As we continue to navigate lockdown 2 I am having very similar conversations with my clients most days and they usually start with “I just don’t know why I feel so…..flat/tired/anxious/angry/upset/worn out?”
It seems that we felt, perhaps naively, that the second lockdown would be easier, that somehow “we’ve got this” having done it before and for a much longer period? Surely we should know how to cope with this, it’s not so bad this time, there is more open, the kids are at school, we hope that we can see the end in sight? Some of those factors do help, certainly not having to home school or occupy very bored children all day and there are certainly more business open (it remains to be seen whether that’s a good thing or not?)
But now there are other factors to worry about. If the children are at school, is it safe for them to mix with Grandparents or parents? What happens if someone in their class tests positive and they have to be sent home? What’s deemed as essential travel? It was much easier when we were told we couldn’t go anywhere and to stay at home. How are we going to prepare for Christmas when we’re locked down? Will we be able to see friends and family this Christmas. I’m so tired, I struggle to sleep and it’s all just a bit much…..and so it goes on.
I’ve found this lockdown harder. The weather hasn’t been great, not easy to feel positive when staring out the window through the grey drizzle. I hate seeing so many people struggling and not being able to solve it all for them. I want to be able to plan and look forward to things next year and although I know that I will be able to do that again, right now it feels like an impossible task.
I’ve been sad, anxious, cross, grumpy and guess what? ALL of that is allowed. This is a time to be kind to ourselves, to accept that once again we are living in exceptionally challenging times and it would be quite odd if we just adapted without a backwards glance and gracefully pirouetted our way through it.
What can we do to help ourselves (excuse me if I repeat myself)
- Get outside when you can – fresh air WILL help even if you get soaked to the skin, come back indoors, get dry and warm, it’s only rain.
- Try not to comfort eat, hard I know but although it’s a quick fix at the time, reaching for the snacks, the sweets, the unhealthy treats won’t actually make you feel better long term.
- If you don’t feel like baking – DON’T. It might work for some but not all and just because you haven’t rustled up a tin of home made cookies or a batch of sour dough bread does not mean you have failed lockdown.
- If you struggle to concentrate at the moment, give yourself some slack. If you only manage to semi-function right now you’re doing a good job. Prioritise what really needs to be done and get it done, if you need to sit in front of Netflix for the rest of the evening, so be it.
- Don’t get sucked into social media scrolling and comparing – you know what I mean about this, it won’t help, you’ll feel like everyone else is managing better than you and they’re not and it will add to your anxiety. Limit your time on it.
- Finally, on the days the gloom sets in, accept it, understand that you are having a bad day and tomorrow will be different. If you can change your perspective by going and doing something to lift yourself out of the gloom great, if you can’t, don’t beat yourself up about it, you’re only human.
So, what am I doing this week to keep myself going?
I’m walking as much as I can as often as I can. I’m eating semi healthy meals but not stressing out if I haven’t eaten my 5 portions of veg each day. I’m writing lists and jotting ideas down for Christmas and how I can make it as enjoyable as possible this year. I’m making myself put some make up on, changing out of my joggers and generally making an effort with how I look – it makes me feel better, all of these things will lift me. The days I feel like Eeyore I’m allowing myself a little wallowing and then getting on with getting on knowing that tomorrow I’m likely to feel differently and if I don’t then that’s ok too. It won’t be like this forever.
However you’re feeling, you’re doing the best you can do and that is all anyone can ask of you. Be kind to yourself, be kind to others and the rest we will all get through one way or another.