When 3 weeks of lockdown was announced a shiver went down my spine and I could feel the uncertainty turning in my stomach. Then I tried to think positive and imagined all the things I would like to do – all the things that I never seem to get around to… One week later and the reality of lockdown is that there are luckily still toilet paper and food on the shelves but it is HARD managing a child, work, a household and everything within the limitations and uncertainty of the situation. I imagine it is not just tough for me and that a lot of people might find it difficult to cope under these extraordinary circumstances with all the uncertainty. I had to remind myself to get back to basics in order to strengthen coping during these times.
The triangle is known to be the strongest shape and, in order for us to be strong during difficult times, we also need a triangle in our lives. The presence of the following fixed angles will enable us to distribute force evenly and not collapse under the pressure:
Substantial literature seems to indicate a positive relationship between faith and a person’s well-being. This does not necessarily mean a specific faith but having something to believe in; some guidance and sense of community during times of difficulty can have a positive impact during times of distress. Lockdown also impacts religious organizations and gatherings but one can still make use of social media and some quiet time to engage this axis of the triangle. In a time were uncertainty is high and we are flooded by dread and fake news through the media, it might help to put the news off and spend some quiet time in order to seek some assurance and answers. Spending some quiet and alone time might not only strengthen one’s faith but also one’s spirituality.
John Donne stated that “No man is an Island” and he was quite right – we as humans are created as social beings. We need to be part of a community and have a sense of belonging in order to thrive. Social distancing and lockdown strongly limits our social interactions and access to loved ones and support gained from others. The following can be done in order to keep this axis of the triangle strong:
Through the use of social media and technology it will be helpful to keep contact with those special relationships even in lockdown. One advantage is that lockdown can also help keep a strong boundary with that person(s) that seems to drag you down by their constant complaining or gossip but don’t let it keep you from your diamond people that bring value to your life – try your best to keep in touch and aim to not have the discussion only be focused on Covid19.
Write a letter of gratitude: Gratitude is associated with numerous wellbeing benefits as it helps us focus on what we have. Positive Psychology refers to a gratitude letter where you take the time to express your gratitude to that diamond person in your life. Write a letter to someone expressing the gratitude you have for him/her in your life (try and be as specific as possible) and read it to him/her (if not personally possible then Face time/Skype might be helpful but try inform the person beforehand that you wish to have a personal time to talk as you wish to share something special).
If you are in lockdown with a partner/spouse/friend you might be spending more time together than ever before in a limited space. No matter how good the relationship, this might also lead to frustrations and tensions. It is therefore important to try and find a good routine and set some healthy boundaries. Try and give each other space and communicate your needs and expectations to one another. It might be helpful to have a meeting once a week in order to just ‘check in’ and to discuss the expectations and responsibilities for the week ahead.
In my experience people tend to overlook the strength which is hidden within themselves. We all have a story and a past and it might not always have been an easy one. I strongly believe that each individual has a certain amount of individual resilience although it might be forgotten at some times. We can also become so focused on others and the tasks at hand that we forget to look after ourselves. Take some time in the chaos and focus on yourself:
Nurture a positive self-view by taking some time to focus and become aware of your strengths and what you have overcame and gained in life.
Make time for some needed self-care – whether it is relaxing bath at the end of your day or taking a few minutes to listen to your favourite music on your earphones during the day. Take some time to do something for you and recharge yourself.
Taking good care of your eating and sleeping is crucial for self-care: Lockdown can easily disrupt a person’s routine and therefore strongly impact these crucial functions needed to keep ourselves healthy and energised. Try and keep a good routine and healthy balance as far as possible.
Focusing on your goals: Take some time and develop some realistic goals for yourself, not only in the long term but even just on a daily basis during the lockdown in order to keep yourself motivated. Ask yourself what is the things that you can control and accomplish during the day/week that will help you move closer to where/who you would want to be.
By utilizing this triangle in your life it can help you to stay strong not only during the Covid-19 lockdown but also various other challenges faced in life.