As the sense of groundhog days continue, this lockdown is certainly taking its toll on many people’s mental health. Perhaps it’s the fact that it’s coupled with the dreariness of January, the continual reporting of doom & gloom and the fact that we’re not out of it yet that this lockdown has been much harder to bear.

Obviously lockdown is a topic of conversation with my clients and it’s interesting to hear their different views as to how they feel it has (or has not) affected them.

I think I’d be right in saying most people have found it tough, it’s just the level of toughness that is different. One friend told me that she doesn’t really feel it has affected her family that much. Yes they are home schooling, yes they are working from home but what they are actually finding they’re missing is meeting up with friends, having dinner with others, the rest is manageable on the whole.

Another client of mine who is used to working from home but NOT with 2 under sixes to “home school/entertain” is really struggling. Yes, she has help from her husband who is also working from home but it’s just not something that they are used to doing whilst holding down a full time job. Tempers are frayed, children are anxious and they both have pressure from their bosses to hit targets – not ideal.

Another client is using the time to finish a course she had started and appears to be sailing through lockdown but is suffering terrible anxiety about what the new normal will look like but I guess most of her friends are unaware of that.

Last week I mentioned to a couple of people how I too was finding this lockdown hard, the first one I’ve had to do completely on my own (apart from the dog) and that I was struggling with loneliness at times. My husband works away A LOT and I am very used to my own company, in fact I can positively say I usually enjoy it  but it’s very different when you are limited to getting out and about, the only other person I might see is a fellow dog walker and the only people I might talk too is my clients (and obviously the dog). Weekends can be the worst, when I’m not coaching I have to either chat to the dog or have a sing in the kitchen, just to remind myself that I can actually speak!

Interestingly the reaction from a couple of people was “Oh god, I crave for some time to myself, some solitude'” and of course I understand that.

I crave for someone to flick the kettle on and make me a cuppa when I finish coaching or someone to think about what to have for dinner that night after a long day. It made me think about all the people that have had to cope with lockdown on their own every single time and how hard that would be.

Lockdown is hard for everyone. Some more so than others. The older generation feeling isolated or that their latter years are being wasted by Covid. The children who are missing out on school, their friends, socialising. The parents homeschooling, the people working from home who have never done it before and HATE it. The teenagers, the Uni students whose lives have been curtailed, not getting the opportunities to play and party hard should they wish. The doctors, the nurses, the frontline workers coping with things that they should never have to cope with.

So it goes on…….

Maybe this is an opportunity for us to all learn some empathy. To not get so sucked in to how “difficult or unfair” this is for ourselves but appreciate that each person you come across is potentially struggling right now and could do with some kindness.

We are all in survivor mode at the moment and that takes a lot of energy but it’s essential. Maybe next time you look at a friend or someone you know longingly, wishing that you had a slice of their life right now, assuming that it is easier for them than it is you,  it would be good to remember that you have no idea with what that looks like for them. Their view could well be a very different view and not one that they’re enjoying right now.

It will not be forever. The views will change. There is light on the horizon – we are moving towards that light, the Spring, we can feel the hope seeping through and we will cling onto that hope with all our might.

Please note: To all my friends reading this, I am ok! I appreciate the offers of calls etc. in the evening but after a day of zooming, I am talked out so I can just about manage a conversation with the dog but I thank you for your kindness.