Everyone has their own lockdown story – don’t they? But mine starts the weekend before when self-distancing was just becoming a concept. Pubs and cafes remained opened, children went to school and weekends were spent with extended family and friends. I was spending mine re-connecting with my best friend, revelling in her company as we cycled through the Derbyshire Dales, enjoying the first signs of Spring.
That was until we collided to disastrous effect.
The high-speed collision left me with 2 broken ribs, a broken collar bone and a punctured lung. I’m airlifted to hospital and when I come out the other side, the country is in lockdown.
Before the crisis took a hold on the country, I was a mum of two, in the midst of a self-build house renovation, establishing a consultancy business whilst training for a half ironman triathlon in May, in Mallorca. I like to pack it in!
Now, like so many others my world has been turned upside down. I find myself, for the time being, one-armed, juggling home learning my two children alongside my clients. The house renovation is on hold and the make-do camp-style kitchen will be a permanent fixture for months to come. My training regime has become a short walk around the block and a gentle set of exercises recommended by my physio.
What has happened? Coronavirus is spreading and I’ve been involved in an accident – these are facts. I cannot control this set of circumstances, but how I respond is something I have full control over.
We don’t know how long this is going to go on for. A marathon for most of us, rather than a sprint (unless you’re a first responder). It will take stamina and strength. We need to find ways to enjoy the journey if we are to do more than just survive in what has become the new normal.
So, I’m on the lookout for some strategies. Here’s what I’m trying, I’d love to hear yours.
Focus on small wins
The positive correlation between gratitude and wellbeing are well documented. Before I go to bed at night, I’m writing down three things I appreciated that day. Then at the end of the week, I can look over my list and I have 21 reasons to be grateful.
In times of uncertainty and change, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. I’m working on breaking down larger tasks into smaller actionable steps, and as each micro-step is achieved stopping to celebrate my success.
Be kind to yourself
These are unprecedented times and we are all having to get our heads around lots of new things. Things will go wrong and may take longer than you expect. I’m lowering my expectations and trying to getting comfortable with where I am right now. It’s making life feel less of a struggle and more enjoyable.
Learn how to switch off
We’re having to adapt – we’re working in new ways in challenging circumstances, we’re entertaining children and managing everyone’s emotions. For a lot of us, our lives have suddenly become a lot more pressured. I’m spending time doing something, at least once a week, that doesn’t have an end goal attached to it. An activity that’s 100% about living and being in the moment. Just for fun and because I enjoy it.
Strengthen your mindset
Our own mindset can be the biggest challenge and our best asset. I’m investing in ways that I can strengthen mine. Visualisation, journaling and having a set routine are all ways to keep yourself accountable, focused and motivated, and can minimise negative self-talk. Be kind in the way you talk to yourself.
Prioritising spending time with my family and friends – even if it has to be virtually, and being involved in their lives gives me the energy and inspiration to keep moving forward. I’m making sure I take time to regularly check-in
Often when we’re unsettled it’s easy to get caught up in ‘sense of urgency’. If we slow down, take a few deep breaths it can be like a light coming on in a dark room. Suddenly everything is a lot clearer, and not quite so overwhelming.
This period of time will pass. As we stand still we are allowing our world to breathe once more – we can already see signs of healing. Waters are running clearer, the air is cleaner and if we were to continue to allow it to breathe its future will be healthier and brighter. We can learn from this moment in time – when we stop, breathe and rethink, we too can thrive.
The first thing I’ll do once coronavirus is over? Get on a train to visit my 97-year-old Nan, shortly followed by a visit to my best friend (the one with whom I had the cycle accident with) to give her a big hug. She lost her Dad last week and is currently planning a funeral for which only 10 people can attend.