How to cope postlockdown
To say that this year has been a rollercoaster is an understatement. Almost seven months ago we first became aware of Covid-19 in China. Little did we know of the devastating effects that would unfold in the U.K as well as worldwide.
Certainly we could not foresee the impact it would have on our way of life. In March 2020 we were given the frightening message to stay at home and save lives. To the best of our abilities we hunkered down, fearfully attempting to protect ourselves from the unseen danger, the corona virus.
Now we are being urged to leave our homes, to get back to work, to get the economy going. There is also a yearning to reconnect with family and friends, to travel further than the local supermarket or park, to do something novel.
It means changing our habits. It means going beyond the safety of home and still protecting ourselves. The situation has improved but it is fluid and we still need to take precautions.
It’s not surprising that we are stressed as we face ongoing adjustments and instructions.
How do we deal with uncertainty?
In the face of the unknown we feel uneasy and on edge. Our brain is constantly assessing, predicting and reacting. This leaves us feeling exhausted.
In usual or bygone times, future plans benefited us by keeping us positive and engaged. Planning an event, project or holiday could be as energising and exciting as the experience itself. Planning now seems tricky.
Acceptance of uncertainty can help us to manage how we respond and adapt our planning.
Three things can be useful:
- Having different time horizons. Planning for something in a year’s time/ 18 months/ 3 years – this allows you to bring something forward or push it back depending on updated information.
- Considering different futures i.e different projects or scenarios. Depending on new information you could switch from one to the other.
- Getting diverse perspectives from trusted friends or colleagues. Particularly if your tolerance of uncertainty is low, connect with those of a higher tolerance to get their input.
Our threat system ensures that we stay alive; there is a saying “eat lunch or be lunch”. As hunter gatherers we would run from a predator and if we survived, we would live to eat. If not, we were lunch.
As we try to get out into the wider world, our threat system is highly activated. As individuals we have different coping responses depending on our personalities and our past experience.
Three things can be useful:
- Give yourself time to adjust. Gradual change will build up your ability and your confidence.
- Remember that in the past you faced personal challenges and you coped and adapted.
- Get support from others. This could be family, friends or employer.
Although we don’t have control over the bigger picture, there are some areas which we can influence or control. We can choose how to respond.
Remember to be kind to yourself as we face the challenges of this next phase. Hold on to the insights you gained from lockdown and the values you hold.
If you would like a pdf on Top Ten Tips for coping or you’d like a conversation with me, then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.