As we find ourselves in the 2nd UK lockdown, unable to go about our normal, pre Covid lives, our feelings can be confusing. It is okay to feel discombobulated, anxious, worried, or sad. There are no measures to these feelings, that makes them trivial or inconsequential. Whatever impact the world events are having on you personally, your feelings are important. It is healthy to acknowledge what you are feeling and allow yourself time to process them. Acknowledging your feelings is as important as breathing.
There are different ways to work through this process and again there is no right way or a golden ticket to understanding, it is simply trial and error.
Here are a few suggestions and ways to help you cope during lockdown and the unknown months ahead:
Find ways to connect with others: Our online classes via zoom are perfect for checking in with others. At the start of every class, we are there to chat about the day and how you are feeling. If you don’t want to speak in front of others, there is a private message facility to connect with us.
Find ways of managing loneliness: This maybe learning new skills, trying something new, reading, arts and crafts, researching or even creative writing. As we start the 2nd UK lockdown, our class timetable has doubled, you could try something new perhaps Barre or yoga meditation!
Share your experiences: Sometimes we just need to talk or share what we are up to. This could be by telephone or video call via WhatsApp or Zoom with family and friends. It could be by pen and paper sharing stories the old-fashioned way, by letter. We can keep a personal journal to capture what we are experiencing and feeling. Again, there is no best way, it is finding what works for you.
Embrace winter: Winter can be tough; the longer darker nights and cold weather can put a damper on our mood. If this is the case, think of things you love about the winter and enjoy them as blessings. Wrap up under a cosy blanket, sit by a fire, enjoy your favourite hot drink, spend time petting your cat or dog, cook a hearty meal or bake cakes. And whenever you can, go out-side, a blustery day can blow away the cobwebs, rain can cleanse the soul and a bright blue day can lift your spirits like nothing else.
Look after your physical health: Engage more with the activities and classes you love and that are available to you. With us, this could be Yoga, Pilates, Barre or Pump. We have live classes, on-demand, and an extensive video library of pre-recorded classes.
Take care with news/media: I personally recommend restricting the amount of news you expose yourself to. News broadcasts are predominately negative, if you are feeling a little low, avoid tuning in. Take a few days off from watching the news and use this time on self-care. If you enjoy TV, watch some golden oldies or your favourite uplifting films.
If you are feeling anxious and emotional: The first step is to acknowledge this feeling and that it’s okay. Then ask yourself, ‘what do you want to do?’ There is no right or wrong. Sometimes we simply need to acknowledge, it’s okay to feel anxious and to worry. This feeling will pass, as does the time of the day. If, however, you feel anxious and worry most of the time, or perhaps feel a sense of despair that is affecting your ability to cope with life, you could benefit from some professional help/counselling to explore these thoughts and feelings.
Covid-19 could be just one of many reasons why taking some time for you and caring for yourself is important right now.
If you would like professional help: Counselling or 'talking therapy' can be very helpful to explore your feelings and to talk through any problems or issues affecting you, and your life. Recognising the need for help is not a failure, it is a positive step in your self-care and mental wellbeing. However, finding the right counsellor/therapist can be a daunting task.
Because of this I would like to introduce and welcome Anne Kehoe to our team. Anne can offer help, support, and therapy for your mental wellbeing (or perhaps someone you care about). I first met Anne a few years ago, when she joined our yoga and Pilates community and I got to know Anne well, on retreat in Greece. Anne trained at WPF Therapy which is recognised as one of the leading Psychotherapy and counselling training organisations.
For further information on one to one therapy, visit: Anne Kehoe, Counselling and Psychotherapy or give Anne a call on 07531 082295.
For information and support on mental wellbeing, visit: Mind UK or NHS UK
Havering Mind has expanded its Gateway Telephone Service to support residents across Havering and Barking and Dagenham.
The Gateway Telephone Service is the first point of contact for anyone seeking support for their own or someone else’s mental health including carers, GPs, health workers, family, friends, colleagues, as well as for those who are working in organisations at ground level in the community with different groups either through churches, businesses, community organisations, health service or the voluntary sector.
The Service is available on 01708 457040 Monday to Friday 9am – 7pm and Saturday and Sunday 10am – 3pm. It can also be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and through an online referral form on the website www.haveringmind.org.uk.
Whatever the concern, experienced Gateway Telephone staff can provide support by listening, helping with information, and providing signposting to opportunities for mental health prevention, treatment, and recovery.
To end this blog, I would like to share a short Winnie the Pooh story that came to my attention a few days ago:
Pooh woke up that morning, and, for reasons that he didn't entirely understand, couldn't stop the tears from coming. He sat there in bed, his little body shaking, and he cried, and cried, and cried.
Amidst his sobs, the phone rang.
It was Piglet.
"Oh Piglet," said Pooh, between sobs, in response to his friend's gentle enquiry as to how he was doing. "I just feel so Sad. So, so, Sad, almost like I might not ever be happy again. And I know that I shouldn't be feeling like this. I know there are so many people who have it worse off than me, and so I really have no right to be crying, with my lovely house, and my lovely garden, and the lovely woods all around me. But oh, Piglet: I am just SO Sad."
Piglet was silent for a while, as Pooh's ragged sobbing filled the space between them. Then, as the sobs turned to gasps, he said, kindly: "You know, it isn't a competition."
"What isn't a competition?" asked a confused sounding Pooh.
"Sadness. Fear. Grief," said Piglet. "It's a mistake we often make, all of us. To think that, because there are people who are worse off than us, that that somehow invalidates how we are feeling. But that simply isn't true. You have as much right to feel unhappy as the next person; and, Pooh - and this is the really important bit - you also have just as much right to get the help that you need."
"Help? What help?" asked Pooh. "I don't need help, Piglet.
Pooh and Piglet talked for a long time, and Piglet suggested to Pooh some people that he might be able to call to talk to, because when you are feeling Sad, one of the most important things is not to let all of the Sad become trapped inside you, but instead to make sure that you have someone who can help you, who can talk through with you how the Sad is making you feel, and some of the things that might be able to be done to support you with that.
What's more, Piglet reminded Pooh that this support is there for absolutely everyone, that there isn't a minimum level of Sad that you have to be feeling before you qualify to speak to someone.
Finally, Piglet asked Pooh to open his window and look up at the sky, and Pooh did so.
"You see that sky?" Piglet asked his friend. "Do you see the blues and the golds and that big fluffy cloud that looks like a sheep eating a carrot?"
Pooh looked, and he could indeed see the blues and the golds and the big fluffy cloud that looked like a sheep eating a carrot.
"You and I," continued Piglet, "we are both under that same sky. And so, whenever the Sad comes, I want you to look up at that sky, and know that, however far apart we might be physically...we are also, at the same time, together. Perhaps, more together than we have ever been before."
"Do you think this will ever end?" asked Pooh in a small voice.
"This too shall pass," confirmed Piglet. "And I promise you, one day, you and I shall once again sit together, close enough to touch, sharing a little smackerel of something...under that blue gold sky."
We all need a piglet in our lives.
I hope the information in this blog has been useful or simply reassuring.
For more information about Absolute Yoga and Pilates, our classes, either face to face or our online community, please follow the link to our website.
Written and published by Pauline Ward
Absolute Yoga and Pilates Business Owner and Fitness Professional