Lockdown, Isolation & Wellbeing: Thoughts

As this post is written, some news sources report that London is facing an imminent lockdown, possibly before the weekend as PM Johnson prepares new measures to tackle the rapid spread of COV ID-19 in the UK. Lockdown is effectively some level of enforcement of the isolation of people. What does this challenge mean to those people? How can they cope?

UnknownA lockdown isolating people from their work, their social contacts and environments, and preventing them from travelling will mean different things and pose different challenges to different groups of people and to different individuals. This much is common sense. Therefore, there is no easy panacea to be offered. The platform for coping under these circumstances is each person thinking things through calmly, ignoring sensationalism and fake news, and planning ahead. There are a number of key things for people to think through and decide on.

First of all, one’s days need to have purpose, focus and structure. What can I use this time for? What things can I focus on to give that my use of that time some meaning? How am I going to organize my time to give a structure to my days? Different people will naturally have different answers to these questions. Possibly … I am going to use the time to do more things with my children, to get on top of things and have a good sort out, to learn more about cooking, to redo the garden, to learn something new, to read things that I have missed, to work from home etc … Obviously, deciding on a mixture of such things and then structuring one’s days around them should be good for most people.

Second, however one is locked down, there is a need to keep active. Many of the things that one might choose to focus on during this time probably include an active component if only walking around one’s home. Exercising at home is good no matter how little. If a garden is part of the plan, being outside is arguably better than being inside.

Third, there is a need to keep in the social loop somehow. Most have landlines or mobile phones, many have internet and email, and access to various forms of social media. Obviously, technology-based social interactions are not as good as being there with people and doing things but they do offer a platform for staying in touch. One can organise social time as an important and legitimate part of the plan.

Fourth, there is a need to develop attitudes and emotional reactions to current events which are positive in some way. Explicit decisions to ‘get through it’ and to ‘stay calm and positive’ can be extremely important but need to be managed actively. Shun sensationalist and fake news and the words of doomsayers. Seek out the facts and question them with healthy skepticism. Get things into perspective. Glasses are best viewed as half full and, even in dire circumstances, there are little things that can be positive, good, or make one happy. Focus on such things.

Across all of this, your plan and your determined attitudes to the situation in-hand can give you a feeling of some control and this is often accompanied by a degree of relief from feeling powerless, worried or depressed.

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