The New Lockdown
Over the past months with Covid-19
The past few months have been hard on everyone, including our children, our family, teachers, colleagues and friends. Nothing is staying the same. Rules and regulations seem to change constantly. One moment it seems we should be eating out to help out, the next we should only be in groups of 6, but does that depend on how many households they are from? Or is that Wales or Scotland?
The 5th November 2020, sees the new lockdown in England.
Our minds have become fuller and fuller with all of these uncertainties, all these changes and seemingly ever-changing rules.
We are actually hard-wired for human connection and have a deep-rooted need to see and be with people that we can feel good around. Those connections can be family, or friends, work colleagues or people that we share common interests with. But this ‘new normal’ has basically challenged this ‘pull’ to be with others, but at the same time legally asking us to isolate and keep away from people so we don’t spread the virus. We are being asked to ‘stay home’ again. Be alone again.
In times of uncertainty we want to be around those we care about, often they will be in different households. To ‘keep’ safe we have to isolate and keep away from others. This has created an imbalance within us, which is amplified again with the news of lockdown.
Our subconscious mind craves certainty, safety and security. Things keep changing, putting pressure on our mental health.
Pre-covid , how many of us were so very used to getting up and going out of the house for work, or for the school run, or going to an organised play date for our toddlers? These activities have helped to ensure that we made time to eat at similar times to the day and even bathe and sleep and regular and routine intervals.
We were used to having the freedom to pop to the local shop for milk or bread. Pass the time of day having a coffee with a friend. Or going to the gym. Many of these past times have now been stopped once again.
Nothing is simple anymore. We have to continually ensure we have washed our hands, sanitised them, keep a safe distance from others, wear a face covering. And so, it has been very easy to get stuck indoors, not venture out. Now the weather is wet and cold, it makes us feel more housebound than during the first lockdown in March.
Our everyday world has had to become smaller to ensure we can keep ourselves, our family and our loved ones safe and away from the potential spread of the virus Covid-19. But what about the activities that gave us pleasure or enabled us to feel valued? They have all in some way been curtailed.
Even the way we work whether that is looking after our children, working in an office or doing voluntary work
So, if we somehow managed to get through the last lockdown, why do we feel overwhelmed?
What is anxiety anyway?
We have an in-built alarm system that was established when we were hunter-gathers. This system is known as ‘fight-flight-freeze’. Our central nervous system wants to keep us safe and so it looks for dangers. In the past it may have been a woolly mammoth, a sabre tooth, tiger that we felt we had to fight, or to run (flight) from a fire for example. Sometimes we literally ‘freeze’ from danger.
Today, our woolly mammoth comes from thoughts that release chemicals and hormones that in turn create the feelings of anxiety, stress and sometimes panic attacks. These ‘threats’ can now come from the thoughts that we associate with the pandemic, or getting children back to school, or struggling with work changes, or having to work from home and look after children. Our body can read the perceived ‘threat’ in just the same way as if there was a sabre tooth tiger trying to get through the front door.
If you’re feeling anxious, you might:
- feel your heart beating really fast
- feel scared, worried or tense
- get fidgety, or shake after something’s happened
- feel sick or get a funny feeling in your stomach
- struggle to think about other things
- have a panic attack
Anxiety feels different for everyone, so you could also feel something completely different. It’s also normal to have times when you feel more and less anxious.
Almost everyone gets anxious sometimes, but if your anxiety is stopping you from being able to live your life or do things you normally enjoy then it’s important to get support.
So what can we do to support us through these strange times?
We need to aim to create a way for our mind and body to feel ‘safe’. This will be different for everyone. Here are just a few tips that may help you:
- Create positive daily routines:
For waking, eating, sleeping, working and playing for example.
Go for a short walk or a run, or even just do some star jumps. Try an online yoga class from You Tube, or a pilates class.
Moving your body can help to release some negative energy can help release the ‘happier’ hormones such as serotonin. Movement can help you to feel calmer when things are getting too much.
- Negative Thoughts – try to focus on the present
Focusing on things right now
Spend some time concentrating on things you can see, touch and feel to help you stay in the moment. Look around you and slowly try to find:
5 things you can see
4 things you can touch and feel
3 things you can hear
2 things you smell
1 thing you can taste
- Breathing techniques have been proven to ensure that we move into the parasympathetic nervous system, where we can feel we are moving out of the ‘fight or flight’ and into the ‘rest and digest’ where we can feel safe. There are many types of breathing techniques, this is just one simple idea:
Find somewhere comfortable to sit if you can, and place both feet on the ground. Slowly breathe in through your nose as you count to 5, then out through your mouth as you count to 5 again. Keep going and try to let your muscles relax a little more each time you breathe out.
- Talk things through with a trusted friend, family member or find support though Holding Space or find a therapist.
- Keep a Journal: Keeping a journal means that you’ll regularly write or record how you’re feeling and what’s been happening in your life. You could do it every day, or whenever you feel able to.
Keeping a journal can help you to:
o let your feelings out
o see what you’ve written and think about things differently
o learn more about what makes you anxious and what helps
o think about new ways to cope or different things you could do.
- Find out the facts regarding the Covid-19. Perhaps go to the government websites or the new NHS app for the latest accurate information
- Limit or avoid news and social media exposure as there can be misleading information provided.
Please remember you aren’t alone, please feel free to contact me for details of how I can support you through:
Mobile: 07809 124786
Landline: 01323 903087
Email: 01323 903087
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