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For a somewhat opposing view (but not really): Stop Romanticizing Lockdown—It’s a Mental Health Crisis in the Making.
And you might also relate to this: How Introverts Feel during a Lockdown.
Or, if you’ve enjoyed the pause: What if the Coronavirus is the Ultimate Pause & Reset Button?
The urgency to get back to “normal” has become an urgency for me to stay in my new normal.
As a psychologist and well-being coach, I am now talking with all of my clients on the phone, Skype, Zoom, Messenger, and well, carrier pigeon, as opposed to my small counselling room with my saggy-ass brown chair that I now realise I hate.
My clients are asking if this can be our new session style, and I’m gleefully replying yes—pleased to be building up a collection of converts to the telehealth regime, which has been boohooed and bastardised for years in the psychology realm as an inappropriate method for building client rapport. Don’t get me wrong, I know my client base well and have been doing this gig for 18 years, so I’m not taking any risks if someone isn’t well enough to travel.
The point is that so many folks are now noticing their fast-paced lifestyles and habits are just that—fast-paced, auto pilot behaviors they do for the sake of doing rather than for the sake of being.
I used to buy $5 coffee every day. Now I have learnt the art of making it at home, and it’s damn fine and a tenth of the cost and there’s no lined paper cups going into a landfill.
I used to drive my car to work everyday because I never thought about or planned to walk. Now I go for a walk for the fresh air, exercise, and joy of it.
I used to go shopping every week on my days off and buy a sh*t ton of clothes (or anything really) because that was my habit. I have not done that for three months and, hot damn, I feel more in control of my time, my finances, and my clutter. I’d been feeling guilty for my retail therapy, but it wasn’t until our frenemy COVID-19 said stop that I actually stopped.
I didn’t need or want these habits before, and now I never want to return to the things I was doing robotically, rather than mindfully.
I am working from home, sitting in front of a beautiful window with a view of nature, talking to my clients in a way we have never talked before. There is a depth to our conversations that I welcome. A conversation about sex with a client that could never have taken place face-to-face because of embarrassment and anxiety. An attunement to a client’s voice through my earphones means I am listening exquisitely rather than multitasking with my visual environment. Not to mention our joint cry for the comfort of home consults in slippers, track pants, and dressing gowns in the harsh winter winds blowing outside our windows.
My clients are seeing me at home with my kitten jumping on my shoulder, my dog sitting on my lap, my husband chainsawing in the background, and they have commented on the comfort this brings to our sessions, which formerly took place in my brown lounge with the saggy brown counselling chair.
Will I go back to my habits and my saggy brown chair? Will you go back to buying daily coffee, shopping because you are lonely, driving because you can, and buying daily groceries and overeating because you didn’t plan well?
I urge you, before COVID-19 goes on its not-so-merry way: stop, inspect your habits, and ask this one simple question: Is this useful to my best life?
No doubt some habits will creep back in—they always do—but I for one will be more mindful of why I do things, buy things, and go places now that I have been roadblocked by this pandemic. Now that I know I don’t need to do the thing, buy the thing, or go to the place, I can just sit at my window and be.
Slow down, take a breath, & enjoy these reads:
It’s Okay to want to Live a Slow & Quiet Life.
Don’t make Yourself a Project: Why the Pandemic isn’t the time for Self-Improvement.
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