How are you finding things these days? What is your own situation requiring of you? Maybe you are busy working in essential services, parenting at home, caring for someone ‘cocooning’, working from home, or maybe you have recently become unemployed. The range of circumstances is endless. Many of us will be managing a combination of roles, all of which require us to ‘dig deep’ in terms of time and energy. No matter what our circumstances, it remains really hard for us collectively. We have never been here before.
Do you find your mind more distracted than usual or more rested? Even with time on your hands you might remain in the habit of constantly filling each moment, aiming to be productive still, despite the pandemic. Maybe you’re finding it hard to switch off? Our minds can be busy, especially these days, darting to the future or the past, often exhausting us with overthinking.
There’s no right or wrong way to approach how we manage our situation but when we look back at these lockdown days, how will we remember ourselves and our behaviour and attitudes, what values were important to us? What did we do to look after ourselves and others? Whether we’re incredibly busy or have time to spare, it is vital to nourish ourselves and replenish our inner reserves as often as we can and to pace ourselves through this period of uncertainty.
Personally, I am finding that the very welcome and supportive array of advice around these days can even be overwhelming and we might find ourselves thinking or feeling that we should be doing more or doing things differently. Let’s not compare ourselves to anyone else. Somebody reminded me recently that we are human ‘beings’ not doings. Taking time to rest and beginning to notice where our thoughts are taking us, might allow us an opportunity to get to know ourselves a little better. We might even make peace with some of our imperfections and give ourselves a break. It is our imperfections that make us human. We are all doing the best we can.
I have heard some people describe these days as ‘groundhog’ days, as if each one resembles the next, yet if we pay attention, each day can be incredibly different. No day need be a groundhog day and each day at the moment presents us with rich opportunities to really see ourselves as we are and reflect on the life we normally live, compared to our lives during lock down. Can we ease up on ourselves a little? A few simple routines each day can be so helpful.
There is no denying how difficult these times are for all of us and it is important to acknowledge that this is much more difficult for some, depending on life circumstances and to what extent Covid-19 has impacted on our lives. Has this lockdown experience changed us in any way? Has it re-affirmed our values? Values can be such a compass for our lives, setting out the direction that we will travel.
We need to identify our values before we can align with them. This lockdown may be a time of aligning our values with our lifestyle and moving towards a ‘normal’ where we choose values like health, happiness and genuine self-care. Once our basic needs are met, can we strike a balance between what we need materially and having the time to do what is really important in our lives?
Can you take a moment today to pause, sit still, silently and notice how you are getting on? What do you need to take care of yourself today?
Why not take a note of some of the things that you are enjoying doing on a daily basis during this extraordinary episode of our lives? What is sustaining you? Are there moments of joy? We will never forget this time in our lives but we may forget some of the detail.
Like so many people, I have been adapting to working online and providing mindfulness support in a variety of ways. For the past month I have been offering free online meditations on zoom on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings at 8pm). These sessions will continue for the next couple of weeks of lockdown and very likely beyond.
If anyone would like to connect in with these sessions or if I can support you in any other way please get in touch by phone, email or through my facebook page, mindhaven. I also offer one-to-one sessions and short online courses for managing these challenging days.
Until next time, go gently with yourselves.