By Amrita Sohal // 28/05/20
The current situation hit us completely unexpectedly and shook up our lives in ways most of us weren’t prepared for. It’s completely natural to feel out of your depth and experience difficulty in adjusting. I felt like a fish out of water when all of this began, but as time progressed, I came to feel more content and at peace. I thought I’d share a few things that I have learnt and have used to help me find peace and balance through lockdown…
There is so much uncertainty as to what our lives will hold in the upcoming future as many external forces are holding the power right now. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by this, try and take some power back by working on accepting that we cannot change things that are beyond our control. Lockdown has created a range of difficulties and uncertainties for me. For instance, I am experiencing problems in achieving the study and placement hours that I require for qualifying as a counsellor. Though I felt really concerned for the impact this would have on my future, I began to remind myself that all of this is out of my hands. The university is trying to resolve the issue to the best of their ability, so I realised that it isn’t worth losing peace of mind over. It’s much easier said than done, but all we can do is cross each bridge as it comes!
Staying in the Present (Mindfulness)
Mindfulness is something I have been practising for a while due to previous issues with anxiety. Though we can practice mindfulness through yoga, meditation and breathing techniques, we can also practice this through normal everyday activities. I find that giving 100% attention to things within my daily routine (whether that’s working out, cooking or cleaning), prevents me from getting carried away with anxious thoughts.
Practising gratitude has also been very powerful for me. Whether it’s holding appreciation for the people I love, or for having good health, access to shelter, food, and clean water, this always helps to keep me grounded. As Kiran mentioned in our last post, it’s important not to take these simple things for granted because, as we have learnt, we truly never know what’s around the corner. All of this can take time to master, but it’s possible and it’s worth it!
Self-Development and Personal Growth
Due to being caught up in daily life, many of us don’t know who we are, what triggers us, where we want to go, or what goals we want to achieve. Take this time to work on yourself, learn more about yourself or work on feeling more comfortable with your own company. Many of us have learnt to find happiness in other people, in our careers, or the next milestone of our lives; but we forget that seeking happiness from within and from today is just as important. If you do not feel happy right now, don’t wait until lockdown is over to find this happiness. Try to unpack this and consider what it might take to change this.
I have been on a personal journey with my growth for a long time and have used lockdown to pay even more attention to this. I know that working on yourself is easier said than done when you have lots of demons to face, but it's hugely rewarding once you fight past each hurdle! It’s unlikely that we will ever receive this much time to focus on ourselves again, so try to make the most of it. By no means will this fit for everyone as we have all gone through our own things, but hopefully this will inspire you to look inwards a little more.
I have always been a big believer of trying new things and pushing past your comfort zone, but I have realised that there’s no time like the present to do it. Why was I always waiting till the “future” to do certain things, when we truly don’t know what could be coming our way? So I’ve been setting myself different challenges to push myself slightly each week. I’ve been trying to learn how to make mixes, learning difficult boxing techniques and have been working on a few private projects. This has helped lift me up and feel accomplished.
If you are used to having an active or social lifestyle, it can be particularly challenging to be in isolation right now. I have found that planning ahead or making a bucket list of things to look forward to, can help manage this. I've been planning a few holidays, family get-togethers, theme park trips, and birthday celebrations that have been missed through lockdown. Try it and see if it helps!
Environment, Balance & Exposure
Working, sleeping, eating and relaxing in the same environment can become extremely suffocating. Try to make use of your garden or different rooms within your home for different activities; it switches things up! Also remember to incorporate rest into your day and make time for things that you enjoy. I feel happier and much more productive since adopting this approach. Additionally, as much as it is vital to stay well-informed, try to limit your exposure to the news as it can become quite emotionally draining. This also applies to social media. Too much exposure can result in us comparing ourselves to others having a “better time” through lockdown. It can also reinforce our loneliness and poke at our insecurities. Try to take some time away from social media every now and again, just to reconnect with yourself and reality.
Be Kind to Yourself
It’s great to stay positive but it’s important to remember that we are allowed to have bad days. It can be hard to accept yourself when you feel low because so many of us associate this with weakness, but to admit you’re struggling takes guts and strength; it’s far from weakness. Putting a plaster over things won’t make it go away but venting or facing your emotions is the first step towards tackling what you’re experiencing. I’ve stopped judging myself when I feel low and I feel much better for it.
The main message that I hope you can take away is that there are plenty ways of making the most of this time. I’ve shared what works for me, but everyone deals with things differently so try to find ways that work for you. Read blogs, talk to others, do some research and I’m sure you’ll find inspiration from different sources here and there. Remember that everyday will feel different and that’s ok. Some days will feel positive and productive, whereas some will be full of procrastination and low mood. Just be patient with yourself and remember that better days will come!
Stay Safe, Stay at Home and Be Kind to Yourself