As we come towards the end of week 6 of lock down, many of us are feeling hopeful and optimistic that there will be some easing of restrictions.
In the midst of uncertainty about what comes next however, some of us may be experiencing a mix of emotions, perhaps feeling fearful, anxious, or concerned about what happens next. Although this particular phase of lock down looks set to see some changes, many activities and rituals which were once considered natural for this time of year are yet uncertain, which may leave us feeling unsure about how to feel.
Change is never easy, particularly when it comes during a time of turmoil and uncertainty, when our internal resources may already be running low.
Week 6 of lock down will likely bring with it mixed emotions. Here are some reflections and considerations to keep in mind as we approach yet another phase of change:
Be kind to yourself
Self-compassion is a practice that can help us to feel more at ease and in control during times of crisis. We all have an internal self-critic. We can beat ourselves up for not being more prepared, or compare ourselves to others who seem to have it all worked out. Practising being kind to ourselves can help to build and maintain our sense of wellbeing.
A useful way to practice self-compassion is to think of someone we care about, a close friend or loved one, and imagine what we might say to them in a crisis. Would you tell them they are doing the best they can, and not to beat themselves up? If so, consider turning that kindness towards yourself, reminding yourself of what you have achieved so far during a difficult time.
Change and crisis often bring moments of loss, disappointment, and compromise. It is important to acknowledge things we have lost or that are missing from our lives so that we get a chance to process how we feel about them. These losses can leave us feeling depleted, as though our levels of resilience are diminished.
Remember, resilience is not about feeling no pain or disappointment, quite the opposite. Accepting that these difficult emotions are part of the experience can help us to feel stronger and more equipped to face the next turn in the road.
It is equally important to recognise what we have achieved up to this point. These achievements might be big, like changing jobs or managing to adapt to huge changes in our environment and routines, or they might be seemingly (but not so…) small, like getting up and going for a walk, or making a simple nutritious meal.
Recognising our achievements reminds us that we have successfully faced difficulty in the past, and will do so again, equipped with all we have learned and gained from our challenging experiences.
Support and Connections
It is important that we remember to use our support systems and connect with others. Getting in touch with friends and family to let them know how we are feeling can help to clear our heads, feel supported, and re-gain some perspective. It can also help to regain a sense of normality during an abnormal time – perhaps to share stories and news, to laugh, cry, chat, and realise that there is a shared human experience that we are all connected to at the moment, albeit in different ways.
A final thought…
It is not always easy to practice these behaviours and reflections when we feel stressed, fearful, or overwhelmed, but making even the smallest positive changes can have big and lasting effects on our mental and emotional wellbeing. Acceptance of how things are right now, and practicing patience and kindness towards ourselves, can help to get us through even the toughest of times.