This is the question that everybody is trying to find an answer to. Many people have, I included, had sessions when they were so tired of it all that they just wanted out!!
I went in search of answers or remedies to better handling the situation at hand and how to keep up with self-care. I spoke to Keeley @key4change, who is a Psychologist who, in her own words, “helps people when they are not sure if what they are doing in their life is useful to them or not.” She shared some amazing gems in our conversation that could help us walk through this and come out okay, if not better than when it all started.
Find your personal power
I loved the term Personal Power. According to Keeley, we all have a personal genius. Something within us that we can be great at; something that we enjoy doing and can do for hours on end. We get stressed out and depressed when what we are doing goes against our nature.
So we need to create what we most need. Find what would make you feel most in control, even if it is just for a short while and just do it. This is self-care at its finest! For instance, I had a problem simply settling down and not being able to go out when I wanted. It is in my nature to be out and about with people looking for solutions and doing things that I feel matter. So in my position, I needed to create a way of being spontaneous even in my lockdown state.
“Even in the most adverse of situations, how can you find a modicum of control? How can you use your personal power?”
Allow the situation to flow through
We are creatures of habit; which is why when a habit is taken away from us, we feel disoriented and lost. However, we are also an adaptable species. You throw a person in Alaska they struggle for a while but they soon adapt to the cold and live. So even in this situation, if you allow yourself to let it flow, you will survive it and even find ways to thrive through it.
Keeley says that we should accept that feeling anxious and even sad sometimes is normal. Allow the feeling, let it flow, and if you do, it will pass. Fight it, suppress and stifle it, “it will wreak havoc in the back of your mind and come out with a vengeance as something more brutal”.
Also, watch what you consume. If you spend days listening to Covid updates every 15 minutes, you are bound to be depressed! Find something that makes you feel good; some good tunes, a fun movie, make games with the kids, do a bubble bath and enjoy some wine while at it. Self-care is not selfish; if anything, it helps you take care of the people around you better.
Don’t overthink it!
Now, this is a hard one, especially for mums! We feel the need to be in total control of everything so we look for ways that things could go wrong, look for loopholes that might not even exist.
Keeley suggests that sometimes when we have little to no control of things, we should simply play our part. Someone asked how to handle being around people who have not been vaccinated when you have been. Simply be. We are human; we need human contact, communication even from a distance. If you overthink every time you have to be around people, you will increase your anxiety levels unnecessarily.
Alternatively, you may feel anxious about having to go back out and deal with large crowds after being away from them for so long. Keeley suggested we find a way to be optimistic about it. Accept the fact that you may feel anxious and a bit paranoid. Use your personal power to reintegrate yourself back into society but learn your tipping point. You know when you’re about to go beyond what is natural, comfortable or good for you. Exercise control.
There are many women, especially mums, who feel lost about how to balance everything now that work is no longer definite. Keeley says, do what is realistically possible for you. Talk to your boss, find out if you can work some days at work and some at home. Find people to help out with the kids now that they are home. Avoid feeling powerless about this; find a way to do what you can to make what you can work.
“Powerlessness and depression go together”
If you have trouble being locked down with your partner all the time, find realistic ways of handling it. Start by being frank about the fact that you need a break from each other now and then, and find creative ways of handling the situation. You can ask to have a sleepover at a friend’s or relative’s where one spouse goes this time the other next time, go for grocery runs on your own and so on.
“There is always opportunity in adversity“
This is a direct quote from Keeley that I found so profound
We are in the middle of a pandemic, locked down, some alone. What has this time made you learn about yourself? What strength have you discovered about yourself that you did not know? We have been given the gift of living from day to day, appreciate the small things that we once overlooked. Get to learn something about yourself, discover your passion and do something about it. Find a way to come out of this pandemic better than when you went in.
“In any adverse experience, there are life lessons”
I found these gems about self-care in lockdown so real and practical that I just had to share. Please share your thoughts and any other wisdom nuggets that you have found that work for you during this time.