With the current situation seemingly a continual tightening of lockdown measures, increasing anxiety, loneliness & financial concerns it is even more important for us to maintain a yoga practice. In the Spring when we were all introduced to concepts such as lockdown, furlough & R numbers, it was easier due to the warm Spring weather. However, this time of year is always hard as days get shorter, colder, darker & generally drearier.
It seems like this year has simultaneously whizzed past & yet also it feels like the announcement of the first lockdown is so long ago. This year has educated us in many ways. How much we appreciate our freedom & our health. How lucky we are to have good neighbours & how community makes such a difference to how society copes with bad situations. How every community has the leaders who organise & plan, those who can who cook, deliver food parcels & generally care for others, the parents who loved the opportunity to home school their kids & those who were trying to do so without breaking down. There are those who find opportunity in these situations, & those who struggle. We are all made differently but I think we all realised a few things.
- Sunshine makes a difference to our mood. I think when the first heat wave turned cold & wet in May we all started to struggle a little more
- We all feel warm inside when we feel cared about. Part of something bigger than us. Remember when we got a little card off a friendly neighbour saying if we were in isolation or ill, to contact them for assistance. Community is important. Knowing we are not alone in this is vital for our mental health.
- The government are just human beings too … making good & bad decisions & sometimes just winging it & hoping not to be caught out
- Social media has good & bad points. Your opinion can be supported or argued against from how you feed your dog to whether you choose to wear a mask or pay with cash
- Technological advances make life easier…… imagine lockdown without amazon, without mobile phones or the internet. Imagine the old days of landlines & no home deliveries!
We learnt about ourselves. Did we learn new skills or binge watch Netflix? Did we become anxious & agoraphobic, or did we embrace our hour of exercise religiously venturing out to explore our local area, chatting at a safe distance to those we met on route. Did we find we have spent so much of our adult life saying we wanted more time for us, time to sort those cupboards out & learn a language. However, when we had the time, maybe we didn’t have the motivation. Did we discover gardening (I for one deepened my love of creating something from seed. Establishing the vegetable patch, I started last year during my hip replacement recovery. Some people re discovered books & a love of reading, some found old sewing machines & sewed scrubs for the NHS.
Take a moment to think about not just how you spent your time in lockdown, but what you learnt about yourself. Be proud of being here & being you in all your wonderfulness.
Of course, we all had different experiences of this year. I am lucky enough to have a business I could take online. This gave me structure to my week, regular socialising with students, a reason not to eat too much cake (seeing yourself on screen is a great motivator not to get a bigger spare tyre!!)& a small income. I am lucky that we had a garden & lots of beautiful local walks so we could get outside in good weather. I have lived in apartments & I know how cooped up you can feel on a sunny day…& that’s without being legally restricted to an hours exercise a day. I am lucky to have a second business as I am a landlady too .. not for income but as a pension plan, but that gave me the opportunity to sell a house & free up some capital, so I didn’t have as many financial worries. I am lucky to live with someone I like & enjoy spending time with. I was, & am, so grateful to all the opportunities I appreciated afresh in lockdown.
Yet even with all that in my favour I am nervous of a second lockdown. I am concerned for the mental health implications, for the economy, for the friendships lost over differences in opinion. I am setting intentions this time & using all my scientific know how to make them as effective as possible. I am going to learn from what I did, & didn’t do, in the first lockdown.
- Set intentions, write them down, & tell others about them as that makes you more likely to do them
- Give yourself less choice so you make decisions (see above & below…setting intentions & writing to do lists make days more productive)
- Write to do lists…& work my way through them. Even ticking off the smallest thing gives us a sense of achievement.
- Do yoga & meditation.
- Keeping to a daily step count even if that means doing laps around the living room because it is sleet & hail outside!
- Being grateful for the small stuff .. finding 3 things daily!
Our current circumstances are not those we may have chosen for this year. You may have postponed celebrations, weddings or holidays. You may have struggled in business previously thriving. You may be grieving or suffering with loss. You may have been furloughed with lots of spare time or continued to work throughout. You may have worked long hours in the NHS or started a new career. Whatever your situation… we can make choices about how positive the next six months feel.
From what the government are saying we potentially face another six months in variations of lockdown. We need to decide now what we do with it & how we will feel at the end of it.
Look back at what you learnt about yourself from the last six months. Look back at what you did & didn’t do. Congratulate yourself on coping. On adapting. See the opportunities for feeling more positive. We have done this before & we can do it again.