As if by some Halloween nightmare, the coronavirus has come back to haunt us with a second lockdown. And whilst it was inevitable to some extent, it has left us all feeling disheartened at the delay and disruption of moving forward in this pandemic.
Second lockdown brings it’s own challenges. This time round we have the double edged sword of knowing what to expect. We’re both slightly prepared for what’s ahead, but very much aware of how difficult it’s going to be this time round.
Whilst it does feel endless and relentless and whichever other -less word you can think of, there will be an end to it. There will be a vaccine and we are closer to the end of the pandemic than we were in March, so that’s something.
How to mentally prepare for a second lockdown:
What didn’t work for you last time?
If you put too much pressure on yourself in the first lockdown to be productive, workout every day, do every online quiz you’ve ever heard of, then don’t do it this time round. Take what happened in the previous lockdown and learn from it, reflect on what didn’t help you out in the long-term.
What helped in the short term?
It’s important to recognise the small habits that helped you cope in the moment with how you were feeling, even if they didn’t solve the problem in the long-term. After you’ve recognised what you did, you can assess whether you want to respond in the same way to that feeling this time round.
Weigh up the benefits of your short term responses and if they did help and still have value then continue to do them. But if they made you feel worse in the long-term decide what habit you could substitute it with this time round.
Often books, and TV programmes help boost our mood and distract us in the short-term, sometimes in the long-term too if it’s a long series. That’s always a positive in my opinion! Here’s some TV shows and books I’d recommend for this lockdown.
What helped in the long-term?
There are always things that we don’t really want to do, that actually help us out in the long term. What are they for you? How can you make these more challenging responses more enjoyable?
Then you can then remind yourself of the long-term benefits of the action when you’re doing it (and maybe not enjoying it as much as the quick fix).
Who do I want to become over the next month?
View this lockdown as time to work on something you’re passionate about, yourself or your wellbeing. Whether it’s curling up with a good book, picking up that instrument again or redecorating the next room in the house – go for it!
It’s not about the achievement or the end goal, it’s about having some fulfilling to do that will make you feel like the version of you that you want to be.
Also asking yourself this questions brings back some control right? After all if I asked you, who do you want to become over the next month? I don’t think you’d say a miserable woman who drowns her sorrows in biscuits. It could happen (and will from time to time), but the intention is usually more positive right?
Be Kind to yourself.
When you do struggle, don’t beat yourself up. The worst part about knowing a second lockdown is coming is the anxiety of whether it’s going to be as bad as the last one. Be kinder to yourself this time round, as the dark nights and shorter days require more effort to find positives.
Most importantly, don’t blame yourself for how you’re feeling. It’s absolutely nothing to do with how you’re handling the situation, it’s the situation itself. If you are having a bad day, here’s some things that help.
How could I create a positive energy within this experience?
The bottom line is, what makes you feel good? If it’s creating, what can you create that will bring more positivity to this experience for yourself or others? If it’s socialising, what virtual activities can you set up with your friends or family to keep you all entertained?
Take it as a way to challenge your imagination to come up with creative ways of bringing more fun into this lockdown experience. It can be as random, wacky or as serious as you like. It just has to be fun and create some positive energy for you, as we could all do with some of that!
Do you feel mentally prepared for a second lockdown?