It’s been 3 weeks now of total Lockdown here in New Zealand and as expected it’s producing a range of responses.
Some have embraced the concept of slowing down and are tapping into creative projects with their kids. Other’s are still fixated on what’s happening outside of their bubble. Some people seem to be calm and enjoying this time while others are in desperate states of anxiety and stress as they face the most challenging time of their lives.
You are not broken or flawed
We need to hold space for all of this. The whole gamut of human emotional experience. Whatever you’re going through right now and however it’s effecting you personally is okay. You don’t need to feel guilt if you’re loving life right now and finding parts of yourself or new skills and passion that bring joy.
You don’t need to feel like you’re broken or flawed for not being able to stay composed in the face of fear, that’s okay too. Acceptance of where you’re at personally within the events is what’s important. Even if you’re riding a rollercoaster on a daily basis – one minute you’re up and the next you’re free falling and screaming your lungs out.
I’ve looked at the Things that can Harm our ability to stay calm in another article, so let’s turn to those things that are helping and healing during this time when most of us are staying home and waiting out the storm.
Things that help:
Having a loose structure to your days
I say loose because it doesn’t need to be to the minute and it doesn’t need to be perfect or include everything, allowing for some flexibility is good. Try breaking your day into blocks of either morning, afternoon and evening or you could get more technical and do blocks of a few hours each to focus on different things. If you’re into the idea of routine but need some more convincing, here’s some further information.
Reach out to others
We are all in this together so remember however you are feeling, someone out there is feeling the same. Find ways to connect with people who lift you up. Perhaps there’s a facebook group for people who share the same passions, interests or work as you. If you have young kids at home, connect to other families, there are some really creative ideas bouncing around to keep kids entertained and you from going crazy. Set up online dates with friends to just chat and check in with one another. If you have older people in your life, please check in on them by phone regularly.
Prioritise self care
What are those activities that make you feel nourished, nurtured, replenished and energised? It’s different for different people. Some love to meditate others need to move. Some love to journal, others paint. List the things that you love doing, particularly those that bring you a sense of peace, calm and make you feel better every time. Be sure to prioritise one of these self care activities daily.
Ensure you are getting enough quality sleep
Anxiety robs you of sleep (both quantity and quality) but a lack of sleep fuels anxiety. The only way around this is to ensure you have the best conditions possible setting you up for a good night’s sleep. Remove devices and non essential electrical items from your bedroom, the less background buzz the better. Go to bed at the same time each night and allow yourself 30-60 minutes prior to bedtime to begin winding down gently with a warm (not hot) shower, reading, listening to soft music or a meditation track. If you are having a lot of trouble with sleep please sing out, I have a bunch of ideas.
Remember that you do have an immune system
In a world where we are suddenly sanitising absolutely everything it’s important to remember that all of us have an inbuilt system within our bodies that is all about fighting baddies. Some people are more compromised than others but for most of us, knowing and trusting that our bodies natural inclination is to protect, survive and heal is something to keep in mind. The best things we can do are support what we have already by eating well, getting enough sleep, moving daily and getting outside in the fresh air and sunshine.
Take responsibility for yourself and then be a role model for others
Start with putting on your own oxygen mask. I know you will be worried about friends and family around you but start with you. Get your own stress levels under control so that when you interact with others you’re not spreading fear to them. Have compassion for yourself, we are all learning how to do this as we go. If you are someone who puts others first frequently it’s time to let go of the idea you can control outcomes for them. Learning to stay centred, look after yourself, work on transforming your anxiety into courage and calm, the best gift you can give right now to another.