We’re in lockdown. What to do ? How to manage ? Have you lost hours ? is your business closed ? Are the kids restless and fed up ? Are you grappling with home schooling ? Do you not have a minute to yourself ?
The best way to manage this pandemic and lock down is to see things through a different lens and to take purposeful, conscious action to alleviate our fears, worries and stress.
If you need something, ask for it. If you don’t want something, say no thank-you. If you’re scared, it’s okay to admit it. If you turn out to be wrong, it’s not the end of the world
- Everything is Temporary
Remember that everything is temporary. Today’s destructive storms are tomorrow’s clear skies and sunshine that warms and illuminates everything it touches.
- Be Like Your Dog – Be Present
Be like your dog. Live in the present moment. Always smile and wag your tail when someone walks through the door. Never pass up a belly rub, or an opportunity to play outside. Get into the habit of stopping yourself several times a day simply to notice what you are doing and how you are feeling. Notice the sun shining, if it’s a sunny day. Notice that funny little drawing on your fridge that your six-year-old did for you. Say to yourself, “I am alive in this moment, and I am grateful for the gift of my life.”
- Zoom With Friends
Make zoom sessions with friends – especially if you live alone. It’s so important to have a circle of like-minded souls to commune with. In a lockdown it’s so important to build your wellbeing by being in touch with friends.
- Set up a Routine
Make a routine. It provides structure and that can be extremely supportive – and you will feel more in control in an out of control moment and you will accomplish more and thereby feel good about yourself. Our minds love predictability. Being able to keep an even pace and do the things we know like the back of our hands brings a sense of peace. Change, like a lockdown challenges the status quo and opens up the fear of the unknown. Best to manage the fear front on.
- Appreciate Beauty
Take a moment to appreciate the beauty around you. Take a peek out of your window. The world’s creatures are busy at their life’s work, just like you and me.
Fear is one of the biggest adversaries we have in a lock down. We tend to fear the unknown and worry about what could go wrong. It’s part of the fight, flight, freeze concept. Our minds take comfort in the predictable because it feels safe. It takes courage to get used to operating without full knowledge. Trust that you can handle anything that comes up if you take things one step at a time. Remember two things- FEAR is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. That means sometimes what we fear isn’t real. The worry and the anxiety are worse than the actual thing we are fearful of. Second, you can take action even when you are afraid. Taking bold action can reduce fear as you acclimate to whatever the new experience brings.
- Be Courageous Every Single Day
There are situations where we are called to be courageous in very big ways and a lockdown in the middle of a pandemic is one of those times.
Have a disciplined mind – Sometimes making good choices doesn’t get the credibility it should. Each time you make the best choice available, you are operating out of courage.
Avoid chaos and drama – Avoid bad habits that hold you back. From gossiping, to fighting, to nitpicking, avoiding chaos and chaotic people takes brave impulse control.
Overcome negativity – Our minds can be our worst critics. The voices in our heads that say we aren’t good enough, smart enough, good-looking enough, etc… can cause extreme discomfort and derail us. It takes courage to shift our minds from the old tapes to new ones that remind us anything is possible if we try.
- Be Intentional and Purposeful
Take control; make a plan; live within your means; be purposeful; be very conscious. Using the power of intention and focus in an extremely difficult moment will reap huge benefits. Make choices about how to do things with intention every single day. Set aside a couple of minutes every morning to decide on what intentional choices you’ll make today. Simply remind yourself every morning to do something positive and you’ll be well on your way to making living intentional part of your everyday life. Sometimes, doing purposeful, intentional things the long way can be fun. When possible, cook from scratch. Knit a scarf. Build a wooden shelf. Write your life story to share with the world !
- Keep A Journal
In lockdown journaling is the perfect technique to process and keep calm. Journal writing improves your health and wellbeing – it’s a proven fact. Those who put pen to paper are highly likely to experience stronger immune health, better sleep habits, improved mental health, regulated blood pressure and a reduction in pain caused by chronic diseases. It’s in our DNA to draw, write, process and document our journey through life. Whether you are plotting out a new business, processing your thoughts in a safe place or creating a documentary of a journey, journaling is an effective way to sort through life and create new outcomes. Take the time to find a journal that works with your learning and communication style. If you’re a visual learner, find one with pictures or illustrations you find inspiring. If you are factual and left-brained, look for journals that provide lists. If you adore nature, choose a journal that contains images of beautiful places. And so forth. Having just the right journal—one that you love to write in—increases the chances that you will journal.
- Self Compassion
Compassion begins with self-compassion. Set an intention to be more compassionate with yourself and you will be amazed at how much your everyday, ordinary, life improves. Compassion boosts your health and well-being. There are many benefits to being compassionate with yourself. Developing self-compassion lightens the load, makes each day a little brighter, and softens the ups and downs of life. Here are some ways to practice self-compassion:
- Be kind to yourself and treat yourself like your own best friend
- Talk back to that negative voice in your head; when you have a thought, which is negative about yourself, challenge it.
- Counteract every negative thought with a positive one. For example, if you find yourself being hard on yourself, remind yourself how you have been through difficulties before and have come out simply fine.
- Compliment yourself on a job well done and let go of guilt for feeling proud and accomplished.
- Give yourself a break every now and again; you do not have to aim for perfection. Doing your best is good enough.
- Treat yourself to something nice; do something nice for yourself.
- Take care of you. If you don’t, who will ? Listen to your spirit when it’s crying out for comfort, a change of scenery, creative replenishment, or to be nurtured by the soothing voice of a good friend.
- The first hug you ever got was from yourself, inside your mother’s womb. You can hug yourself just like that, any time you need to feel safe and secure.
- Practice Gratitude Waking and Falling Asleep
The quickest way to get into the habit of gratitude: Find three things to be grateful for first thing in the morning—before even opening your eyes. And when your head hits the pillow, think of three things you were grateful for that happened during the day. (And feel free to add more, if you like!)
Sometimes the things we should be most grateful for, we miss. Instead, we take them for granted. Looking for these small, over-looked details of our lives helps teach us to be more situationally aware, so that our appreciation for all the wonders of life grows naturally.
Getting into the habit of passing on your gratitude—doing or saying things that show people how much you appreciate them, or sharing positive things that you are thankful for and love—can be catching. It can transform relationships, shift negative atmospheres to positive ones and change lives for the better.
Gratitude has a habit of spilling over into every aspect of your life—especially when you honor your body and mind with exercise, good food, rest and mindfulness. It’s like sunshine on a dark day, when it is genuine and really lived.
- Reframe Your Conversation
Ever catch yourself complaining about someone or something ? Ever berate yourself with negative self-talk ? Don’t. No matter how justified it might be, you hurt yourself when you fall into negative thoughts and negative conversations with yourself. Reframe your thoughts. if you don’t talk kindly to yourself, you’ll find it much harder to love others.
- Forgive Yourself and Others
The pandemic is not your fault. The lockdown and everything it brings with it is not your fault. Be conscious and get into the habit of forgiving yourself. We often berate ourselves even when whatever is happening is outside of our control – as lockdown is. Be kind and forgiving with yourself and be very clear what you are responsible for what and what you are not. Forgiveness is liberating.