Have You Got The Lockdown Blues?
Has your mental health been suffering during lockdown? This period of imprisonment in our homes the government decided was best for us has left it’s mark on lots of people. The mental health of half the nation is in a perilous state. But some people have sailed through. No different to their usual ups and downs. And some have thrived – learning new languages, skills, Zooming away…So why are we all so different? And why have so many felt life was no longer worth living?
Freedom Is A State Of Mind
There is a great book by Viktor Frankl called Man’s Search For Meaning, where he relates his experiences in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. He describes a fellow inmate stopping on his way back from a torturous hard day’s labour, starving, dressed in rags, and beaten to within an inch of his life. Viktor urges him to keep going or the guards will kill him. But he stops anyway to admire the sunset. To experience something so beautiful in the midst of all that horror was worth him pausing for. Viktor wrote: “Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.”
What choices can you make that will support your mental well-being?
Share The Love
Right now, we’ve got a glimpse of physical freedom – we can legally go out and to meet people again. Use it well. See friends and family. Enjoy being in the company of others. Allow the energy to fill you up. Share the love.
Seek That Which Makes Life Worth Living
Find those little things in every day that make your time on this Earth worth living. They are different for everyone and they don’t have to be big – what are your simple pleasures? Clean sheets on the bed? Watching a beautiful sunrise or sunset? Helping others? Walking the dog? Notice the opportunities and take them. Seek. Enjoy. Celebrate the small stuff.
Make New Rituals
We are living in strange times, so it’s okay to react in strange ways. Those meditating with me in Meditation Room recently will know my new daily ritual – I’ve been singing to the birds and plants as I trim back the brambles in my garden springclean! I feel fabulous for both the singing, being outside, and the cutting away of stuff that no longer serves. And if I find it a bit tough going, I’ll go out and prune some more.
Choose How You Respond
Your super-power is the ability to choose. Choose ways to respond for your highest good and best mental health. If you notice your thoughts heading in anxious, unsupportive ways, redirect them. Every single time if you can, that way you start to re-train your brain for the better. Thinking in anxious or depressive ways takes up a lot of energy – when you interrupt the pattern early, it’s less exhausting.
But in saying that, accept that there may be times when you just need to withdraw and feel those painful feelings for a while. Cry it out. Rage and rant. When you’re done, don’t wallow! Complete your ritual, seek out that which makes life meaningful to you, engage in an activity you know gives you pleasure, see a friend and share the love again.
Mind your freedom. You’re worth it.
If you’d like to join me for a guided meditation see my events page for Meditation Room.
The information provided in this article should not be used as a substitute for professional medical or psychological advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you need to reach out, you can find Further Help at the bottom of my Feel Calmer and More Resilient page.