Lockdown – We are in this together…

We are now into the second month and regardless of your financial situation or living accommodation, we have all felt the repercussions of this lockdown due to Covid 19, be it that we are sharing living and breathing space 24/7 with our loved ones and the tension that this brings or missing other family members that we cannot hug or see – only virtually.

Some, like me are continuing to work from home, has been made difficult to stay motivated as others around you within the household are either furloughed or out of work totally.

At the start of the lockdown, I found it a novelty and working in my PJ’s became the norm. I had so many ideas and saw this as an opportunity to get so much done….. but with no deadlines as such in place, I had become overwhelmed with my to do list and have lots of unfinished tasks.

My sleeping pattern was completely non-existent, my brain was constantly working overtime with the ‘to do list’ – even writing it all down did not help.

Add to this, your working time eating into family time and suddenly you’ve lost your work life balance as all has congealed into one.
All this then affects your mental health, which, if not kept in check will undo all your hard work as well as all around you.

Therefore, especially during these uncertain times, looking after your mental health and well-being must be one of your top priorities. Once this is kept in check and you accept that you are only human and there’s only so many hours in a day, then you can start to build your foundations during this weird downtime and change yourself and your business for the better, for the future.

A wise man has said during all of this..” Ask yourself this question, have you done everything you can do within your control? Is there anything else you can do? –If you can answer YES…. then relax…. (Croz Crossley ~ Mindset Coach.)

So, what can we do to improve this during these difficult times?

 Having good relationships with real people will help to build a sense of belonging and self-worth. One thing that will come out of this are people’s true colours (good and bad).

Family apart, I have found networking has helped me here and one of the positives of this lockdown has to be that I have found more new friends through online networking and a larger network of businesses and people I would like to (and am) working with. I have not only found emotional support but also new lifelong friends that if I can rely on them during these times, going forward, these relationships can only grow stronger.

As I’d only just started face to face networking, the change was a little daunting and I had a few cases of self confidence doubt before of all this! Having these relationships though has helped me to talk with confidence within a group and I’m sure in time I’ll have the confidence to take the stand and speak about my passion for numbers (and try not to bore everyone with it!).

This is also true of friends and family outside your working environment. We need to keep in touch, and we have the technology for this to be more than a text or an email. Ensure you keep in touch by zoom, facetime, skype as well as by telephone with those around you, especially lone friends and those that may be vulnerable at this time.

This is not only good for your own well-being but the others around you too.

 Find a work buddy

Having a network of business minded people, especially with the help of zoom meetings has meant there is someone out there for everyone who ‘gets’ you and what you are trying to achieve. This is really a follow on from my first point, but a more closer working relationship with someone who you can bounce off during the good and bad times but can also hold you accountable.

A word of warning…. as pointed out by another great coach I have met along the way… ‘preferably not by someone you share your bed with!’ – Sheena Whyatt

For instance, instead of constantly saying’ yes it is on my to do list’, that buddy will say… ‘ok when are you planning to do it… so is basically saying… ‘get on and bloody do what you said you was going to do!’

I had a moment last week where I read a thread from a mentors FB timeline that said just that. I had said I was going to join the group and hadn’t got around to it. I read that and decided he was talking directly to me and signed up there and then! I am now a member of the ‘NOW WHAT CLUB’ and I know with BB and various other members, my accountability will be kept in check.

 Keep the work-life balance ~ Family time is so important

It is so easy to get carried away with your work as the hours just roll from day to night and without setting yourself a set daily routine, you can easily forget why you are doing all this in the first place and get lost within your own bubble. Trust me… this is something I am guilty of and its my husband who pulls me back into the now and reminds me that in order for this work, you need to keep this in check.

Therefore, book slots during your day to walk the dog or take the daily stroll together, to talk and clear the mind. No mobile phones, no interruptions, time out. At the end of the day, cook and eat together, making the most of that valuable time.

We have all been so used to running around taking things like this for granted, now is the time to really appreciate what we do have and take this time to spend with our loved ones. The rat race will soon return I’m sure, but hopefully at a slower pace and getting our priorities right first.

 Take time out for your self

Mindfulness is quite a new thing to me; it is funny that my iWatch has to remind me to breathe! But, I have learnt that being in the present moment – really paying full attention to how I am feeling and my thoughts at that moment, helps me to put everything back into perspective. Walking with the dog helps me to empty the mind and enjoy my surroundings…. And then usually come up with more ideas…..

I have disappeared upstairs to take time out – no tv or phone… just complete silence.

This may also be to exercise and become fitter. Exercise releases chemicals in the brain which lifts your mood and keeping active keeps your body and mind healthy.

 Limit Social media and the News

At the start of the lockdown, I was watching the news 24/7. I tuned in to every daily update and found myself watching it day, noon and night. Not only did this affect my working day, but it also affected my mood. There was nothing I could do to change things apart from following government advice and keeping myself and my family safe and well. I also found I was on social media a lot more than I should have been and discovered Tik Tok!. With Tik tok aside, I found I was being brought down by comments and posts and again was not helping my mental health or well-being.

Therefore, I now limit the use to networking only with the occasional check up with friends that I would not normally be texting or speaking to on the phone. Unfortunately, I’m guilty of being an over 50’s mum who has laughed many evenings at the videos made on Tik Tok, but it has brought a positive feeling to my well-being – its just addictive and needs keeping in check.

Learn a new skill

We all need to fill this time with something we would not have ordinarily done at this time but is something we have wanted to do for a while, but just didn’t have the time.

For me this has been ‘learning’. I had been wasting a lot of time on doing nothing and worrying and therefore have now ordered books to read and am also about to start a course that will count towards my ‘Continuing development ‘. This will not only ensure I have kept up to date with the ever-changing laws within tax and accountancy, but will boost my self-esteem, knowledge and sense of purpose.

Others may sooner learn a totally new skill such as a new language, painting or drawing or a skill to give you a completely new career path.

But must of all…….. BE KIND….

Being kind to others not only makes you feel good but helps you to engage with others. Many people are lonely and don’t get to talk to many people, therefore, it’s good to connect with others while out shopping or walking. You may also make their day and help their mental health and well-being as well as your own. Just listening may be the best thing you will do all day to help someone else – a real act of kindness goes a long way.

Remember, it costs nothing to be nice, to say thank you and to give someone the time of day.

During this period of time, we are all in this together and need one another more than we ever have …. Let’s not just take it all for granted though when the lockdown is finally lifted…

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