Some of us have coped quite well with all the unprecedented change in every area of our lives, but others are definitely finding it a challenge – here are some ways to reframe the way we think about this. Change is often seen as something which is happening to us, rather than for us. If we consider ourselves to be a victim and put upon by this extraordinary change of circumstances we will be taking a reactive stance, using the stress to flee rather than fight. Typically this will be made up from submissive behaviour traits, such as low self-esteem and over indulgence in self soothing. Switch it round and see this as an opportunity to be proactive. Use this time in a way that will make us proud in the future. It’s a time for us to be tested, to learn and to grow. Any situation, any experience is offered up as a learning opportunity
2. Discipline + Routine.
Routine gives us structure to our day and makes us spend precious time well. Creating routine, habits and a daily structure helps us boost and maintain our emotional energy and physical health. Giving them attention and space will help us make good use of this time. Simple things like getting up at the same time in the morning, and possibly going to bed at the same time too, frames our waking hours. Putting in place a manageable but dynamic structure will give us a solid base for growth. We will have the energy to explore things we have always wanted to check out, do things to our home which are long overdue, revisit some pastimes which have lapsed due to previously having lack of time, such as playing a musical instrument, reading or writing more. It is highly unlikely we will ever experience having a long stretch of uninterrupted time like this, which presents us with multiple opportunities. Carpe Diem.
3. Adapting our tech consumption
By now we have probably all got our digitally connected home office in place, but also noticed we are spending much more time on screen. Digital technology is serving our physical, mental and emotional health but we need to use it intentionally for our needs, values and aspirations. The alternative is using technology as habitual distraction. Make an audit of how technology is used, how much time is spent using it and whether it used to ‘fight fires’ or helping us be proactive and creative. Be aware that mental and emotional health is affected by what we consume online and on TV in the same way as what we eat effects our physical health. Change our mindset and make sure technology’s employed in the service of us, for the life we want to live.
4. Stress + Rest
We can see the effect of stress all around us, and particularly in ourselves. Sometimes this stress is ‘silent’, slowly building up and forming a distorted baseline. Sleep is the natural moment in the 24hr cycle when we de-stress, but the problem is most of us don’t sleep well. It can be a vicious cycle of stress preventing us from getting to sleep or staying asleep. The less stressed we are the better our sleep and that in turn boosts and maintains our immune system. When we are properly rested our days are smoother and more productive. We are more creative and adaptable, relationships are easier and we have greater clarity and perspective. Challenges are easily overcome and we get more done. Ideally we would like to go to bed tired, not exhausted, and awake refreshed. Easing up on screen time and allowing the contents of our stomachs to be properly digested before we get horizontal will go some considerable way to helping us get the nourishing sleep we so desperately need.
5. The future
Whilst we may be restricted in where we can travel or wish to go, we do have the opportunity now to explore our inner landscape. Over the past months underlying existing issues might have been magnified, and certain traits may have become more apparent in ourselves, and also in others we have shared our lockdown space with. Our default mood will be amplified, and now is the moment to do something to change it. Many people will find that their coping mechanism leads to indulgence and excessive comforting. This can take many forms, often with wild swings towards over-indulgence, as well as deprivation, of things like food, exercise and sleep. Taking a bold approach to consumption of news is going to help deal with the future. How many news channels do we need? Are friends’ and families’ ‘well-intentioned’ but ultimately unhelpful comments and chatter to be indulged?
With so much uncertainty, as well as misinformation and dis-information, speculating about the future is not helpful. Enjoy the here and now. Yesterday is the past, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift to be enjoyed in all its richness.