How to deal with the cumulative effects of lockdown
For over a year we have been dealing with massive changes to our lives. And part of the reason this most recent lockdown was so much harder for some is because of the cumulative effect of being in the situation for a long period of time – and not having the tools to deal with the day-to-day challenges this presents.
For many, this precedes the days of lockdowns and is a symptom of the fast-paced life we live, and are now slowly starting to re-enter. We are busy, we work hard, and there is very little focus in our greater society on taking daily measures to decompress, to digest what’s gone on during the day, to express our emotions and feelings.
This way of living allows a ‘build up’ of daily life stresses. This is what we call ‘the accumulative effect’. The stresses, feelings, emotions and challenges of each day might be small, but, over time if we are not moving through these feelings, they build within the body until we feel we can’t take so much more.
As we slowly emerge from the restrictions on our lives, there are two main areas to focus on – Expression and Connection. Try these strategies to help –
Expressing and Digesting Emotions and Stresses
Speak to a friend or family member about how you feel, with deep and open communication
Write in a journal about EVERYTHING you feel, perhaps the things that you don’t want to share with a friend or anyone else. To just let it all out on pen and paper is very cathartic (much more than typing it out, for example).
Move your body. The body ends up storing the emotions we don’t deal with. Whether it’s a fast-paced exercise class, walk in nature or a deep yin class, movement always helps. Exercise classes can be good for letting off steam, whereas yin yoga classes encourage deep release from the fascia tissue and are often profoundly releasing yet gentle.
If you’re dealing with something and you’re alone or need to talk to someone who is neutral and provides a non-judgemental space for whatever you’re going through, then therapy is another great option. To be able to share about anything and everything that is coming up for you on a weekly basis is deeply cathartic and a way for you to explore your inner most workings and digest what’s coming up for you right now.
Connection with something bigger than you…
Have some daily connection with the Universe/ Existence/ Source energy. This can be through meditation or even simply getting out into nature and being still.
Meditation is a way to create a relationship with your deepest self and tap into the ‘unified field’ or source energy that binds us all together. Being still with ourselves is also another way to ‘digest’ our day, but more so this kind of connection reminds us that we are not separate and alone but part of a much greater whole. It builds trust within us of a greater plan, and after meditating we often feel more aligned with what actions we can take day by day to take us through this time. This could be big or small, but there is so much that comes from this daily connection. When you see someone daily your relationship builds; the same is true for meditating daily.
Connecting through nature. Nature is full of source energy, the air is full of prana, and this is partly why we feel so good after being around it. Our nervous system can co-regulate with this energy, the green colours also calm us, and we are reminded of the wisdom of nature, being present, going with the seasons and challenges it faces, and always finding a way.
Find out more about learning meditation in a group or how you can access therapy at Listen Up Therapy.