How are you doing with lockdown 3.0?
During the first lockdown in March 2020, we never imagined that almost a year later in February 2021 we’d still be living under lockdown rules. This was supposed to be temporary, right? Initially we thought this craziness would last four weeks, maybe eight or perhaps twelve at a push. Never in our wildest dreams (or nightmares!) did we think we’d be where we are right now.
And, in all honesty, it’s probably a good thing that we didn’t know what was coming!
The conversations that I’m having with clients, friends and family are telling me that this is the toughest lockdown yet.
We’re burnt out. Frustrated. Angry. Exhausted. We’ve had enough. We don’t want to do this anymore. All the evidence is pointing to the fact that we’re handling lockdown 3.0 very differently to how we did back in spring 2020.
A different mindset
In lockdown number one our approach was very different. None of us had ever experienced anything like it before and there was a feeling of ‘this isn’t going to be forever,’ ‘it’s only temporary,’ ‘we’re all in this together.’ There was a kind of wartime spirit binding us all together.
We jumped on line to interact with our friends and family. There were Zoom quizzes happening most nights, virtual dinner parties, we logged on to house party and TikTok and had virtual Friday night prosecco chats with our besties, even though we knew it wasn’t quite the same.
We rushed to get outdoors to exercise, quite literally got on our bikes, and Joe Wicks became a national treasure. We baked banana bread by the truckload and channelled our inner Mary Berry.
Fast forward to now
Fast forward ten months and we’ve started to accept this new way of living. It’s just how things are right now and we’ve adapted. We’ve had to. We hit January, which was meant to signal a new year, a new start and it’s all gone a bit Pete Tong quite frankly. Infection rates are through the roof, we’ve got new variants of the virus and many find themselves furloughed again.
It’s understandable that we might be asking ourselves ‘why bother to get out of bed?’
The first thing to tell you is you are not the only one feeling like this. Not by a long shot.
Results released in January from a Covid-19 Social Study conducted by University College London found that many of the participants viewed this lockdown very differently to the one in spring 2020.
A staggering 40% of people said that they were exercising less than during the first lockdown, with 36% participating less in arts and crafts. In contrast 34% were working more than they did in lockdown one and 19% more were spending their time watching TV and gaming. The study also revealed that levels of anxiety and depression had worsened since the summer.
Wow. That’s pretty sobering stuff.
What's different about this lockdown?
Well, quite a few things. Let’s tackle the obvious one, the weather.
This lockdown has hit us at the height of winter. It’s cold, dark and depressing out there and there’s far less daylight to enjoy compared to the spring lockdown. January is traditionally one of the bleakest months of the year. The festive season is over and things tend to look a bit drearier than they do in December.
Add in the fact that we’ve already spent the whole of November in lockdown and many of us went straight into tier four, meaning that Christmas was essentially cancelled. That’s a lot to deal with. And that was before we even started the January lockdown. When you look at it like that, it’s no wonder that we’re finding this lockdown tougher. We’re fatigued. We’ve done this before. We’re totally over it.
This lockdown doesn’t really feel ‘temporary’ in the way that the spring lockdown did either. We’ve started to accept this as our way of living and many of us have stopped doing the things that helped us get through lockdown number one.
We’re not exercising as much or eating as well. We’re not connecting with our friends and family as much as we were in the first lockdown. Many of us are spending so much of our day on Zoom for work that we’re pretty much Zoomed out. We’re trying to adapt to the concept of working from home and balancing the needs of our businesses with all the constant changes and challenges that the pandemic is throwing at us.
To add even more stress to the mix, I know that many of you are dealing with the challenges of home schooling too. In theory there should be more time available being ‘stuck’ at home, but in reality, time is eaten up even more by trying to keep our businesses afloat and the demands of family life. If we do want to try and get ourselves or our family outside for some daily exercise, we’re usually out of daylight by the time the working day is over anyway.
In the first lockdown lots of companies were doing weekly ‘check ins’ with their staff over Zoom to see how people were coping. That seems to have disappeared now. There’s no one checking in to see how we’re doing, just endless meetings.
Everyone assumes that we are okay with this new way of life.
The personal parts of our lives have almost been pushed aside. We’ve shrunk further away from each other. We really don’t want to go back to the home office on a Friday night, crank up Zoom and chat to our friends virtually, usually we’d be able to go out and meet them in a restaurant or bar. If you’ve found yourself sometimes making an excuse to avoid the quizzes and catch-ups as it’s easier to go and watch Netflix again, you’re not alone. But remember, it’s the person that you want (perhaps even need?) to spend time with and it doesn’t matter if that’s happening at the pub or via Zoom.
How can I take back control?
Firstly, take stock of how you are behaving and what you are doing. What have you stopped doing in this current lockdown that helped to get you through the first one? What would you like to change about how things are now?
Remember that you can take back control, you don’t have to be at the mercy of lockdown 3.0. Ultimately you are the one who has power over the choices you make. You can choose to go outside for exercise, even when the weather isn’t on your side. You can still connect with your family and friends virtually, even though you can’t meet them in person.
It’s important to remember the importance of our social connections when it comes to maintaining our wellbeing. We should be socially distancing, not socially disconnecting.
If you’re feeling isolated, connect with people who make you happy. Reach out to a friend or colleague, see how they’re doing, check in with them.
It’s important to celebrate the small wins right now too. Perhaps you have a family member who has just got the vaccine? Maybe today’s phonics lesson was a winner? Celebrate those moments.
However bleak you may be feeling during this lockdown, remember this. You’ve nearly made it. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. The vaccine is being rolled out at an astonishing speed and there is an exit plan ahead. Spring is on its way. The evenings are getting lighter slowly but surely and there are better days ahead.
Don’t give up on 2021 yet, it’s still going to have a lot to offer us.
Hello, If this article had you screaming, oh yes that’s me, maybe its time to take back control?
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