The Three Things I'm Doing To Ease On Out Of Lockdown TownJul 30, 2021
So the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in the UK are lifted and many think this is a huge cause for celebration and getting back to normal. Organising to see friends and family, planning parties, saying yes to every single social invitation received.
But what if it doesn’t feel that good, and what if, actually, it’s making you feel a bit rubbish with worry or even anxiety?
I’ve spoken with people who say they’re just not ready for things to be ‘normal’, like nothing ever happened.
They’re not so worried about catching the virus per se, they may even have been double-vaccinated.
They just aren’t ready to be around people after so very long of living in fear of close contact with other humans.
Is that you? Do you feel like that?
It’s really important to remember that...
EVERYONE’S EXPERIENCE OF CORONAVIRUS HAS BEEN DIFFERENT
Some might have experienced bereavement, grief, illness, mental health problems, financial difficulties, business closures, family separations or estrangements.
Some may have had happy occasions; births, the introduction of pets into their family, the slower pace of life, the increased collective sensation of community.
I think it’s fair to say each of the situations has likely been as unique as we all are.
So, is there any need to rush back to “normal”?
I’m going to say no, there’s not.
And so does the NHS if you need it from an official source.
Here are my top 3 tips for easing yourself back into YOUR version of normal.
No, slower than that.
This is something I teach often because it’s incredible how simple movements in the body like lowering your arms can be experienced entirely differently if we go slower.
It works off the mat, too so
SLOW THE FUDGE DOWN
If this strange experience has taught me anything, it’s that
life only has one pace
and that’s your own.
I’ve found that if you try to keep up with someone else, if you try and rush around doing too many things, it just won’t work for you.
Take it from me, in the months preceding the UK lockdown, I was absolutely living at a pace that just wasn’t acceptable to my emotional or mental needs. And I find that when that happens, you will normally receive little messages or signs to slow down.
If you ignore them, they get louder.
For example, during a time I needed to be slower, I pushed on and ended up putting my back out and then had no choice but to rest and move slowly.
PRACTICE THE POWER OF NO
Perhaps you are already involved in plans or receiving social engagement invitations. I’m going to say, it’s ok to say ‘no’ to some of those if you think it’s too much.
I will guess that if someone has extended an invitation they want to see you and that’s because they care about you. If too active a calendar is going to stress you out …I rest my case.
But be vocal about your intentions.
As I mentioned above, we can’t possibly gauge another person’s emotional reaction to your declining their invitation, because we don’t know how their story has been this last 18 months.
If you don’t explain, your non-attendance could be perceived as something you haven’t intended.
My suggestion would be to say,
Pick up your journal and make sure you write down any thoughts or emotions you have around this. Of course, if you have a different way of expressing yourself, either with art, poetry, music, or dance, that’s just fine, too.
It’s just important to express yourself.
If you live with other people, you might also want to mention these things to them too, so they know where you’re at.
It’s also worth noting that by
BEING HONEST ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS GIVES OTHER PEOPLE PERMISSION TO DO THE SAME
So, if you struggle to voice things for yourself, remember you might also be doing them a favour.
MOVE YOUR ASANA
Wait, I’m telling you to slow down and then I’m telling you to get off your backside?
Do we want to stagnant? No, we really don’t.
The old adage,
MOVE IT OR LOSE IT
comes into its own here.
As well as the obvious benefits of keeping our bodies strong, healthy and mobile, we must also consider that lymphatic drainage (the amazing body system that gets rid of cellular waste and toxins) is not powered by the pumping heart as the veinous system is, so it is more effective when the movement of the muscles help it along.
If we’re rooting down through our butt cheeks to the sofa cushions, the more likelihood is that our mood, our energy, our very waste system can become stagnant.
Not a good vibe.
Take gentle movements - I recommend walking in nature, which is excellent for lifting the mood.
A very wonderful lady I know refers to this as a Soul Stroll.
Yoga is great for lifting the mood, moving the muscles, and maintaining strength, mobility, and flexibility. Of course, you can practice online - I have a virtual yoga studio which you’re welcome to check out - but there really is no substitute for being with other like-minded people in a shared experience.
In my studio in Hucknall, I have decided that for now, I will continue to run classes with a reduced number of people. If you are local, you can check out my class schedule here and you can be assured that you will be made to feel welcome and comfortable.
One of the amazing things about our thoughts and ruminations is that whilst they keep us safe based on our past learned experiences, they are not always true.
Sometimes, our thoughts can actually limit us by instilling worry or fear that just doesn’t need to be there and will stop us living our best life.
I am not advising you to ignore every red flag your mind gives you - after all, some of them are important and to be listened to, but begin the practice of discerning which thoughts are accurate and based on fact and which are our minds way of keeping us safe.
Declining every single invitation will do nowt but turn us into hermits.
And that is not ideal for we are social creatures and we need our network of friends, family, colleagues, and our daily human interactions to keep us mentally and emotionally well.
A trick that has been helpful for me has been journalling my thoughts and feelings, even if I never read them back to myself.
But when I do read them back, I almost always think to myself ‘wow, that thought/feeling was really real to me when I wrote that - it isn’t even a consideration now’.
(ALSO, CHECK YOUR LOVED ONES)
Yes, keep checking in. This has lots of benefits for yourself and for the people that you care about.
Nobody wants to feel lonely.
It’s not unnatural if you do, but try to discuss it with someone. There is always someone for you to talk to.
As I said, it is well understood that we need social contact, and if you were to sit and write down a complete list of people that you would ordinarily communicate with, I’m pretty sure that list would be quite long.
But what if I told you that at the start of the COVID-madness, I actually did write a list of people I cared about?
I wanted to make sure I stayed in touch with people on a regular basis, whether by telephone, text, or Zoom.
I understand that everyone else has busy lives, work, families, hobbies, and all of the other stuff that occupies our time so I wasn’t disillusioned with the idea that everyone had to respond to my messages, but what felt important to me was to let those people know they were on my mind.
If you are familiar with Bulletpoint Journalling, I made myself a fancy page, which I have recreated for you here, and I made a conscious effort to have some communication with each person on a regular basis.
(Members of Elevate, this resource is also in your library 😘)
Above all, my friend, I want you to be kind to yourself whatever your circumstances of living through and coming out of this global pandemic.
We’re here. We’re still walking, talking, and breathing, and that in itself is pretty cool.
I’M GRATEFUL FOR YOU
And if you’ve REALLY enjoyed reading this, perhaps you might like to celebrate with me and buy me a Virtual Coffee?