Managing lockdown (clarity of mind)
As I’m writing this, the Covid-19 rumour mill is in violent overdrive as tabloids begin to speculate the outcome of Monday’s lockdown ‘roadmap’. Everywhere you look, different newspapers are reporting different things. Often, it can feel completely overwhelming and inescapable, just a constant stream of bad news and pessimism. So, in this blog post I am going to being talking about ways to combat the stress, anxiety and frustrations of a third national lockdown and hopefully offer some pointers as to how I am managing to survive lockdown 3.0 (as they’re calling it on the streets).
I can remember once hearing about the value of the phrase ‘how are you doing?’, and no, it wasn’t in a Friends episode as a correctly pronounced version of Joey Tribbiani’s well-known catchphrase. Instead, I can remember it being discussed in a podcast due to the fact that most people don’t ever tell you how they really are doing in response to this question. Over the years, ‘how are you’ has transformed into a merely a perfunctory conversation starter. I know that, I for one, almost go into auto-pilot whenever I hear this phrase, replying instantaneously that I am doing okay, even if sometimes I’m not. The opportunity to answer honestly to that question, ‘how are you doing?’, is an open invitation to tell someone how you really feel, it is a chance to vent your feelings and really open up. I think now more than ever, it is time to acknowledge ‘how are you?’ as a genuine question not just a throwaway opener to yet another Zoom call. Next time someone asks you how you are, take them up on the offer of an open and transparent conversation, I find it really helps. Anyone who says they’re doing fine in the third national lockdown of an eleven month global pandemic is probably lying to you.
I think clarity of mind, expressing and addressing your thoughts, is really beneficial at a time when we’re stuck in the same four walls, with the same people, doing the same thing over and over. It gives you a lot of time in your own head and sometimes that can become overwhelming and your thoughts can become cluttered and unclear, but I’ve found meditation really helpful. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Really, meditation? And at first, it did also remind me of that scene of Johnny English Reborn where Rowan Atkinson walks over burning coals completely unphased. That is not what I’m recommending. But after downloading the app ‘Headspace’ and giving it a try, I’ve found it extremely useful. You can choose from ten, free daily sessions when you sign up and it is a great introduction to meditation. Even if you have no experience, their introductory course is short and designed for beginners, offering you a really accessible route into mindfulness and allowing your thoughts space to breath and relax.
I know this has been quite a brief, and potentially chaotic, introduction to my own lockdown survival strategies, but I hope it can be of some use. If you take anything away from this, it would be to try and aim for clarity within your own thoughts and feelings. Be that through meditation or discussion and conversation, being open and honest about how you are feeling, although it can sometimes be tough, allows you chance to step back and from the immediacy of the situation you’re in. It gives you the chance to step away from the whirring of the rumour mill, look away from the cold blue light of and focus on the one thing that truly matters: yourself.
If you need someone to talk to, for advice or just a general conversation, my emails are always open.
Until next time,