When we are swamped with fear or guilt or whatever emotion we are currently experiencing it can lead to anxiety. We have a feeling of not being able to cope, of being out of control.
First of all, we are all experiencing the lockdown differently.
Some are isolating alone
Some are confined and isolating as a family group
Some are working flat out, almost to breaking point
Some are working remotely and not feeling supported by colleagues
Some have reduced or lost their income and fearful for their future
It can be tempting to look over the garden fence to others thinking they are having an easier time than you. The grass is not greener, it is different.
Underlying all this is that most people are experiencing overwhelm.
What will life be like after all this is over? Let’s get a grip of this question. This is something out of our personal immediate control so let’s bring everything back to the here and now. No time like the present!
So here are some coping strategies which would be beneficial whether we are in lockdown or not. It’s mindfulness and good practice to get into.
Let’s start with grounding
Take a few minutes, longer if you can, to imagine your feet really attached to the earth. With a chain and anchor or with tree roots, whatever you prefer. Bare feet on the earth if you can. If not, use your imagination.
Slow your breathing down. Listen to it. Make the inbreath through your nose, count it and double the outbreath through your mouth. Keep extending this until 6 ins and 12 outs – longer if you can manage. You can also adapt this into imagining your heart filling on the inbreath and emptying on the outbreath.
Create a safe place in your imagination, somewhere you would go to if you were to meditate. It could be somewhere you know or a made-up place. Then slowly using all your senses notice what it looks like, sounds like, feels like, tastes and smells like. Really embody being there.
When you are competent at these three, add them together. Doing this daily will bring some connection and control back into your mind and body.
One of my very favourites. In every sentence, make sure it is positive. This took me around six months to fully achieve. Change every negative into a positive. “I don’t want to feel flat” needs to be “I want to be cheerful”. “I don’t want to feel afraid” to “I want to have courage”. Our minds are incredibly powerful and it doesn’t recognise the don’ts and can’ts; so in fact, you are exacerbating the problem and allowing your mind to draw attention to the very thing you are trying to avoid.
So whatever lockdown category or group of categories you are in currently, make the most of what you have at this moment in time. Find as many positives as you can and keep reaffirming them. This is what I call my ‘daily gratitudes’ – it’s amazing what an effect it can have. If you can’t manage it, just look at the sky, notice how clear and fresh it is. The birdsong and how loud it is.
You all, no matter what you are experiencing, will have things to be grateful for.