Hi, Welcome to this weeks blog.
I opened my doors for one to one last week, working within the Government guidelines of social distancing. The response has been great, and I thank anyone who I have seen since I opened.
What I have noticed from the messages and the phone conversations that I’ve received this week is that there seems to be a whole new lot of problems that have arisen because of Covid-19. I think because of the lockdown new issues have raised their heads, some serious some not so serious. The not so serious were things like, My next door neighbours cat meows too loud, or I slept for 3 hours in the afternoon and I can’t get to sleep at night, and many more. What the lockdown has done is heightened senses. We have become more aware of things going on around us. We have also got out of routines, So taking a 3 hour sleep in the afternoon is of course going to disrupt your usual sleep pattern.
We are slowly coming out of lockdown, so perhaps next week you need to start getting back into a routine. You could start by getting out of your PJ’s or your trackies. Start dressing normally again.
Reintroduce your old routine
If you’re preparing to start going back into the office or do the school run, it’s a good idea to start easing back into your old routine now. Set your alarm for the time you would normally get up and go to bed at the time you did pre-lockdown.
If you have a household with children, that means getting the whole family back onto this timezone too. Go through the motions of your old routine too – get showered and dressed and do your hair as if you were going into the office.
‘Also – ensure you create a sense of weekdays and weekends by focussing on chores and work during the week and relaxation time for weekends – just as you used to do. This all helps to create a sense of confidence that we are ready to readjust and resets our body clocks in preparation for the event.
Suggest a Zoom work catch-up
One of the most common anxieties I hear from people in my practice, is the thought of going back to work and having face to face meetings or social interaction
To help reduce anxiety around this, reach out to work colleagues – FaceTime them – ahead of going back to work. This will significantly help to alleviate some of your fears as you reconnect with them and you’ll feel that much more confident about your long-awaited physical interaction with them.
‘You could even suggest a Zoom call with a group of colleagues to create a sense of togetherness and establish your sense of community.
Re-introduce your work wardrobe
The clothes we wear affect our mood, confidence, attitudes and even the way we behave and interact with people. So now – more than ever – think of this as your psychological armour for re-entering the world.
‘Many of us have been living in a uniform of comfy sweats and elasticated waist trousers for what feels like an eternity but it’s time to go through your wardrobe and create your capsule ‘back to the world’ key looks. Even invest in a few new pieces if it helps you feel good. Not only will this mentally empower you, it removes a huge amount of pressure and stress when the day finally comes – it’s one less thing to think about. And simplicity is key in reducing anxiety.
Reduce your screen time
The trepidation and confusion caused by information overload is a huge contributor towards anxiety levels. As you prepare to go back into the outside world, take stock and account of the amount of screen time you spend browsing social media and news sites.
Many of us have increased our intake of social media sites and that has caused a massive increase in anxiety rates. Children also need to be told not to spend so much time on You Tube and Tik Tok etc. If you start to reduce their viewing times now, it won’t come as so much of a shock when normality finally returns. Limit your own screen time to once or twice daily and be aware of the people or information sources that create a feeling of dread – avoid these. Especially on days when you’re feeling high levels of anxiety.
If you find zoom chats exhausting you’re not alone. Video calls can be harder to navigate in many ways than face to face interactions, because we are so focused on seeing our own face.
‘It can also feel rather overwhelming when everyone is talking at the same time. Instead of solely relying on Zoom, get back into the habit of speaking to people you care about on the phone.’
Strike up a conversation with a stranger
Walk your dog or your child where you know you’ll find other people, such as in the park, whilst maintaining social distancing. Give yourself an exercise each day to strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know – even from a few metres away.
‘Having been locked up at home for weeks, we are used to giving people a wide berth and it’s easy to feel a sense of fear and mistrust when we see someone new. Get back into the habit of smiling and making eye contact, rather than leaping into the nearest hedge when someone approaches.’
Another option is to set up a chair by your front door and talk to people as they pass. Setting up a chair at your front door with a cuppa or a glass of wine and chat to people walking past, can be very enjoyable, Connecting with people, from the safety of your garden or balcony, or even an open window is a good first step to re-socialising, plus you may even make friends new people in your neighbourhood.
Although it may feel strange at first, don’t focus on your own feelings of awkwardness. Instead, focus on the fact that your friendliness could brighten up someone else’s day.
And finally for this week.
Equip yourself with a mask and podcast for the first commute
‘It’s important to differentiate that, for most people, the fear of going outside of the house is not rooted in the action of going outside in itself – it’s the fear of becoming infected.
‘Naturally, the idea of boarding public transport or a cramped commuter train where we are not in control of social distancing nor has it been effectively enforced, is enough to send us over the edge and into panic attack territory. It’s so important to gear yourself up for this mentally if you have no choice but to use public transport. Beyond the basics of equipping yourself with a protective mask, gloves and hand sanitiser, download your favourite podcasts or playlist that helps to relax and transport you to a place of calm or take a book to read.
I wish you all a safe and health week. Until next time
Take care, Best wishes
Jon Adkin Author of ‘Can I Change?’ Available from Amazon.