For some this global pandemic will have brought an abrupt transition to e-working or created different working conditions. Others may find themselves without a job or furloughed due to temporary business closures.

All of us are having to manage social distancing. Some are experiencing extreme difficulties and others have new opportunities. As we move into week six of lockdown, I find myself in a reflective mood.

The facts

We are all living with uncertainty in unprecedented times.

We have limited control over how we are currently living our lives and our usual routines have been thrown into disarray.

There is little opportunity for face-to-face interactions outside of our own homes – social distancing is common-place.

Some of us are experiencing real fear and many of us loneliness too.

We may have a loss of income.

Problems that existed before Covid-19 may have now been exacerbated.

The statement that has been coined; ‘we are all in this together’, pays no attention to each person’s set of circumstances.

Our plans for the immediate future have had to be changed.

Whatever your position, it is worth asking yourself:

‘How do I move forward now and find my way?’

Each of us will have different issues, different views and strengths and weaknesses – not one approach will work for all.

I decided to research what advice the experts were giving for these ‘unprecedented’ times and I found some great tips from psychologists; a good source when we are considering emotions and behaviours.

Understanding how the brain works and what us humans need at times of crisis is most helpful.

Paying attention to your own feelings and how you process these, and in turn the way in which you behave will be a useful indicator. Being self-aware can help individuals to develop their own coping strategies but do not be perturbed if you also feel overwhelmed at times – it is natural given the circumstances.

On researching advice and tips I found some useful articles and short videos provided by The Guardian on how to use your spare time and dealing with ‘cabin fever’ during the Coronavirus, which are well worth a read and how to stay positive during the Coronavirus.

Take time to reflect

A common theme from discussions with colleagues, family, and friends, is the sense that before ‘all this’, life had become a hard slog with little ‘downtime’, much like a treadmill. Life was busy and exhausting.

We wanted to ensure productivity and to be effective in balancing work and life, but we did not always take the time to reflect on the most important things in our lives; how things could be improved or what might be missing.

Neuroscience research shows that having time to truly relax creates calm and reflection, and this in turn helps clear the mind, enabling productivity and consolidation as well as raising self-awareness.

This is valuable knowledge and should not be dismissed in the busy lives that we all live.

Be kind to yourself and to each other

Your time spent away from home may well be limited, so make the most it. Consider how you want to spend it. What is important to you right now?

Time is precious. Some have more time than others but whatever your circumstances, take this opportunity when life feels precious, to make changes for the better.

More planned quality time at home with your immediate family.

More structured time for exercise.

Regular contact with friends and family, albeit through social media.

Take up a new hobby or go back to an old one.

Read, sew, cook, write, improve your golf swing, or quite simply relax and ‘switch off’.

The benefits

Taking the positives from a bad situation is a great outcome.

I have been fascinated to hear what others are doing to pass the time. So many people having fun or using their skills to help others. Volunteering and helping in the local community. It is important however to appreciate our differences and not to impose our own values and beliefs on others.

Research in neuroscience has also proven that having positive emotions helps us to deal better with stress and worry. It increases our immunity and resilience, provides clear-thinking and improves problem-solving skills.

We should not feel guilty when we feel good about our efforts. This is known to help with self-esteem and to help us each to deal with negativity.

My Top tips on finding YOUR way:

  • Develop ‘healthy’ habits – a new habit takes over two months to embed, so stick with it! Cook fresh nutritional foods, increase exercise, take up meditation or yoga to help with relaxation.
  • Savour the small and happy moments – be grateful. Gratitude is known to boost positive emotions promoting joy and enthusiasm and reducing destructive emotions of bitterness and resentment.
  • Show gratitude also to others for their help and consideration.
  • Have a daily routine – but mix it up! – a routine helps with continual changes in life, they become habitual and can be carried out on ‘automatic pilot’ reducing the need for yet more decisions, freeing the brain up to deal with the bigger issues. Mixing it up also allows for spontaneity and reduces boredom.
  • Delay ‘treats’ and savour them more – known as ‘delayed gratification’ – by doing something else first that you know must be done (and may not be so pleasurable) and in return rewarding yourself later with the treat, which will give you pleasure – the satisfaction is twofold.
  • Consider whether you believe if having too much of a ‘good thing’ is indeed a good thing? – another debate BUT excesses can create damage and disillusionment – moderation is a must.
  • Change your mindset and use positive self-talk – starting with I am, I will, and I can.
  • Take time to truly listen to others – it helps to fully absorb the facts provided and allows a better understanding of situations, reducing conflict and misunderstanding – of real benefit during these difficult times.

This pandemic has caused a lot of uncertainty for so many, and in different ways.

We cannot always be the best version of ourselves in times of difficulty and this may be an opportune moment to consider positive life changes. Many of my clients have done just this with a little extra support. Non-judgemental, confidential discussions outside of your immediate family, circle of friends or workforce can often be the answer. See more information here.

At this time of need I can provide an hour of my time with no charge and with no obligation to take up additional paid sessions afterwards unless you want to. This can be via phone, Zoom or other video calling solutions during this time of social distancing. Telephone 07470 235 250 or make contact here.