I don’t know about you, but for some reason during this pandemic I have been less tolerant than usual by the multitude of advice online suggesting that lockdown is an opportunity to be an ‘even better version of yourself’. I think I have low tolerance for this because many of us are in survival mode while we navigate this weird old time, so let’s talk about that. Let’s get into the realness of what we are experiencing on a micro and macro level. In my experience we need to be seen, heard and authentically validated more than ever…in combination with creating as much lightness, fun and laughter as possible. We do not need to feel any pressure to ‘be better’: adding another 20 action items to your morning routine will not cut it this time, and I am a HUGE fan of morning routines. What is required is to deeply love and accept ourselves and each other, while of course making every effort to make good choices.
That said I am going to share my thoughts and best wishes as we step into the next phase of pandemic life, if any of my suggestions don’t resonate with you, you have my explicit permission to put them in the Fuck It Bucket! As we move into lockdown number 2 in the UK (Nov 2020) I have been considering how to approach it this time around. We have the benefit of experience, we probably have some idea of what worked well, and what didn’t work, in March. It is also 100% OK and normal to have a lot of anxiety and dread, especially if your experience of the first lockdown was traumatic. So let’s talk about how we can survive, and maybe even thrive, during these next few months. Here are some ideas that I have been using that have been really helpful in me feeling positive and in control.
Create a simple strategy for your Lockdown 2.0
Just like you would a create business strategy or a project strategy e.g. my strategy is have as much acceptance as possible. Having some clarity on how you plan to approach the coming month will help you to make decisions that will set you up for feeling good. My first thought on hearing the news was to find all the loop holes and use them – a lot of resistance came up! Then I had a chat with my fiancé who suggested radical acceptance and making the very best of the situation. This looks like making plans to socialise on walks with one other person in the mornings, even before work, and accepting that evening socialising is more than likely not going to happen for a while, so coming up with creative ideas of how to spend the evenings.
What did you learn was helpful OR unhelpful during Lockdown 1.0?
For example the emergency nature of the situation gave me the perfect circumstances in which to drop back into some outdated, and undesirable behaviour patterns e.g. drinking alcohol almost daily, codependency, comfort eating. As we move into Lockdown number 2 I can be extra conscious of making some different choices and not getting into these unsupportive habits. On the other-hand, what supported you last time around? For me I discovered that walking for long distances in nature cleared my mind, gave me space and helped me to feel grounded. Even though I live in London I am going to walk as much as I can. What worked for you?
How can you support yourself?
It’s a hard truth but it is our own responsibility to make sure our needs are met and we are supported. I know – it’s not up to Mum, Dad or partner to do it for us – bummer! To take responsibility for your wellbeing and mental health, do you need to ask for some professional support from a therapist or coach? I am currently working with a therapist who is also a coach and it’s wonderful to have an hour each week just for me to process. Can you tell your loved ones what you need from them? For example if you are living alone can you tell your circle that you’d like to have a chat on the phone with someone everyday to help keep you sane – that way they will be expecting your calls and understand the importance of them to you.
Can we make it fun?
This is in no way meant to minimise the very intense and often challenging experience we are all having, it is meant to be a small reminder that no matter what is going on we are allowed to, deserve and will benefit from fun, pleasure, laughter. I felt a lot of guilt last time around that my situation was not as bad as others, and in some ways it was positively delightful! But doing myself down doesn’t help others and it doesn’t help me. For example I decided that I don’t want to add anything to my To Do List and give myself more reasons to feel like I’m failing at the pandemic, rather I will remove feeling guilt or shame around watching loads of movies and Netflix series, which I love to do! Free rein to indulge (within reason and not to the detriment of other things like work/ exercise etc.) Also I plan to read actual books with pages – I know, crazy right!?
Be so very gentle with yourself
If you do one thing – do this! It’s fucking hard times, there are no prizes for ‘winning at the pandemic’. You are special and you require being taken care of, loved and accepted, more now than ever.
Sending love xx
From my heart to yours on the blog
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