How many times have you heard, read, or been told that you should use this time of lockdown or social distancing to your advantage? It is time to let your creative juices flow and create an amazing business idea or go full steam ahead with developing a career change idea that you have been mulling over for the last two years. It would make sense, wouldn’t it? Many of us suddenly have some spare time on our hands and should be using it to our advantage to create and finish projects.
So why are many of us struggling to do this? Why do many people find the days drifting? Why are all those projects you were going to get on with still waiting for completion? We are finding ourselves doing the bare minimum required to get through the day.
I was talking to someone recently about this and they mentioned the Allostatic Load. I had not heard of this so immediately researched it and, yes, it all made sense. It is all about the wear and tear on our bodies over time caused by repeated exposure to stress and we are certainly experiencing a lot of exposure to stress at the moment. The list is endless: illness, family concerns, demands of being a keyworker, home schooling, furlough, redundancy, working from home, closed businesses and financial concerns. The stress accumulates and we move into fight or flight mode. No matter what your circumstances, every day you are being exposed to some stress caused by the uncertainty of life at the moment.
In uncertain times, it is important to be kind to yourself and do whatever is needed to make you feel a little better. Your mind is having to cope with a lot of uncertainty and so it may not have the capacity to be coming up with amazing ideas for the future in your life and your career.
Instead, focus a little on the five areas of well-being. Although, these can be a challenge to fulfil at the moment given social distancing measures, it may be worth having a think about them again when you feel able and finding small ways to fulfil them:
- Be active – going for walks will keep you active and give you some headspace.
- Mindfulness – can you allocate a part of the day either during a walk or otherwise to notice what is going on around you? It may be simply looking up at the clouds or the stars. You may prefer to listen to music.
- Learning – you may struggle to think about learning at the moment. However, learning can simply involve reading a short article, a book or talking to someone and finding out more about them.
- Contribution – Could you take 5 minutes to message someone and ask how they are?
- Connections – Social distancing has changed the way we currently connect with people. We are using videos which can be overwhelming. If the visual is too much, simply write a letter or message to someone. Perhaps get in touch with a friend who you haven’t spoken to for years.
It is all about little steps at the moment. Manage your expectations and give your mind and body time to process what is going on in the world around us.