We seem to be going through a transitional time. People that I have been speaking to seem to have mostly got over the shock and upset of the initial restrictions and huge changes that lockdown have brought us. Now I am sensing people are starting to feel frustration, boredom, despondency, desperation, loneliness, cabin fever. There is still so much uncertainty. How much longer will this go on for? For those that are high risk – will they need to keep self-isolating for the foreseeable future? How will we release ourselves from lockdown without the virus increasing and restrictions coming back into place?
We can’t know the answers to these difficult questions at the moment. There is a lot of speculation going around. You can’t control the external world but you can control your reaction to it. You can choose to watch less news reports and journalistic speculations and ponderings. In mindfulness practice, they always talk about approaching situations with an interested curiosity, rather than judgement. Accept the situation that you find yourself in exactly as it is. Is this serving you? Could you do something differently?
I have been chatting to some of my more isolated clients this week and one of my dearest wise elderly clients shared that whenever she has had difficult times in her life, she has looked for a positive to come out of it, and she has found one. This hasn’t taken away her grief, anger and upset when life hasn’t gone the way she had hoped, or when she has lost a dear sibling. But you can acknowledge your difficult emotions whilst also being open minded to the positive changes that can come out of adversity.
Personally, I am finding increasing my mindfulness practise, as the most effective way to deal with these rapidly changing and seemingly out of control times. Staying in the moment, focusing on my breath, being grateful for all that I have, asking the questions: How can I best look after myself right now? And what do I need right now?
It’s ok to not be achieving much, to be seemingly unproductive each day, don’t berate yourself for this. But equally, if you do want to do things, then stop procrastinating. You could ask yourself – if this period of having to be at home were to end tomorrow or this week – what would I like to be doing/achieving/changing? How would I like to be feeling? Do you need to give yourself some full days off to sit around and read a book in the sunshine? Do you want to clear out some cupboards/your loft to feel you’re your space is uncluttered? Do you want to start learning a new skill?
Do it or be it now.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new” Socrates