Moving from fear to freedom
Our lives have been changed by the 2020 pandemic, and in this short article, I am going to focus on how we can move through what has, and continues to be, a scary, alienating and disorienting time for us all.
As human beings, we are naturally social, yet in the past months, socialising and reaching out to others is often forbidden or highly restricted, and this has undoubtedly had an effect on our well-being, both personally, and as a nation. The sense of a 'lack of freedom', of the inability to live within the societal norms we have always known is, of course, profoundly disorientating. Perhaps, this is where we can pause, for a moment and think and reflect on health and well-being.
In a social sense, friends and family are often unavailable, both in the geographical sense because of travel restrictions and because of regional and national lockdowns, and this can lead to a real sense of isolation; of alienation from our selves as connected human beings.
Our sense of 'making sense' of our world has been impacted. However, it is vitally important that we do reach out and connect in this time; that we do not allow ourselves to be swamped by media focus on the pandemic; that we take time to 'check-in' with ourselves about how we feel and to reconnect to a sense of normality: for there is normality in this time though it can be difficult to experience it.
We may also be feeling stuck with people we do not get on with and have experienced changes in our relationships.
Being 'locked down' or in a 'bubble' has profound connotations for us all, yet - in a deeply ironic way perhaps - we have never been more linked up in a common human experience in shared silent isolation.
Understandably, the focus is on keeping ourselves safe, of avoiding contagion as in the wearing of masks. We have to think about our safety, having always taken for granted that we are safe. Wearing a mask hides us from one another. Language and facial expression are impacted. So perhaps we need to remember that, behind the masks - there we are; just as we were before. Ordinary human beings living, as best we can, through an extraordinary time in history: let us focus mindfully on wellness.
Nature is very healing and we need to make time to connect with our Earth in simple, gentle ways that remind us that the seasons are changing; that our lives carry on despite the pandemic and the restrictions imposed on us. Being furloughed or working from home brings uncertainty, fear and isolation and so again, I say that we need to ensure that we take care of ourselves in an organic sense.
Even if we live in a city with little recourse to green open spaces, we can bring the natural world indoors with us by simple things, like nurturing plants, taking walks and looking up at the sky and the clouds, focusing on calmness. Look at the birds flying, the clouds passing, the things that make our world what it is. It is our home and we are part of it, intrinsically linked to nature in everything we do. It is okay to feel scared; this will pass, as all things do.
It is okay to feel uncertain; this too will pass, for everything changes and we need to remain mindful that this is a part of our lives and not the whole of our lives.
I titled this short article 'Moving from fear to freedom' and by this, I mean, moving in an inner mindful sense from fear to acceptance, which in time will lead to a sense of freedom within. We may feel that we are powerless at this time, like flotsam and jetsam being moved to and fro by government and science, so it is vital that we re-own our own sense of autonomy as human beings. We can do this by remaining calm in a world that can, at times, feel uncertain and perhaps frightening.
Mindfulness is really just simple awareness, now called 'mindfulness' because when we take time to emotionally 'breathe', we do so with an awareness that this is something intrinsically good for us.
We cannot go back to the way that things were but we can remain true to ourselves, look after ourselves and make certain of our own psychological well-being. Staying connected really is important, so reach out to people you know - in this age of technology, it has never been easier.
If you need to talk about your feelings, reach out to a counsellor. There is a misconception, almost a taboo attached to seeing a counsellor and yet, counselling is about talking and being heard. Every counsellor will have had their own therapy and knows what it is like to be a client. Ultimately, counselling is about being ourselves and having space to explore our feelings with another non-judgemental person; someone who accepts us for who we are. Every one of us, as individuals, are the experts on our own life experience. Counsellors are simply there with us on the journey.
There are times in all of our lives when we may feel desperate in some way or lost and confused. This is part of the human experience. If you do want to talk to a counsellor, be mindful that counselling does not necessarily involve months of sessions; sometimes just a few are really useful for grounding us and letting go of feelings. It's good to talk and we all deserve to be heard.
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