In spring 2020 the UK fell into lockdown in response to the COVID-19 virus and people fell into two general camps, responding in very different ways.
For many, life was suddenly in chaos, with uncertainty around jobs and money, children at home off school, restrictions on going out and doing all the usual things, shops running out of essentials, constant fear in the media, no contact with family or friends, and life felt very difficult.
But for others it allowed them to slow down, to spend time with their children and have a break from work, to reflect on their lives – things they never usually had the opportunity to do. It was a welcome pause on everyday life.
Then lockdown eased up, and all the promises people made to themselves to do something different with their lives disappeared and life got busy once again.
No matter which camp you fell into, do not worry.
It is completely natural that people with different personalities, different circumstances and different life experiences would react differently. We all cope with change and stress in our own unique ways.
But maybe there are some lessons to be learned from those who reframed the situation into a positive one.
“We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to them.” – Epictetus
And maybe another lockdown can give us the opportunity to sort our problems out and make improvements that will lead to happier more fulfilled lives.
With local lockdowns upon us, and further national lockdowns looming, could this be our chance to slow down, put ourselves first for once and use it as a spring board into living the life we dream of?
If you want to use lockdown as a time to reflect and make changes to your life, the following processes can be useful:
Assess your current situation
Think about all the different areas of your life – your job, home, relationships, health etc. Consider which bits you are happy with and which areas need improvement. Try rating them all on a scale of 1-10. You could include your:
- Financial situation
- Relationships with children and/or partner
- Relationships with friends, family, neighbours
- Physical health and fitness
- Mental health and wellbeing
- Lifestyle choices and habits
- Leisure and pastimes
- Personal growth
- Spiritual alignment
Ask yourself if you are happy with the direction that your life is heading. If not, what are your goals and how could you course correct?
Do not feel bad for having low scores, this gives you a good starting point to work from. Plus we all make mistakes in life and they can help guide us to a better future.
Plan the pivot
Once you know where you are, you can seriously think about where you want to be in life.
What would 10/10 look like for you in the different areas of your life? And what needs to happen to get there?
Maybe you realise that you don’t enjoy your job anymore and decide to retrain, build new skills, or jump into a new role. Maybe you decide to follow your heart and turn a hobby into a small business. Do not underestimate the power of doing what lights you up.
Maybe you want to concentrate on improving your health or creating better relationships with those closest to you. Whatever area of life you choose, make a plan of what you could do to improve it.
Take some action
Now that you have your plan of what you could do, you need to select which things you are willing to do. The only way to make change is to take action, so set some goals and get moving.
Perhaps that means starting something new, or stopping something old, or maybe it means having a difficult conversation you have been putting off. Whatever it is, make sure it relates to where you want to end up. You don’t necessarily need to take drastic action, small steps in the right direction will soon help you get there.
No plan is ever plain sailing. There will always be challenges in life, and no matter how much we plan, it will never go right all the time.
But if you are struggling to make headway, or if something from your past has been holding you back, maybe causing self-doubt, confidence, or trust issues, you are not alone and professional counselling can help you make sense of how you are responding now to things that have happened in the past.
As a Psychotherapeutic Counsellor, I offer a form of counselling that concentrates on you as a whole person – mind, body and soul.
I aim to create an environment where you feel comfortable, safe, and relaxed, giving you the opportunity to explore any obstacles you are facing. By talking regularly, we can work together to heal any past problems and move forward in a positive light so you can make the changes you want to.
If you would like to find out more about counselling or book a session, contact me for an informal chat.