A New Found Appreciation – by Julie, our Wellness Ambassador

I think it’s safe to say lockdown came as a bit of a shock to the system for most if not all of us. It’s hard to believe it has been 3 months since our lives were turned upside down and yet we have adapted, out of necessity rather than desire but we have all had to adjust in many ways to operate in this new normal.

It goes without saying there are many things I have really missed over the last few moths as the restrictions came into play- connection or lack of is probably the top of the list.  I’m a hugger, so to not be able to touch and hold my family and friends was a real struggle for me and that hasn’t gotten any easier- it’s definitely not something I have learned to overcome. My natural instinct when I see my loved ones is to go to them and wrap myself around them. Especially after weeks and months of not seeing some of them, now as restrictions are slowly easing it is harder than ever, it was almost easier when I could only see them on screen because there was no risk of me reaching out and grabbing them. My job is built on connection – through my classes and workshops I connect with hundreds of people each week and although I thankfully have been able to continue my sessions online I have truly missed the physical connection and to be honest I sometimes feel I cannot do my job well enough with just my voice behind a screen.

That being said, and I never thought I would say this, there have been many elements of the last 3 months that I have really enjoyed and I think there is a lot to be gained for all of us as we tip toe our way back towards ‘normal life’. I think we all have to accept that it will continue to be a new normal for a while, in some situations we are a long way away from anything resembling life before lockdown but I really don’t think this is a bad thing.  The pace of life has changed for many of us and whilst there was an initial struggle or shock factor to deal with- when you strip out the logistical challenges this brought about, what this has given us is the time and space to re-evaluate our priorities. I am not the type of person to naturally operate at any other speed than a million miles and hour- which may surprise some of you considering I’m a yoga teacher and my career is in the Wellness space. I have long since been an advocate of self care and the importance of carving out time in your week for yourself no matter how busy you are. I am also very aware that slowing down and taking this time can be really difficult to do. It’s something I have to work on each week and sometimes I don’t do a great job of it but I always make it part of my weekly planning and I hold myself accountable for it.

In truth we are conditioned to operate at a very fast pace, to juggle multiple things at once and to plan ahead- we are not really trained to just be. With the explosion of social media in recent years our world has become overloaded with distraction, our minds sucked in to a false reality and it all works to fuel this incessant need for more whilst being oblivious to what we have, who we are and how we are. Unfortunately success is not measured on the amount of time invested in ourselves or with friends and family.

Pre Covid 19 the world was turning faster and faster and this global pandemic has forced the brakes to go on and it has also forced us to make a very big connection a lot of us were missing- a connection with ourselves. I know some will have found this much easier to do than others, and that this in itself brought a huge amount of anxiety and fear.  But if we are being honest the lockdown didn’t create this anxiety- it pulled back the many layers we have thrown over our fears and forced us to deal with them without much warning or preparation. Now I don’t know about you but I don’t take too well to being forced into situations however, I actually think this could be a huge turning point for many of us- if we let it be.

We are creatures of habit and change is hard, the last few months have forced huge change on us in many areas of our lives. But just because something is uncomfortable to start with doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. Just because you do something a certain way for years doesn’t mean it’s the best or only way to do it. Just because it’s different doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Just because it’s a habit doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

There are many elements of lockdown, which we could have all done without but I also think it has given us an opportunity to make some really positive changes in our lives going forward. It has given us time- time to slow down, time to be with ourselves, time to reconnect with those we live with, time to realise how much we miss people and how much we have taken for granted. This time is a great opportunity to re-evaluate and re-prioritise. At the moment we don’t have a choice but I hope that as things slowly adjust and restrictions ease that we remember the things we are currently craving, the hugs, the connections, the simple moments of just being with those we love. I hope that when we do have a choice that these things remain a priority and we don’t let the noise or distractions take us away from the precious gifts we all have right in front of us every day.

So a few little tips that might help to keep you focused on what’s important as things no doubt start to pick up pace in the coming weeks and months:

 

  • Gratitude List: every day, morning or evening, write down 3 things you are grateful for. It can be as simple as your morning coffee or a hug from your little one. It doesn’t matter what it is but take time every day to recognise the little things which bring you joy every day.

 

  • You Time: Find time every week for yourself, do something, which makes you, really happy, which you really enjoy and makes you feel good about yourself. Write it down or put it in your diary and hold yourself accountable to it. If you need to move it make sure you reschedule rather than cancel.

 

  • Time to Be: Don’t confuse this with you time, by time to be I mean taking time to sit with yourself- to check in and see how you are doing- the good the bad and the ugly! It may be 3minutes it may be 30minutes, it might be once a week or a few times in the week but it is so important to connect with yourself and to acknowledge how you feel. You might not always be able to pinpoint why you feel how you feel and that’s ok, it’s ok not to feel fabulous every day but it is important to recognise how you are feeling. That might be enough or it might make you realise you need to do something about it- talk to a friend or make a change in something you are doing to change how you are feeling.