right all of the time. We have to role model and that means being perfect, right? WRONG. Can we just take a moment to pause and to reframe that thinking.

There is currently no way to answer our burning questions and no way to resolve underlying concerns about the situation the world is in right now; we are in the dark about 2020’s final hurrah and struggling to find the light. So, what can we do?

Well, firstly, I feel it’s important to remember we are human, and humans feel. It’s ok to experience emotion and it’s even better if we can acknowledge it. It’s ok if some days you want to stay under the duvet and cry, or wish you could lock yourself away in the bathroom or shed! It’s ok if some days you are happy in your bubble, and on others are staring lovingly into an empty glass of wine, longing for days spent at festivals, on holiday or at the cinema!

Secondly, we should remind ourselves that during times like this, our children look to us. They ask questions we can’t always answer. They know that things are different and they are adjusting to seeing nothing but masked faces looking back at them. They are concerned about their futures and missing their friends. They are hearing new words and wondering what they all mean. It can be really tough to deal with all of their 'stuff' when as adults we don’t have solutions to offer and may be suffering from our own anxieties.

But...there is a silver may seem slim, but it's certainly there. While you may feel that your fragile emotional state is damaging, it can actually provide a hugely impactful lesson to those little ones we love so very much, helping them to build their resilience and adding to their toolkit for life.

Now, to be clear, I’m not suggesting that we sit in front of those curious little minds and uncontrollably cry; but a degree of vulnerability is good. Moments like this demonstrate that being human can be hard and that life isn’t perfect. That curveballs come our way, and whilst we may be plunged into a temporary chaos, it is possible to muddle through and find our way. It’s a chance to show children that proactively managing mental health is vital.

Your response to 2020 is being watched by mini humans, so this is your time to role model that self-care matters. That feelings – well, they exist, and they can get the better of us sometimes. That’s ok, but that they don’t have to define our actions.

And then of course there is you. Children aside, you are a person in your own right. You owe it to yourself to look after you and that’s important. I know it’s hard, and I know you are likely to be juggling so many balls, but as the saying goes, you cannot pour from an empty cup.

Everyone is different and there is no one size fits all, but as we prepare to step into Thursday there may be a few things that can help.

  • Create a healthy lockdown routine that works for you and your family

  • Focus on things you can control and consider what you might want to do with the time in lockdown – perhaps write a list. It doesn’t matter what’s on it, as long as you’ve consciously considered, and are happy with it

  • Try and rest – make sure you are getting the right amount of sleep for you

  • Consider limiting your exposure to the news

  • Go outside – look up and absorb all that nature and the sky has to offer

  • Set aside time to have fun. Games, P.E. with Joe, a movie night, just make sure it provokes a few laughs

  • Work out what soothes you. At times of overwhelm, what is it that calms you? You can then make sure you have that in mind over the coming weeks

  • Talk. Call loved ones. Zoom, Whatsapp, FaceTime...maintain connection.

And, if that’s not enough inspiration, then why not consider these too? (Please note all Instagram recommendations are based on my personal favourites and are not paid ads).

Breathe. Our breath is our life force. It’s the first gift of life, and the final thing we surrender. When we focus on our breath and breathe deeply, something in us heals. For mindful moments and beautiful meditations take a look at @mylittleplaceofcalm

Move. Love it or hate it, movement matters. Our bodies were designed to move, not to sit sedentary. Dance, run, do yoga – make it work for you. @lakeviewyoga and @atthesunflowerstudio are 2 of my favourites if you want to find your inner yogi, while @whoopfitnessandwellbeing will help you to dance away your worries. Then of course there is @thebodycoach who needs no introduction from me.

Treat yourself. I’m not usually one to advise spending, but the odd treat can be such a pick me up. If you do find yourself in the position of having a spare bit of cash, then think about what makes you happy. For floral beauties to brighten up your home take a look at @flowersand.such Perhaps a funky beer is more your thing, in which case @missinglinkbrewing might have something to tickle your fancy? Or maybe a Brownie is what you’re looking for, in which case, prepare to be spoilt by @bakedworthing.

Indulge. Nothing makes me happier than a rainy evening, a bubble bath, a good book and a glass of wine. The chance to escape into someone else’s world and be entirely immersed in an alternate reality is like a mini break for the mind. @thehypenbookclub and @bethsbookclub will provide you with all the inspiration you need, but if a podcast is more your thing, then @iamchrisramsey and @rosemarinoramsey will certainly get you smiling.

Create. I know, I say it all of the time, but allowing yourself time to create is such an undervalued activity. Writing, drama, cookery, art, music, baking, floristry, gardening, football skills, interior design… they all count. The great thing is, that to be creative has different meanings for different people, so there is never a right or wrong. Get yourself a Pinterest account and browse your chosen interest. Consider how you might bring it to life in your own unique way.

As we go through the rest of the year, take your self-care seriously. None of us know quite what to do, so the last thing I want to put out there is that there is a real power in kindness and compassion. We are all being put through our paces right now, so let’s be kind to each other as adults and children, and also to ourselves. It’s more than likely that you’ll be doing your best and that’s more than ok. Your children will still love you and they will have learnt an important life lesson too.

And remember...if any of you want a chat or are feeling the strain, then don’t hesitate to get in touch…human connection is magic – let's not allow lockdown take that away.

Images - Unsplash.

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Absolute brilliant read. Love you. Xx

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