5 surprising tips to conquer your mindset in lockdown
5 surprising tips to conquer your mindset in lockdown
We’ve heard all the conventional ways to look after ourselves during this time – maintaining social interaction through video calls, staying fit and healthy with plenty of exercise, making use of days at home by learning a new skill.
And while there’s no doubt that there are benefits to these recommendations, sometimes we need to be reminded that we don’t need to put too much pressure on ourselves.
Emily Chadbourne, life coach and founder of The Unashamedly Human Hub, has five surprising tips to conquer your mindset during lockdown 2.0.
Read her refreshing advice below:
1. Don’t speak to people if you don’t want to
There is no denying that “being connected to others is important for our mental and physical wellbeing and can be a protective factor against anxiety and depression.” (Beyond Blue)
But not all connections are created equal. If you have mates who bring you down or relatives who freak you out with fearmongering, then it is absolutely okay to take a step back from these relationships to protect your own energy.
There has been a huge surge in video chat with the app Houseparty reporting 50 million downloads in April 2020, becoming the No. 1 Social app in 82 countries almost overnight. And hands up who is wishing they’d bought those shares in Zoom back in 2019? *raises both hands*. But just because we live in an age where we can FaceTime Aunt Sally in Singapore at the push of a button doesn’t mean we have to. I for one, have days when I don’t want to spend 40 minutes pretending to enjoy Friday night virtual drinks as my girlfriends and I have half conversations and grapple with time delays.
I’m not suggesting you turn into a hermit. But you don’t have to take part in Uncle Gary’s virtual Pub Quiz if you don’t feel like it.
2. Don’t look on the bright side
We’ve seen a lot of articles about maintaining a positive outlook by liberally applying gratitude like it’s your favourite fake tan, and rightly so. Gratitude is the quickest way to reframe a rubbish situation and fake tan adds a sunny glow to your skin. But just like that time I applied too much tan and fell asleep before washing it off, it can go horribly wrong.
I have seen an increasing number of people reluctant to express their disappointment at cancelled birthdays and postponed holidays because they “should” be grateful. They know they are lucky to still have their job so don’t want to complain about the stress of working from home; or they feel guilty for moaning about home-schooling when their kids are safe and well. But the truth is, suppressing our stresses doesn’t alleviate other people’s. It just compounds our emotion and over time, this build up causes shame and resentment and anger.
So, find a way to express your disappointments whether that’s talking them out to a safe person, writing them in a journal, running them off or having a good old-fashioned cry in the shower. Everything is relative and no one’s stress is more or less important. Be grateful yes (because it really does add a sun kissed glow to life). But more importantly, be the full spectrum of emotion. You’re allowed to feel how you’re feeling and mostly, once you express your true feelings, you’ll feel a whole lot better. Much easier than trying to scrub Tropic Delight Intense Extra off your skin 30 minutes before your sister’s wedding, believe me!
3. Eat cake
The other day while I was scrolling through Insta, I saw an advert for a weight loss something-or-other. The headline read “Drop your Corona weight in 14 days”. I almost choked on the chocolate cake I was stuffing into my mouth. Now is not the time to be denying ourselves or worrying about whether we’ve gained a couple of kilos. You have enough on your plate. Don’t add to it by berating yourself for eating a burger. Shaming yourself into losing weight is not going to make this time more enjoyable and nor is it going to help your mindset. You don’t need more stress. You need to feel strong and healthy so make educated, balanced choices and stop following impossibly thin models on social media.
4. Don’t be productive with your time
I have heard so many people tell me that they feel bad for wasting time in lockdown. Memes about Shakespeare writing King Lear in quarantine serve to prompt us into action but really just shame us for watching all of Netflix. Let’s get this straight. You and I are never going to write King Lear, in or out of lockdown. So, don’t beat yourself up for not writing your first novel or even finishing that jigsaw. Just because your mate Becky Marie Kondo-ed her entire apartment doesn’t mean you have to. The worst thing for our mental health is shame. So, whatever you are doing (as long as it’s within the law) is absolutely fine.
5. Feel the hard stuff.
The truth is in this highly magnified period of uncertainty, stuff is going to come up. Emotions are being triggered in this pressured time and old hurts and unresourceful behaviours are coming up for people.
A client of mine recently spoke to me about how frustrated she was feeling; frustrated that people weren’t complying with government guidelines; frustrated that her kids’ school hadn’t communicated as well as she’d have liked; frustrated that her husband was breathing too loudly in their shared home office – the list went on. What she eventually discovered was that her frustration wasn’t new, it was just being amplified by this unique and unusual situation. When we delved deeper, we uncovered the source of her frustration – the need to be in control of everything so she could feel safe. When we followed this thread, all sorts of insights unfolded, exposing stories and beliefs which no longer served her.
It is often beyond the pain and fear that answers and freedom lie. So, if hard emotions come to the surface don’t ignore them, be curious about them.