Your response to covid-19 lockdown; you choosing to attend to your wellbeing and mental health.

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

Do you notice you in your day, how you are feeling, what your thinking is up to, when you feel engaged or disengaged, where your day goes? Is there time to notice the small things, is there time to appreciate what is going on around you?

So, we find ourselves in another lockdown with an extension tacked on. This may be OK for you, or a small annoyance or a big problem for you, but whatever it is it is having an effect on you and your day. Is this lockdown just like the last one, or the one before that, or the one before that? What has happened to you in this one? How are you really going? Who are you engaging with? Where do you find support? Will it ever get back to how it was before? What have you decided to do (for you) this time around in lockdown?

In your quiet moments is there some space to reflect on what is going on for you during lockdown? Or is time a blur? Maybe you have been spending your time getting into Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Or dreaming about projects or faraway places on Pinterest. Maybe spending money online, as you while away the time. Have you noticed the messages coming at you while you engage in all this? Get you jabs, be safe, social distance, do this, do that, buy this, buy that or be this or that. Not very fulfilling, or maybe it is, no matter either way. Just as long as you notice "you" in all this and take care with your choices.

Regarding this latest lockdown and however we are responding to it, one thing is for certain, it will finish, we will emerge from it.

Then what? We will probably start to measure, critique and judge what we did or didn't do in lockdown. Or we may spend our time pondering who is to blame, what went wrong. Or we may get lost in thinking, adding to our feelings of anxiety, frustration or anger. Sometimes directing this energy at "them" or turning these feeling in on ourselves. Often when we are feeling stressed, anxious and lacking in personal agency, we spend more time thinking about our past or imagining our future. This can have a compounding effect on our low mood often leading to feeling more stress, more anxiety, more disempowered and more worried about the next “thing”.

However, there might be an alternative to this stress inducing pattern of behaviour.

Even if you don't feel like there is, there is always a choice, a different path to take. As we go forward, we do not have to do what we always do or have done in our past. We all have the tools we need for an alternative way of engaging in our lives; our five senses, our breathing, the present moment and the ability to make a choice.

You can engage these tools simply by spending a few moments to notice your five senses. As you do this name a couple of things; you can hear, you can see, you can physically feel, you can smell, and you can taste. This activity albeit a very simple one is very useful for bringing your attention directly into the present moment. To further support this effort take a moment to notice your breathing, paying attention to the three components of your breath; the in breath, the small space or pause between, then out breath. Repeating the process with the next breath, and the next breath and so on. Do this for 10 breaths, or two minutes, or more if you like. Now check-in with you, what did you notice? How are you now?

Now that you have become well grounded in the present there is space for you to make a choice. What is it that you what you do next? Considering in your choosing what is important for you now! Or what would add value to you now? Then commit to the choice and take a small step toward doing it.

How will these tools help? I'm not sure, but what I am sure about is if you practice using these tools for a few moments during your day, whatever you do next will be your choice, made in the present, influenced by you and it might be interesting.

So, as we emerge from the latest lockdown or as we enter another extension of lockdown you have some tools to help you connect to what is important to you and your life now.

Importantly making a choice for you in-spite of all that is going on around you.

Photo Credit: Balance, image by Free-Photos from Pixabay