Lessons Learned in Lockdown 2021

It’s been referred to in several different ways and has shown that indeed, life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. Who’d have known that those other plans would be almost a year of navigating through some form of lockdown while observing a Global Pandemic unfolding around us.

Oh my, the amount of hobbies that could be partaken in over 2020 has been quite the list. Indeed, this being described as a time of some of the world’s greatest creativity will come to the fore is an understatement. There has been an increase in the amount of reading, painting and of course, physical fitness. Not to mention the largest abundance of banana bread the world has seen in its history. For sure, there aren’t many deficits of potassium in Ireland’s population in 2021.

On the other hand, this has been a massive time of uncertainty. We’ve seen an increase in job losses, businesses closing and people’s mental health is on the floor. We’ve needed to find ways to build ourselves up, go back to basics and challenge the status quo when it comes to getting our fixes of joy, distraction and stimulants that would otherwise be so easy to access. When a tough day comes along, rather than meeting a friend for a coffee, we’re in the boat of sitting with our feelings, turning to Netflix, another Zoom call or a glass of red wine to ease the anxiety. This has at least been part of my experience and has been one for the archives in terms of reflections and flexing my resilience muscles.

February 2021 has arrived, we’re halfway through and the thoughts of getting back to our new normal is closer than ever. That taste of sweet sweet freedom is teased with some socially distanced walks, chats on Tinder and take-away on a Friday night. Match that with staying virtually connected to those we love, identifying what fills our buckets and what really matters, it isn’t so hard – some days at least.

Over the past year, I’ve been fortunate like many to have a lot of learnings and reflections from this lockdown world. Those have been from handling personal situations, moving home and rediscovering hobbies and areas of interest once forgotten.

Firstly, a gratitude attitude has been necessary to navigate through this lockdown. It’s said regularly and is so relevant however being grateful that indeed, I can work from home, have a job, have some family nearby & don’t have a weak immune system have been some of what I’ve been grateful for. Gratitude is proven to strengthen our mindsets which has been ever so important. Writing 3-10 things each morning & night of what you’re grateful for can support a bunch. Getting a notebook dedicated to that can help too.

Secondly, an acceptance of ‘what is’ has been imperative. It can be tempting to think of the ‘what if’ scenarios and run down memory lane with those especially when left with our thoughts. There is nothing wrong with this so don’t berate yourself if you do this. What I will say is that giving yourself the permission to day dream can actually help – just don’t get stuck there. Grounding techniques to allow for acceptance can support so much with this and help with any anxiety caused from the Pandemic or not being where you thought you would. Ideas include meditation and cold showers (yes, I mean it).

The smell of regret can sneak its way in at any stage of life. The ‘I wish I had’ gone to more restaurants, had more dates, travelled the world type scenarios tend to run rampant throughout the minds of lock-downers. Whatever you’re at, know that you’ve always done the best you can from the place you were at. Channeling the regrets or thoughts of what you could’ve done more of would be best served on a list of ‘Post-lockdown ideas’ to support you on your journey.

‘Staying positive’, being told to be positive or indeed telling anyone that they ‘should be positive’ is toxic. We’re not here to tell others how or what they should feel – that includes ourselves. Aim instead to be optimistic. Feel the way you feel, allows other to do the same & identify how to work through those feelings. From there, be ready to be optimistic. Know that this too shall pass and feeling every part of it is inevitable – however you choose to do it.

Feel free to share any tips or tricks as you navigate through this weird world. See you on the other side of it.