Now that we’re getting into the groove of lockdown it’s been interesting to observe the changes in my own mindset and I’ve noticed this seems to parallel what’s happening for others.

To begin with, it felt like adjusting to lockdown was a fast, bumpy ride. Trying to wrap our heads around the new normal and processing the immense global impact of the pandemic some days felt like a bit of a brain fry – certainly for me.

Now, two weeks in, things seem calmer as we roll with our current normal.

Here’s what I’m noticing is happening in myself, with others I connect with and also paying attention to the general wider mood.

 

New habits and routines

After the initial shock and scramble to get things in place to go into lockdown, things seem to have settled and new habits and routines are emerging.

Somedays are still a strange cocktail of fearful emotions, whilst others have an air of acceptance and “que sera sera.” No wonder we’re tired! It can be an emotional rollercoaster.

In the beginning as my mind was adjusting to this strange reality, like most people no doubt, I was very much missing my usual way of life. But rather than lamenting the loss of the things I can’t do (for now and maybe for awhile…) I have adjusted to focusing more on what else can I do instead. This has been a major mindset shift and helps me now and for as long as we are in lockdown.

At first, like many it seems, I was constantly checking in on the news and felt compelled to keep myself continually updated with events unfolding in New Zealand and further afield. TV and social media were a constant presence, but I realised that there’s only so much negative news I can handle and what difference does keeping yourself bathed in it make? Now my habit is to briefly check in once in the morning, once around the middle of the day and then to watch the news at 6pm. That’s enough to keep me updated.

What are you doing in your bubble to getting through today? What new routines have you established?

I’ve always been pretty active, but during this time I’ve cemented my commitment to keep moving and have dived into virtual exercise classes and regular walks. I’m lucky that my fellow bubblers are all committed to this, too, so it’s easy to motivate each other. Something as simple as putting my exercise gear on when I get up in the morning and thinking ahead the night before to plan a loose structure to the following day means that I am prepared and ready to keep myself active. This has significant benefits to my mood and sense of achievement and it fires me up for the day. Obviously it’s also good for my overall health.

Having decided to embrace more of a plant-based diet this year, a new habit has emerged in our family whereby we have signed up for Green Dinner Table. We’re learning new ways of cooking and eating and I look forward to engaging myself in following a new recipe several times a week. Concentrating on cooking helps me tune out of the state of the world for a little while. We’ve also enlisted the kids help in the kitchen a whole lot more, so they are learning a valuable set of skills.

Getting through this time as best you can looks different for different people, and for some this will be more challenging than for others – particularly those with little kids, single parents and those in challenging or unstable domestic situations or people under severe financial pressure. All the more reason to try to establish some healthy and mentally-nourishing new routines.

 

Hope?

Are we starting to see the first glimmers of flattening of the Covid-19 curve in New Zealand? I like the words “cautious optimism.”

Holding onto hope has helped humans since time immemorial to focus on the task at hand and galvanise themselves into action to beat the foe. A belief in our ability to – at least some extent – shape our outcomes, is very empowering and I have noticed the faint threads of hope starting to creep into the conversations I’ve been having with people over the past week. I can feel it in my own energy, too and am choosing to focus on this as best I can.

 

Coming out the other side

As hard as it might be, we can certainly in some moments look at this crisis as an opportunity. Notwithstanding the pain and suffering I find hard to tune out when I think about our global plight, we can, at least, think on an individual level about how me might allow this unique time in our personal history to shape us.

Here are some questions you could ask yourself to help work through this:

  • What do you want to continue from this time?
  • What do you want to do more of after this?
  • What do you want to stop or do less of?
  • What are you looking forward to?
  • What do you want to do differently from now on?
  • What have you learned to appreciate more during this time?
  • Any focuses you want to change going forward?
  • Anything this is galvanising you towards – in your personal or professional life?

Tough times happen. Life is always going to throw us challenges, that’s part of the human condition. It’s how we choose to emerge from these that’s really important.

To  quote Viktor Frankl, holocaust survivor:

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way