Tag Archives: post-lockdown

Life after lockdown. *An Uncluttered Mind – From Mess to Rest*.

I’m enjoying a beautiful view of the city as I type. What started out as a grey and rainy day has given way to sunshine and blue skies, and as I write I can see cars stream along the motorway bridge, and in the far distance I can see hills, tall flats, church spires and dark green leafy trees.

Above the pale blue there are a few cotton candy like white clouds, and above them some heavy grey clouds moving slowly across the sky, giving glimmers of hope through gaps from which blue skies and sunshine can be seen.

After some days of rain, it is a comfort to see the sun and shadows shine through my windows, making patterns with light and shade on my wooden living room floor.

The steady stream of traffic makes me wonder where people are coming from and going to, although it is not overly busy. This scene in itself, in my peaceful, newly tidied living room with a glimpse of the outside world is beguiling in its simplicity.

We are still living in uncertain and unsettling times. Every time I watch or read the news I see more information about the pandemic that we are living through. I hear of tensions in the world with regards to upcoming elections, misuse of power, racism and injustice and suffering and anxiety about the future as children go back to schools, as we approach autumn and winter time and people fear for a ‘second wave’ of the pandemic getting above the capacity to manage it.

We’ve probably all become familiar in these times with the concept of focusing on what is within our locus of control. Initially writing about life post-lockdown, I am now writing during a time of some restrictions being reinstated in my city due to new outbreaks, and elsewhere in the UK there are local lockdowns.

This past week I have been using my time at home while I await updates from work, to do a big home declutter and reorganisation. I’m glad for the time to do it because otherwise things always seem to wait for another day. For motivation I’ve been watching some programmes on You Tube about hoarding, decluttering, and deep cleaning and organisation.

Just as with clearing out our homes, we need to take time to clear our minds of clutter, and unhelpful thoughts and thinking patterns, and unsurprisingly the state of our immediate environment can affect our inner state in terms of our emotions, thoughts and outlook on life.

While in this pandemic there is a lot that we can’t control, things that we need to look at through the lens of Faith, there are things in our immediate surroundings that we can do to help us to gain more clarity of mind, peace in our surroundings in our homes as we spend more time there and giving ourselves the chance to reflect and consider how to move forwards in our individual lives and to seek out creative solutions. When we are burdened by the clutter around us, we won’t feel as free to think, reflect, solve problems, create, or grow.

And just as in the process of decluttering, tidying and making things beautiful, we face phases of having to look at the mess, sort through and make decisions on what is important enough to keep or discard, and finding a place for each thing in order to simplify our lives and promote wellbeing by reducing stress as our lives become more ordered in our environments, we also go through similar processes as we sort through and process our thoughts and experiences.

So whatever uncertainties you may be facing in this pandemic, and in life in general just now, perhaps you can take a fresh look at what is within the realm of your control, and what steps you can take to change things for the better. A practical first step is to look at your living space and ease the load off yourself by getting things in order, and creating spaces that free you up to do things you enjoy and pursue creativity and seek peace and relaxation during this unsettling time in the world.

If you need help with this, I have several posts in my section on Home and Lifestyle that can help to get you started and avoid feeling overwhelmed. While we spend more time in our homes this year, where possible, let’s try to make some changes for the better that will help us to move forwards with greater clarity of mind, and less anxiety in our hearts. x

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LIFE AFTER LOCKDOWN – *Avoid the comparison trap*.

*Avoid the comparison trap*.

Remember ‘JOMO’? The phrase (the ‘Joy Of Missing Out’) coined to counter FOMO (‘Fear Of Missing Out’)?

Well, you might need to keep it handy so that you can bring it to mind in the days and weeks to come. While lockdown was somewhat of a leveller in that we all were made to stay indoors, it also brought to the fore some disparities between people’s experiences with a varying spectrum of health, wealth, work, care, family, social, ideological, and other issues. It’s been nice to see people finding a level of common ground despite varying experiences, and for communities to try to bridge the gaps to some extent. However, the differences in our experiences of life in lockdown may also have brought about divergences in friendships and relationships when for example people no longer have the same common ground that they once did socially to connect with each other. It’s worth reminding ourselves that everyone has been trying to make it through as best as they can through their own unique experiences, and remembering this will help us to manage our expectations and avoid disappointment. Lockdown may have strengthened and deepened some of our relationships and friendships, while others might have come under strain, broken down, stagnated or drifted away.

And here we all are gradually leaving that part of our experience behind. This is where the phrase ‘JOMO’ might come in handy, at least as a temporary measure to help you, and for you to help others, to navigate this transition. Why? Because people will be emerging from the past four months of lockdown with potentially very different stories to tell. Some may have flourished, others may have held on, and there are those who have broken down. You might have enjoyed more time with your family or more time to yourself, or you may be struggling financially, grieving, feeling neglected or lonely, facing job loss or uncertainty with the end of furlough, or be wrestling with mental health issues and broken relationships or exhaustion, or whatever your experience may be. You might have been able to use all of your mixed experiences as opportunities to grow or you may not have overcome the challenges quite yet. At times like this other people’s stories, media, social media, news, magazines and the internet in general, can potentially become a stumbling block or a difficult place to navigate, so just remember that you’re never seeing the full story of other people’s lives.

I personally find a wonderful perspective in this: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn”.

Try to remember that, as well as bringing to mind the joy of missing out, and deepen any other life lessons you’ve had the opportunity to learn in lockdown when you begin to see and hear of people’s experiences of life after lockdown.

If you’re doing great, well or getting through, then I rejoice with you, and am glad for you. If you are struggling and can barely make it through the day, try to prepare yourself to avoid the comparison trap when you begin to see, hear or read of some of the joyful post-lockdown stories in the days and weeks to come. It’s good that people are doing well, and even if you’re in tough spot you can choose to dig deep and learn and grow through it until your brighter days come along.

Don’t forget those simple day-to-day things that you found life in when you were focused on life at home. Try to avoid the temptation to compare, and if you are emerging from this and are doing well, then reach out to others who might not be. ‘JOMO’ – it sounds ridiculous, but it may just have some very useful lessons for us, as sometimes humility with gratitude is the road to ‘happiness’. 😀 

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Life After Lockdown – *Things Haven’t Changed for Everyone*.

*Things haven’t changed for everyone*

Looking for the rainbows through the coronavirus storms, I was encouraged by how many people initially reached out to others who were in need at the start of lockdown. Many of you have been faithfully doing what you can to use your abilities to help and serve other people.

It can be easy to lose sight of that as things change. Many of us have had time to reflect upon the ways in which we don’t want things to go ‘back to normal’. While we are compelled to walk into a ‘new normal’ we also have the opportunity to forge out a better way of living life as a society.

The risk is that as we go back into society, we lose sight of the lessons we have collectively learned about humility, giving, self sacrifice (especially those front line workers who gave up time with their family, even gave their own lives to help others), kindness, compassion and taking time to think and advocate for others.

I’m hoping that we will see a shift in heart attitudes and behaviour. I’m wondering whether we might see some of those positive changes reflected in how we shop and our behaviour collectively at Christmas this year for example. I hope we’ve collectively had a ‘change of heart’, but then we do still contend with the tendencies to hoard (toilet paper?!) and look out mainly for ourselves.

As restrictions ease and many of us will enjoy greater freedoms, it’s good to bear in mind that there are still people for whom things haven’t changed much. People who have been shielding for instance and who don’t feel confident enough to risk their own health by going out, people who may have had more contact online but don’t have connections in real life and who may become forgotten about once people start ‘getting back to normal’. We’ve learned lessons about prejudice, about vulnerability, about mental health, homelessness and hardships in our society, and had more time than our previous busy lives would have allowed to take it all in. Many of us have cared deeply and tried to do something to help.

Now, however, it can become all too easy to forget. To become self-focused as we get excited perhaps about the things we can do once more. Not everyone will be in that position. While we can’t save the world, we can bring kindness to it. We can be intentional in thinking about those in our friendship groups who won’t have families to connect with, or may have to continue to stay indoors for various reasons. Some may be grieving the loss of loved ones from the coronavirus. We can take time to remember the causes for social justice that we were touched by and patiently, humbly continue to do what is right.

So, to sum it all up, let’s allow the deeper lessons we have learned to stay with us, to take the opportunity to make the ‘new normal’ into a ‘better normal’, and to keep remembering to think of others for whom life will still be hard, and to be kind to ourselves and each other in the process. 

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Life After Lockdown – Think and Plan Ahead.

*Think and plan ahead*.

At this moment in time I am writing while feeling pretty ‘woozy’ 🥴 . I’ve got that feeling of being on a boat that is being rocked side to side by the waves, and while it is getting difficult to concentrate or to keep my equilibrium I have experienced this, and even stronger sensations, so many times that logically I can tell myself that this discomfort will pass, and the waves will be stilled. Peace will return again. In the meantime, I can choose to persevere through it, or let it overwhelm me. Making the right choice takes practice when something is a frequent feature of our lives.

There is a certain amount of discomfort that we will have to learn to adjust to and persevere through in our ‘new normal’ post-lockdown. It will take time, thought, planning and practice to make certain adjustments.

If the ‘world out there’ and the ‘new normal’ all seem a bit overwhelming for some of you, then try to break things down into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Remember that you can only live one day at a time, moment by moment, therefore it won’t benefit you to worry about tomorrow, or the next day, or a year from now. Plan and prepare, but get into the practice of choosing not to worry.

In ‘normal’ (pre-lockdown) life I struggle with sensory overload. I could be standing in a supermarket and the sound of more than one conversation, or music playing, or people walking past can throw my wee brain out of kilter! It’s the same with most situations for me, so I’ve had to learn to cope and adapt and it is an ongoing challenge. Maybe you don’t have to experience things like that in your day to day life, but perhaps the adjustments of a world post-lockdown feel unsettling to you and make you feel a bit muddled yourself (you’d be in good company 😉 ). If so, try thinking ahead, planning for the different situations you might encounter, take some time to read and think about what some of the new legal requirements are (such as being aware that non-compliance regarding the use of face masks in certain situations will result in a hefty fine in some places) so that you won’t be caught off guard. Keep the essentials handy (face masks, hand sanitizers, etc) until the ‘new normal’ becomes part of your normal.

And if anxiety about life post-lockdown feels like something you don’t have to worry about, then that is great, but recognise that there may be people all around you who will struggle or feel overwhelmed, so try to help and encourage them.

Having a bit of a mental ‘road map’ will help you prepare for the situations you might face and help you adjust to what might at the moment be making you feel uncomfortable, uncertain (or ‘woozy’! 😉 ).

And remember, when all is said and done, we can each only live one day at a time, so don’t take on the mental and emotional burdens of unknown tomorrows, even as you plan ahead. 

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