There’s no two-ways about it: lockdown is hard. Really hard. Whether we’re self-isolating alone, with family, friends or a partner, we’re having to adjust to a new daily reality. 

If you’re feeling stressed, anxious or vulnerable at the moment, know that you’re not alone. We’re social creatures by nature – we need physical touch and human connection. Everyone is going to be finding this period of isolation a struggle.

And it’s not just the lack of connection that we’re likely to be finding difficult. Being confined to the house has also stripped us of many of our usual coping mechanisms and distractions. 

With coping mechanisms like keeping “busy” unavailable to us right now, we’re being forced to face uncomfortable feelings head on. 

This is going to feel hard, there’s no doubt about that. But there’s also a flipside to this… 

It presents us with an opportunity.

So much of our lives are spent brushing things under the carpet. With distractions out of the way, lockdown is bringing us face to face with ourselves

During this time, we might find that old fears and stories start resurfacing. And when they do, we’re being given the chance to heal them. If we’re prepared to do the work, we may even find that we come out of this stronger.

Here are some ways we can make use of this time:

Watch what comes up

What fears and stories are coming up for you at the moment? Do they remind you of anything from your past? Maybe you’re not feeling ‘seen’ by your partner or home schooling has left you feeling like a useless parent… Take a closer look at the stories you’re telling yourself and see if you can trace them back to a moment in your past. Allow yourself to feel everything that comes up. You’re being given a clue for where there’s still work to be done…

Make positive lifestyle tweaks

Those changes you’ve been wanting to make that you were just “too busy” for? Well, here’s your opportunity. You may even find that it wasn’t time that was holding you back all along. Whether it’s a healthy eating plan, a new morning routine or a daily commitment to move your body, there’s no better time to start.

Create a routine

As human beings, we thrive off structure and routine. A daily routine helps us put healthy habits in place and get the most out of our day. And when we feel like we’ve achieved something – no matter how small – we’re going to generally feel much happier in ourselves. Ensure that you put a clear plan in place for each day e.g. 8am: 10 mins of morning pages in bed, 8.30am: breakfast at the dining room table, 9am: 30 mins HIIT workout video etc…

If you’re working at the moment, make sure you’re taking breaks every couple of hours. This could be as simple as stepping away from your desk to do a 10 mins mindfulness guided meditation to stay grounded. True productivity requires presence and focus and taking regular breaks throughout the day is going to help you keep your energy bank “topped up”.

Practice gratitude

For many of us, recent events have put a lot of things in perspective. We might notice that we were taking certain relationships, our health or daily liberties for granted. This is a great time to pause and give thanks for the things in our life we’re grateful for.

Become more self-aware

With many of our daily distractions gone, we can use this time to get to know ourselves better. Commit to starting each day with a short mindfulness meditation. Not only is this going to give you a better understanding of what emotional state you’re in (so you can create a day that is sensitive to that) but it’s also going to increase your awareness around any negative thoughts and feelings that might be holding you back in life.

Plan a future that excites you

If lockdown is doing anything, it’s forcing us to pause. Take this moment as an opportunity to reflect on the things that are important to you. Is the life you’ve built for yourself making you happy? If not, what’s missing? When things go back to normal, what could you change to create a life that is more in line with your values? Now’s the time to start planning.

No one’s saying lockdown is easy. And let’s face it: none of us would have chosen this. But one positive is that it has forced us to slow down…

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, remind yourself that we’re not going to be in lockdown forever. This too will pass. 

By reminding ourselves of this, we might find that we’re able to change how we view this time. Maybe we can take it as an opportunity to check-in with ourselves and reassess where we’re at in our lives – to consider the things we took for granted, and what we might want to change.

“There’s nothing more beautiful than when you prove to yourself just how strong you are”.