The start of the new year has been bleak, there’s no doubt about it. Despite a Brexit deal and the arrival of the vaccine, 2021has fizzled into existence, dragging us reluctantly with it.
Hopes, plans and resolutions have been destroyed – or certainly put on hold. The news agenda doesn’t look set to change either with schools closing and the threat of a full lock down on Wednesday.
We have all had different experiences over the past 12 months. While I am not in any way diminishing the impact the virus has had on many – death, grief, serious illness, loss of income and loneliness – the narrative that 2020 was a “terrible year” and that we are all “suffering” is suffocating for those who are perhaps not thriving – certainly constrained and possibly struggling – but not paralyzed with despair.
The trouble with this narrative is that it is as virulent and contagious as the virus itself; it’s growing in strength and it pulls you down, diminishes innovation, creativity and possibility and increases lethargy and anxiety.
If you are struggling to breathe under this heavy blanket of pessimism, I’d ask you to look for the light.
It’s important to acknowledge the impact of lock down – freedoms of all kinds are curtailed; those living by themselves face a long, lonely week; working at home with children or flatmates requires tolerance, flexibility and compromise, your usual structures – the office, going to the gym, meeting friends for dinner, holidays – aren’t available to you now.
How does this affect you? What emotions does this lockdown provoke? Where are you struggling? What are you grieving? What worked and didn’t for you first time around – what would you do differently now?
I would urge you to imagine the next three or four months are an opportunity that you will probably never have the chance to experience again. How can you make the most of this time? What do you have to be grateful for? What can you learn? What can you achieve? What’s realistic? How can you grow?
For me, I now have three children at home now, one of whom has special needs and none of whom can access remote learning entirely independently. I had exciting plans for my business, which I will have to prioritise – without using lockdown as an excuse for not doing them at all. I have to prepare against life becoming a relentless sequence of cooking, supervising children, a bit of work, washing and cleaning. I’m going to write a diary – something I really regret not doing last time – read more fiction, do yoga daily, control the amount of social media I consume and be more conscious of my focus.
If you’d like to talk about how you can turn lockdown into a positive, productive, constructive experience, please get in touch for a complementary consultation.