THE AIM OF THE ARTICLE
In this article we want to show and give you:
How to create a solid routine to survive lockdown.
The importance of your own mental health during lockdown.
Enable you to normalise and accept your emotions during this period.
Teach a really powerful way to get rid of negative thoughts and limiting beliefs.
So, the world would appear to be in a downwards spiral and if we are not careful, we can find ourselves going straight to panic and anxiety where we will quickly find ourselves in a place where we can’t recover from. Yes, I 1 million per cent agree what is going on and what is happening is nothing short of an anomaly, a once in a life time never been seen or experienced virus that has taken not only you and me by surprise but the entire world. Every continent, every country and every home nation is experiencing uncertainty and anxiety about the current situation and the future like never before. I would stop short at saying it’s the end of life as we know it, in fact the very opposite, you see in life everything is seen through experience and we respond to the environment at times and forget the reality. With so many dooms day outlooks in the media and press we can get quickly triggered and get caught up in a world of uncertain emotions. My first question would be this, what if we could pause for a moment and take stock, see things differently, feel things differently and not get swept away with anxiety and fear. This blog is designed exactly for that. To allow you to stop, hold and go again as it were with a whole fresh perspective on things. Some of the things we will show you and ask you to do may at first seem small but they are designed to have a massive impact on your mental health and keep you level, focused and away from anxiety and that dreaded fear you try so hard to avoid.
We have spoken about the different types of anxiety previously and I want to add a new category to already established labels, this is called situational anxiety and that’s what most people will be experiencing right now. It’s your normal level of anxiety gone in to over drive because of the situation you find yourself in. Let’s be honest no one in the history of being told to calm down and relax has ever calmed down and relaxed so we won’t be telling you to do that in fact far from it. We can use your situational anxiety to stay safe, protected and very functional, so that’s exactly what we are going to do and there’s no better time to get started than right now.
Nothing in you is broken, situational anxiety is in fact an everyday occurrence and you will have dealt with it a million times before, do you remember when you sat your driving test for example, had a job interview or spoke to someone for the first time ever, See what I mean think back to those times and how you felt, that nervous, worried anxious feeling, in fact the same feeling as you are having right now but before when it went away this time it stays, and if we are not careful it will just develop in to a pattern and a habit and it will still be around long after COVID-19 has gone or been dealt with. So how do we change the world and what’s happening in it to suit our emotional needs, wants and desires. The first part I need you to understand is you don’t, you change your emotions, wants and needs to suit what’s happening, i.e. you bend and change because the world won’t. We have to adapt a different outlook and mindset and if you followed the methods, we have provided you will have all the ability in the world to do so. Firstly however we have to accept and understand when something of this severity and scales comes calling it is NORMAL and ACCEPTABLE to experience situational anxiety, no you’re not broken, no you’re not damaged and YES you can change the dynamics and be fully in control of how you react. You are perfectly normal feeling how you feel.
Human behaviour and why so many are so selfish: A lot has to be said about how people have initially reacted and undoubtedly will continue to react in a time where we should be showing more love care and compassion to everyone involved, from people fighting in supermarkets to ignoring the elderly and vulnerable and pretending they don’t exists. Think about it like this pretty much from day one in life your taught self-preservation and selfishness, by parents by siblings and by school. let me explain, let’s take doing shoelaces for example, so many people will show and teach children a few times and then say things like, well no one is going to do it for you, yes the theory behind that is to make them proactive but on a subconscious level we then understand that we must take care of ourselves as no one else will, schools are the same everything is sit alone at your desk, don’t help each other with your work and the exams are the same no team work, no help, just you yourself doing it all, in fact if we look back at life everything we are taught at a very early development age is to be alone, is to look after ourselves and do it as no one else will do it for us. That’s just basic human behaviour coming out that was taught to us at a very early age. Yes, it is selfish and rude and ignorant but that’s what they have taken and learned from life. The good news on that score is for everyone who has evolved and learned how to work as a team and help outnumber the selfish ones. Do not get angry, do not confront, please remember they are so focused on their self at that moment in time they will just switch to defence and frustration that they are being called on the behaviour and that in turn can lead in to anger and aggression. Feel nothing but sorrow for these types of people. Maybe one day when this is all over and they have time to reflect they will look back in shame at the behaviour they have displayed. You on the other hand keep being you and that is all we can ask for, because by being you, you bring a little bit of light in to a dark situation and 1000 lights take away any darkness. The country has shown time and time again in the face of adversity it can unite and come out the other side, if you need inspiration simply look at any hospital in the country and look at the work rate and the sacrifices of the nurses and doctors and care staff going above and beyond to make sure the medical facilities remain open and doing everything they can. I myself take care hope and inspiration from these people and use that every day to try and match their sacrifices and work rate. Trust me when I tell you regardless of what opinions you have of the NHS and the system as it were, we really do have the best and most amazing doctors and nurses and care staff anywhere in the world, truly inspirational.
Thought v Reality: So many thoughts coming from everywhere and anywhere and they can be so over powering. Remember what we say
Feelings=behaviours and actions
It really is a waste of time to try and just change how you behave in this world, that’s the final step and when you understand the words=thoughts=feelings=behaviour pattern you will understand how important right now words are, The media have a job to do and I fully understand that, I also understand they have ratings and subscriptions to fill so it has almost turned in to a who can make the situation sound worst environment when it comes to media, again I take you straight back to the thought v fact exercise we covered in the book in a previous chapter, how many times haver the media inflated headlines to grab attention, that’s what they do, unfortunately it seems like they have no comprehension of the wide spread panic and fear they are creating in the long run. The words they use strike fear in to the very heart of even the strongest human beings. Every conversation you hold seems to be about the same subject and I fully understand why, but remember this, to get something you haven’t got, you have to do something you haven’t done, and that’s change the frequency you watch the news or read the headlines, this is rife on social media and so many people have no deactivated it because of the fear and anxiety it creates. So starting today, make sure you change the tune as it were, if people start a conversation about COVID-19, simply smile and say not today, heard enough of that and lets change the subject, so what is in store for you today?, what are you filling your time with?, are you reading or watching anything exciting these days?, ask anything you like about life, talk about what your plans are when this has subsided, talk about how you are slowing the speed of life down talk about the cats whiskers if you so wish but change the tune, that changes the words and the rest will follow.
Self-isolation: So one of the great things about serving in the military and as a private contractor was you spend so long on your own in the middle of nowhere you become a self-isolation expert, looking back I can freely recall a three month period in Kandahar Afghanistan where I spoke no word of English for almost 12 weeks, only communicating via email to the bosses in Dubai as the entire work force spoke only Dari or Pashto, so one word can sum up the ultimate survival guide to self-isolation.
This is what will keep you sane and on point, active and proactive at the same time, you see with self-isolation we have two options, Netflix and chill or routine and active, no before any one freaks I don’t mean get up and run up and down the stairs to hit the recommended 10,000 steps a day active, we are going to look at the physical aspect in a moment but what I really refer to is your mind. Think about it like this for a second, if you go to jail in the UK and you break the rules they put you in solitary confinement or isolation as some call it, why well its simple really from the beginning of time human behaviour studies have shown that if you have any form of worry, anxiousness fear, doubt etc etc if you are left alone for long periods of time those thoughts will being it stir, they will then lead to confusion, sadness even more worry and then the end result is that well known saying stir crazy, see my point. Now yes, we have been put in isolation but again it’s not the time that will hurt its not what you do with it either it’s all about what you DON’T do with it. Your mind is a muscle and it needs daily exercise, it needs stimulation, it needs engaging and to be kept active otherwise all the negative thoughts will simply stir round and round again. Lesson one, don’t focus on the problem it can’t be changed, look for the solution, for example what would make the days go quicker, one of the best ways to kill time is to read, ok so you don’t read, audio book, ok so you don’t like audio books, write, ok so you don’t like writing, eLearn, study, learn a new skill, an instrument for example, I manage to learn guitar in 12 weeks from scratch no I am no van Halen but I can hold a tune with it all the same and its relaxing its therapeutic, it calms me. So, you see for everything you don’t like there will be something you do like, use the time to be proactive, set aside 2 hours every day if possible, to learn something new or do something you really enjoy. If you have children think outside the box, for example log on to zoo camera live every zoo has them and they can spend time watching them, you don’t need to give them iPad and hope they are quiet, use the time to learn and bond and enjoy. Make being indoors fun for them, that will really fill your days. Routine is vital, wake up every day do the affirmation, set breakfast up shower, do your chosen skill, lunch will be on you before you know it and then duplicate it in the afternoon. Hit the hay at the same time each day get in to that routine, how many times have you complained you didn’t get enough sleep, well knows the time to put that right. Without routine we become chaotic and manic and before you know it you are two stone heavier and complaining about your weight and how unhappy it makes you and the circle of negativity continues you see. I fully understand with young children it is very hard to do and establish that, but it is something you have done in the past so make all the effort to make it happen again. I am not going to bang on about how important it is to keep active because stuck in doors that can be difficult but I must mention the importance of doing something if possible each and every day, with so many resources available to us in our own home you really don’t need to turn in to a overweight nightmare you dread becoming, simply walking up and down your steps a few times when the kids are down will do, moving furniture around will also bur the calories if you have been meaning to change things up you have time on your hands so let’s keep the momentum moving and do what we can when we can, remember no one else will do it for you.
The importance of escape, if only for a moment: I honestly can’t stress enough the importance of this chapter, imagine being at work 24hrs a day every day without a break, your mind would explode. It’s the very same with the current situation, no I am no diminishing its importance, I get it, I fully get it but remember what we are trying to achieve here and that’s to keep you anxiety levels low and your mental health levels up, only by taking a break, catching our breath and recovering can we build up enough resistance to go again and this has to happen every day without fail it’s the biggest thing I will ask you.
social media off,
sit and just escape in to your own powerful mind for 10-15 mins a day almost like a self-reflection, when you reflect ask yourself, have I done everything I could to stay on top, where can I improve, what can I change tomorrow and just enjoy the silence of your mind for 10-15 mins. If you really struggle think back to how we challenge and remove those negative thoughts and how peaceful we can make our own mind. You see in life we all have choices and in fact you make 100s of different ones today the choice you are faced with now is do I fight back on the situational anxiety I am suffering or the increased anxiety or do I let it win. You see anxiety is like a young pup, if we allow it to control us and to lead us it will run straight in to the road and we are in trouble, but if we pull in tight control and move we remain safe, in control and in a much better place.
Improvise- Adapt- Overcome: This method of living your life has proven to be outstanding at every level to the highest business person in the world to the person who is still in education facing exams and life in general. Do not make rock solid must have practices and plans for the next while, have them in place but become so adept to changing them that it becomes second nature. The situation is changing day by day even hour by hour, so we need your mind set to be the same. Yes it’s frustrating you can’t have a night out or go for a lunch or dinner, yes it’s frustrating that have you to lock yourself away from the world for a period of time but you have to learn you cannot control the environment or the situation you find yourself in at this moment and time, what you can do is improvise, adapt to it and by the end of it you will still be standing as it were. One way is no way but when you have 100 different ways you always get to the end. The aim here during this time is to be flexible and think on your feet day to day and not get bogged down in the what you don’t have or what you can’t do. You are asking the wrong question. The question should be what I have and what can be achieved with this time I have been given. I would love to sit here and tell you why this has happened to our society, but I am no expert and don’t claim to be in COVID-19. What I do know is if you follow these set of guidelines you have a really good chance of coming out the other side as strong if not stronger than you went in to it. The saying your now is not your forever has never been truer and it must be kept in the back of your mind day in day out while we face this current situation. Having said all that one thing, I have to stress is no flexibility in the rules for keeping safe and healthy during this time. Please follow every rule as stated by the NHS and stick to them. Time after time life has thrown adversary at us as a nation and as a country and we have always, and I have no doubt will always rise again. If you are in a position to help please do and don’t worry about those who won’t, that is for them to live with afterwards but you can come out the other end with you heads held high knowing you did everything right, remained flexible and gave it your all. You are to strong to be beaten, you are to wise to be brought to your knees and you simply as just amazing. I will leave you with this saying by the poet Rudyard Kipling
” If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, if you can trust yourself when everyone else doubts and if you can wait and not be tired of waiting yours is the earth and everything in it”
Stay safe, keep you focus, and every day is a new day