These are just a few things that I have experienced during the lockdown period. Entering the lockdown, I really thought I’d be resilient enough to handle the drastic change of living. No more commuting, no more packed lunch, no more unnecessary contact with the (dirty) public but more time to relax, bake, socialise virtually and catch up on all the shows I’ve been missing out on. And for *small* period, I was able to.
But somehow the new routine of waking up and heading straight to my desk to start work without my morning gym, morning prayer, praise & worship routine with fresh air and natural light started taking a toll on me. Over the years, I had been through enough hardship in life and isolating periods that I thought 3-4 months of a lockdown would be a breeze but by the 4th month (July) it was all becoming too much. I think because I was so consumed with work and business that I didn’t take the chance to fully absord what what was really going on around me. But once life finally got a bit more quiet, it kind of hit me, hard. Luckily by that time, Boris had eased the lockdown, but I think for me it was a little too late… I had already felt the bondage of social anxiety, overthinking things and uncertainty of life, AWAY from COVID related issues. I used previously learnt tactics such as socialising with friends, returning to the gym and going out more in general, which were all livesavers and helped significantly.
But my return to “normality” made me think more about others. This was the first time many had to experience being locked in their homes. More stories and signs were suddenly appearing about the effect lockdown had on society; being locked indoors with whatever issue may be occurring inside and internally, uncertainty with work and the future, plus a myriad of other issues. I for one was “used” to being inside due to my previous years of having nowhere to go and I remember the effect it left on me. So, I can only imagine how it was for others in this short period of time, let alone what I was currently feeling too, despite my knowledge and understanding from previous experiences.
In the spring of 2020, approximately 53 percent of single people in the UK reported feeling lonely in the previous 7 days. With social distancing and the lockdown being contributing factors for these responses. Two in five adults in the UK felt lonelier under lockdown according to results gathered by British Red Cross.
What this is showing is that we shouldn’t underestimate the effect COVID, lockdown and social distancing has had on each and every one of us. Some have been lucky to have a network of people who have been equally excited to exercise their freedom post lockdown, whilst others have been experiencing loneliness even *before* lockdown, which has now been exasperated due to lockdown. So, reaching out to talk to someone can be a small gesture that could make a massive difference. If someone is reaching out to you to catch up and to talk, don’t be flippant about it… it could be the only call for help they can muster up. Even those who you feel have always been comfortable with “doing their own thing” or always “riding solo”, they too still need that human interaction and emotional connection and post lockdown is a well-deserved moment.
Another element of loneliness we need to better understand, is emotional loneliness. Brian Turner, a psychotherapist at the Counselling Directory, defines that as “the scene you in a film where someone is singled out in a crowd, held at a standstill whilst others are moving all around them.” Brian goes on further to explain that loneliness is also an emotional disconnect as well as a physical one. As much as we want to turn up, catch up on the summer vibes and drink our livers away, many want to be able to emotionally release what’s been held in for many months. There’s nothing wrong with going to that day party or brunch then having a heart to heart later on in the day to really get some clarity from people who know you best or to even be encouraged on how to naviagte life going forward.
Catching up, re-connecting, releasing and encouraging are valuable in an uncertain world where we have no idea what can happen next. It costs nothing to reach out or to help someone. Build the connections NOW because you don’t know when you might need that helping hand yourself.
Very timely, especially as the days get shorter and further restrictions loom. Thanks.