So much around us has changed over the last couple of months and many of the things that make up our normal lives are out of bounds at the moment.
We are being invited to exercise at home, to communicate with family, friends and colleagues via Zoom, Skype or House Party, to learn new skills and even to revamp our cooking to make the most of what we have in our kitchen cupboards. That ancient jar of five spice might finally come into it’s own.
The temptation is to fill up every available minute and the same people who declare every year that they are going to make this the year that they will get fit, stop eating chocolate, hit the gym four times a week and get that new job of their dreams, will find it difficult to resist the temptation to pledge that they are going to use this lockdown to learn a new language take up knitting or crocheting or get super fit.
There is little chance that any of us will have missed the memo about what is going on at the moment but, for me, the most important thing is the recognition that we all need to build new habits to support ourselves.
A cursory glance at daytime television reminds us that we are all in this together and while that is absolutely true, we are also all individuals and we will all be experiencing this situation differently. Some of us will be at home with young children or teenagers who want to be out and about or maybe we are with partners who usually leave the house at the crack of dawn and don’t get home till late or perhaps we are at home alone and don’t speak to anyone from morning till night.
I don’t know what you are feeling but I can guarantee that, whatever it is, eating a ton of chocolate, draining the gin bottle or binge watching endless box-sets won’t make any of us feel better.
What we will benefit from is taking the time to focus on the things that we can do for ourselves to make the best of this period.
This is an ideal time for us all to develop positive ways in which we can support ourselves. The first thing we can do is focus on this moment that we are living in right now. Many of us spend a lot of our time projecting ourselves forward into this or that imagined future scenario. Terrifying ourselves as we go.
The truth is that none of us know what’s ahead and we can deplete all the energy we have by worrying about things that haven’t arrived yet and, hopefully, never will.
Many of us have lost the ability to sit alone and allow ourselves to be still and focus on the here and the now but there has never been a better time to look inwards and build our resilience.
This is the perfect moment to work on building healthy new habits to take us all through this challenging time and into the future.
It is vital that we all acknowledge our feelings instead of squashing them down and declaring that we are fine!!
Avoiding negative emotions may feel like an effective technique but, it never works in the long term, we are simply postponing the moment when the feeling we have stuffed down breaks free.
Perhaps we find ourselves driving along behind someone who brakes suddenly and without any warning. Suddenly a rage out of all proportion to what has just happened erupts inside us.
Ignoring your emotions is like trying to run away from something that’s right on your shoulder. The only way to be free is to stop and face your feelings.
You might worry that your emotions will overwhelm you completely and this can happen but most of us tend to get stuck because we are not actually allowing ourselves to feel.
Over the years, many people have told me that they never cry and when I ask why, they often respond that they are afraid that if they start they would never stop.
The truth is that many of us feel like that from time to time but we have to remember that everything passes happy or sad events alike and allowing ourselves to feel our anxieties and our pain is the first step in letting them go.
If that feels too overwhelming and there is a need to keep some control, we can choose a time of day when we can sit down alone and think about the thing that saddens, frightens or worries us. Allow 15 or 20 minutes for the process, think it through, and then let it go for another day. Even 15 minutes can help to process our emotions and move us forward.
There is evidence from across the world that this crisis had led to a lessening of pollution and even the canals in Venice are running clear. Wouldn’t this be the ideal time for us all to reset and prepare to move forward in the healthiest way possible?
I am happy to chat with anyone who would like to get in touch and talk about what is going on for them. If you would like to talk online, please don’t hesitate to get in touch or if you would like to book an online session we can do that too.