Staying Sane When Locked Up
This post follows on from Are you OK? which you might like to read as well.
What has occurred to me is just how anxious so many of us have become during Covid-19 lockdown. Simple things like supermarket shopping and big things like keeping business and personal finances on track have all become causes for concern.
A friend admitted to reading his young son’s online homework recently. It was a short essay on life in a bubble. “Dad is getting cross a lot” and “Mum’s acting weird sometimes” leapt off the page. He is a good, kind man and has a loving family. Trouble is, he is no more immune to the stress of this lockdown than any of us.
My beloved and I shared some tears on Saturday. We haven’t seen our adult kids or grandchildren in the flesh for a month! We are a touchy-feely family and the lack of their warm embraces has left us feeling empty.
My experience with anxiety last year does not give me any great right to speak into your lives. I can but share my insights and hope that you gain something from them.
Living in a bubble and yet finding joy
Using tools helps
The “cure” for my high levels of anxiety last year was a combination of admitting to myself and those close to me that I was struggling and acquiring some practical coping skills.
Learning some mindfulness skills and breathing exercises gave me something to fall back on when I found myself chewing on issues or repeatedly waking up in the night and unable to get back to sleep.
www.headspace.com is just one of several applications available that offer training and reminders on how and when to relax and be present in the moment.
A walk each day is an easy answer and yet hard to do when the funk descends. The good news for me is that the dog won’t say no until she gets her daily exercise.
Replace empty chat with real conversations
I have found out so much about my beloved in these last days and she about me. I won’t share the detail but fair to say that she is even more exciting and amazing and wonderful than I already knew.
Zoom can’t replace a hug
My colleague Richard is old school. I, on the other hand, come from the hippy school of peace and love. With that comes uncomfortable (for Richard) embraces when I call into the office and insist on a hug.
We meet every morning for half an hour using Teams and it is great to hear from him, but I do miss making him hug me. Hug the ones you love. It might be just what they need that day.
Meet friends and colleagues regularly
We have an online meal with friends or family several times a week now. It is breakfast with our daughter in Berlin or coffee after Church with a couple who share our spiritual journey. It is a candlelit dinner over a Cote du Rhone with our travel buddies. Tomorrow Euan from work is hosting an online quiz using a cool tool called Kahoot! All these give us connection, a laugh or two and with luck a chance to relax a little.
Forgive and Forget
Can you trust yourself to be completely perfect in every way while locked in a cage not of your own making?
If it’s you who has been a of bit of a plonker then find a way to apologise. If you been offered an apology, then accept it. Love and relationships are a two-way street.
Try Something New
Every day on lock down is time you can innovate, refresh, or learn new things. In professional services we often think about “billable hours” and when they slow down a certain panic sets in. Using “free hours” when there is time available is the source of efficiency, innovation and great product development. Use the time in lockdown wisely – you won’t get it back.
Are You Okay?
I wrote this blog so you can know that you can not only get through this time but can be better and stronger for the experience.
Look around yourself and see the blessings. Take that breath of unpolluted air, listen to the birds and enjoy the company you have.
Above all though ask yourself and those you love “Are you okay?” It may be the most important question you ever ask. The answer may well bless you for the rest of your life.