Anxiety in lockdown
I wake up, it's 6.30 am. It's calm and eerily quiet. I go downstairs to make my coffee. The dog is stirring on her bed as I put the kettle on. I love to enjoy my morning coffee in the lounge, it's one of the simple things I really enjoy. I open the patio curtains but it's still dark. It looks like either snow or a heavy frost but I can't be sure. I love the morning with a whole day ahead of me to enjoy but then I remember it's lockdown.
This horrible feeling descends upon me. I sit staring outside into the darkness at the reality of our lives. The horror and the fear. I feel sick... is this real, this nightmare, or am I ill and imagining this? Am I in some bad dream, the ones I had as a child and teenager where I couldn't wake up.
I panic... am I actually a real person or have I slipped away and am now in spirit? I have the same feeling as I did when I had my car accident nearly 40 years ago where I remember feeling the sun, the warmth and there was this tunnel that I was travelling towards. It was peaceful and I was floating and all seemed fine until I felt this almost thud as you called my name. It was horrible and the pain was terrible and I floated away again... until I awoke in hospital ... I was alive... a miracle I feel certain. I never took life for granted after that experience. One minute I was singing on the way to Cornwall to see a friend and the next in a hospital.
I sip my coffee to ground myself, trying to make sense of the uncertainty in our lives and I try so hard to understand about the numbers of victims from the pandemic. The numbers don't seem real either and I feel confused that they appear as numbers rather than people. I think of people I know and those that didn't make it. How awful, how frightening. You aren't with us now... but with me in my memory. I feel sad and helpless. Powerless in fact. I think about what one can control and I realise apart from my breakfast and further meals very little else. I challenge myself on taking control of those simple things and decide to not listen or watch the news.
I think about anxiety and how for some people it's controlling their lives and I think on my work with clients both past and present and for those with anxiety I wonder how they feel. it's not easy for anyone and we all have stories to tell of how lockdown has affected us. It's challenging but one must survive.
I think the main life experience that I learnt that I pass on to my friends and clients is that there is no need for perfection in any area. If we can muddle our way through this and simply survive then perhaps we have done well. If we can take off the pressure of how we should be we can lower our anxiety.
I remember back to my sales training many years back and I recall the targets that one had to achieve. My boss said to tell my staff they were 'a stretch' but achievable. I reflect on the effect the stress and anxiety of achieving high revenue put on the body and I wonder what effect it had on the break-up of my marriage, but I can't answer that, it's just that it all seems so ridiculous now... pointless in fact.
What was I doing? Was it that I felt important for that time? I wouldn't do that now of course but I can't go back in time. I then start to think of Doctor Who and his Tardis. He was good in his day, my younger years and if I had a Tardis to go back in time... I daydream.
Moving forwards anxiety needs to be managed and if we can all get through this never ending isolating experience of lockdown away from our family and friends maybe when we come out into normality again some of our anxiety hopefully will fade away, but then new challenges will present themselves of course. Getting back into our lives again may not be easy.
Perhaps it's fair to say that life presents challenges and actually is uncertain. We just didn't see that before. Perhaps acceptance that life is a gift and that there never were any guarantees is the way to look at this, a new mindset is needed. We must live in the moment for tomorrow may not be ours.
If we can use acceptance, it takes away the pressure of anxiety. We can let it go, never has there been a better time to practice living simply in the moment.
I feel back in the driving seat and ready to tackle the day. I can't wait for a walk but as I leave the house there's a wind factor of minus four and it's not quite as I thought it would be... it won't be a long walk, but then we can try later... perhaps the wind may die down... I turn back after a short walk and the dog with her winter jacket on seems relieved. So much for 10.000 steps. That's for another day, but I could do a dance workout and follow the amazing South American instructor on YouTube. I did try yesterday and I loved the salsa but I couldn't help thinking I didn't quite look like you! I must get some new workout gear... but then it's not about how one looks.
I decide to have another coffee and make plans to spring clean. I seem to have had a lot of those. This is certainly a lesson for us all to live simply. The summer lockdown seemed easier as I remember but then It was sunny weather and most of us could get our quota of vitamin D which was the thing to do.
In summary, if we can focus simply on living in the moment and using acceptance we can start to manage anxiety. It's very freeing in fact. I always encourage my clients to use positive mindsets and to create a simple space in their home which can be a calm place. A space for you.
I bought a wonderful bunch of lemon roses and the fresh energy they bring to the table is priceless. Spring will be with us in a month or so and it will no doubt bring us all hope. Let's focus on what we do have and think how lucky we are to have the gift of life. If we can truly focus on this then our anxiety will start to fade... let it blow away... it's just thoughts.