Life in lockdown can be tough. I expect even the most resilient amongst us have had a moment or few over the past months of uncertainty when we’ve felt overwhelmed and thought ‘actually this is a bit rubbish’. Our situations are all different so we’re not necessarily challenged in the same ways but it’s perfectly normal to experience these more uncomfortable emotions and feel sad, distressed, frustrated, lonely … in fact it makes us human. You can try to suppress them. You can get totally bogged down by them. Or you can choose to accept them for what they are, lean into them even and then do your best to channel them in search of meaning and motivation.
If you’re feeling fed up, try grouping everything that’s bothering you into Things Beyond My Control, Things I Can Influence and Things I Have Control Over. Put a line through the first group, an asterix by the second and draw a circle around the third. ‘Where focus goes, energy flows’ (Tony Robbins) – immediately you have a clearer picture of what you can deal with easily and effectively and by getting on top of those things you release a burst of dopamine which makes you feel good and then you can cope better with the worries Beyond My Control.
Your Primitive Mind is prone to anxiety, depression and anger and, given half a chance, will have a field day with ‘Things Beyond My Control’. Your primitive instinct is to survive but it can’t see beyond right now and can quickly get stuck on repeat with no concern for the long term consequences of living in a constant state of worry. If you hit the panic button your options are freeze, fight or flight, none of which will help you to cope well whilst waiting for the situation to improve.
In contrast, your Intellectual Mind is resourceful and recognises the importance of pacing yourself because it has perspective – this is a marathon not a sprint. Look for opportunities to boost the happy hormones which fuel your Intellectual Mind by creating a structure and finding purpose in your day – pay attention to your more constructive thoughts, enjoy the things you can do and reach out to exchange positive interactions with others.
Take heart, we all have the odd wobble - be compassionate to yourself and keep going,
BA (Hons), DipSFH, Reg AfSFH, CNHC, NCP
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