How Do We Cope With Bouncing In and Out Of Lockdown?
Just when we think there is some light at the end of the tunnel, something comes along to thwart our plans. Many businesses in the health and aesthetics sectors were given a blow earlier in month when it was revealed that they would not be able to open on the 4th July, but perhaps what is even more devastating is the possibility that those who were fortunate enough to be able to open may now find themselves having to close once again.
Leicester in the UK was the first area in the country to experience a ‘localized lockdown’ after cases of coronavirus surged. Several pubs in Somerset were forced to close just days after they had reopened after it was revealed that a customer had since been confirmed as suffering from Coronavirus. And in Australia, Melbourne announced a 6 week lockdown as cases rose to levels which could not be effectively controlled by track and trace measures.
What is clear is that these events are unlikely to be localized incidents, with governments across the globe continuing to keep a close eye on daily cases at a micro level, primed to act swiftly at the first sign that levels may be rising. The knock on effect of this process is that we simply don’t know what is around the corner. Just because the current instructions are to resume certain leisure activities, visit the shops, support local restaurants and visit the cinema, doesn’t mean that the decision won’t be reversed in the coming weeks. We are encouraged to think positively, to focus on the future and to take steps to rebuild or economy, but this motivation can wane when there is a very real risk that all our best efforts will in fact be futile in the face of a global invisible killer.
So how can we live from day to day, not knowing what might be just around the corner? The answer is to learn to ‘expect the unexpected’. Coach and author Darren Lewitt, author of Dream Create Believe Achieve agrees with this approach.
‘During my career, I have often been faced with the unexpected. These situations are often unavoidable, but what you can always control is how you respond to them. COVID-19 is causing disruption, fear and uncertainty for so many people and it is very easy to get caught up in the news stories and literally frighten yourself into paralysis. But regardless of what lies ahead, we must find ways to keep moving forwards. There is nothing you can do about the situation now; people can point the finger of blame but we have to remain as positive as possible. It is time to step back and think harder and smarter about coming out of the lockdown. We’ve had over 100 days so far and probably the same amount to come. Being mentally prepared to deal with the unexpected is so important right now because we really don’t know what is around the corner. Ask yourself, is there any way I can be more efficient when I start up again, is there any help I can get, can I buddy up with someone else to make life easier; thinking differently will ultimately give you a better start It’s all about looking ahead and not backwards.”
Put simply, we need to accept that things are likely to keep changing when it comes to managing the COVID-19 outbreak. Certain policies are going to be relaxed and then tightened, shops are going to open then shut and we could well see spikes of the virus coming and going over the next year, perhaps longer.
Is it frustrating?
Is it disruptive?
Can we control what will happen in the future?
Not really, no.
Part of regaining control during chaos is knowing what you can influence and what you can’t. As the saying goes, ‘grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference’. We are facing an uncertain future, but we can take steps to ensure we are as best prepared as we can be for a variety of potential scenarios. From putting away some money to cover you if a full lockdown is reimposed, to stocking up on bulk sized items such as washing powder to keep you going for longer, you can remain positive about the future whilst also being practical and realistic as to what may be just around the corner, but still out of sight.
Sadly, it is very likely that we’ll be bouncing in and out of lockdown for a little while yet, but this doesn’t mean that our hopes, aspirations and goals need to disappear completely. It’s all about changing our mindset and giving greater emphasis to what we can achieve, rather than dwelling on what we can’t.
Jenna Owen is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in the United Kingdom. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.