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Client blog – How I broke free during lockdown

Life under lockdown can feel like imprisonment. I made it my time to break free.

Here’s how finding a focus has helped me to stave off those negative thought spirals:

Lying in stillness beneath the softly scrolling clouds and beautiful blue skies provided me with an opportunity to reflect. It struck me how such a complex and intricately connected modern world could be brought to a standstill by something so insipid as a tiny virus. One that is causing suffering to all kinds of different people in all kinds of different ways. The truth is, all we can do is our best. No matter how much we wrestle with things, all we can do is our best. There is so much in the world we cannot control and some of it we would never wish to. 

For me, I felt the time had come to work on vocational plans. I downloaded a Focus app on my phone which after a while, enabled me to get into a routine of focusing for longer periods of time. Plant a tree for a certain period of time and try to stick to task. If my mind kept wandering off, I gently brought it back without excessively chiding myself. After a while you have a forest. Earn enough coins and you can even plant real trees to combat global deforestation, so you get to do something beneficial for the environment at the same time. 

When I was particularly struggling, I discovered Music Therapy tracks. Apparently they stimulate particular waves in the brain. Although initially sceptical, I noticed that after about 20 minutes I’d gone from pacing around to being sat calmly and quietly reading. I also noticed that my mind was generating thoughts and ideas at a slower, more manageable pace and that these ideas were calmer more rational, focused and insightful. 

I found my ideal training course in applying to study Low Intensity Psychological Interventions for Children and Young People. The statistics on the emergence of mental health issues highlight the importance of early intervention. I developed depression in my teenage years. Studying three days a week for three weeks at a time, then having a three week break, then studying again in a continuing cyclical fashion seemed like a reasonable step up for me. 

Although daunting, the voice which tells me “I can’t do it” has been booted into touch. I can pass the three 30-minute clinical exams. I also realised that that voice, is not really mine. It is a voice given to me by others. Others who are hostile towards the truth, love, beauty and goodness of my own inner child. And that by listening to them, I have been giving away the power and potential of my own capacity to affect positive change. 

If I get a Skype interview, of course I may be nervous. There will always be some situations in which my heart rate will crank up quite a few notches. It doesn’t mean I will be overwhelmed. Progressive muscular relaxation is a popular, proven way of reducing stress in our bodies and little things like opening a window, drinking a cold glass of water and removing warm clothing can all help to cool down when it gets hot indoors, maintaining a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere.  

In the meantime, tidying up, cleaning and re-organising can give us something concrete to focus on and improve the spaces in which we now spend increasing amounts of our time. There is always something you’ve been meaning to get round to but has been further down the list of immediate priorities, such as contacting an old friend or fundraising for a charity close to your heart. Cooking healthy meals, maintaining self-care and care of others keeps us anchored in what is an opportunity to spend quality time at home as best we can. Gardening or washing a car can be a pleasant outdoor experience that provides a sense of satisfaction and achievement. Offering to help a neighbour or wash their car so that it is absolutely sparkling in the sunlight is a rewarding act of kindness. 

Whatever the future holds, whatever unfolds, we’re all still here for each other. Keep moving forwards. 

Posted on: 7th May 2020