Lockdown is hard on everyone – for different reasons. Not only are we being restricted in our movements, but also in our social interactions, some people haven’t seen family members and friends for months.
However, before lockdown started we were all under different kinds of pressures which centre around the goals we had for ourselves, the expectations others have of us as well as things that are 'Deemed' must do by the society. These haven’t gone away.
Unrealistic lockdown expectations
In many ways, these goals, expectations and obligations are in direct contrast with the world we are currently living in.
· How can you be promoted or successful at work if your job is threatened due to not being able to trade?
· How can you find that husband your parents want for you when socialising is not an option?
· How can you be a good wife, mother and do your chores when you are also expected to home school?
Then you go on social media and see people who have used lockdown to learn a language, start a business, do loads of charity work as well as raising four kids and running a multi-million-pound business.
It all becomes too much. We become disillusioned, overwhelmed and start to doubt our own abilities and achievements.
Take a step back and breathe.
Be kind to yourself
It’s time to be kind to yourself.
Being kind to yourself isn’t just about self-care which I dealt with in a previous blog, but about taking time to be kind to yourself.
I’m not going to add to your stress by telling a lot of things you ‘should’ do, instead I am going to ask you a series of questions.
· If a friend came to you and told you she was feeling the way you do – like she can’t do enough, she is overwhelmed, she is stressed and anxious – what would you say to her? Do you say the same things to yourself?
· Do you say ‘well done’ to yourself for your achievements? Do you celebrate the mini wins?
· Do you honestly believe that the ‘highlights’ on social media represent reality?
· When you compare yourself to others are you comparing people in the exact same position as you? Are you in fact comparing apples and oranges?
· Do you stress about the small things more than anyone else? Does anyone else in your house care if the vacuuming isn’t done or you have take-out for dinner as you didn’t have time to cook?
· If your friend or mother decided to take a day for herself would you think she was lazy? Should she feel guilty that she needs time to relax?
Being kind to yourself is just as essential to your mental health as food and water are to your physical well-being.
By re-framing your thoughts, emotions and actions as if they were done by someone else may help you stop the negative self-talk where you convince yourself to feel guilty for not achieving something you have convinced yourself you must achieve.
Be as kind to yourself as you try to be to your friends, family and loved ones. You could be surprised at the change it nurtures in you.