With another lockdown looming over us in the UK, it's totally normal to be feeling anxious, worried, sad, frustrated, or hey, even totally ok!
It's absolutely right to feel however you do right now.
Worry is bound to be a strong and common emotion in the current situation, and it can be draining, so I want to share a few thoughts and tips on how to ensure this doesn't become overwhelming, how to lean into your energy and how to focus on positivity.
Firstly, I want to let you know, it's perfectly okay to feel whatever it is you're feeling. I encourage you to lean into it, acknowledge it and then we can look at ways to use it.
We are naturally fight or flight creatures, so our subconscious will automatically try to prepare and protect us from unknown situations, but what will happen will happen, and you can regain control of your thoughts with some simple techniques.
It's no secret that this month, November 2020, we are heading into the unknown again. Small businesses, especially, may be feeling anxious about what's around the corner. Remember, we have been here before. Lockdown doesn't mean everything just stops.
Think back to the first lockdown, how did you spend your time? Maybe you were building up your digital profile, developing a new product, pivoting your business or you committed to family time, the point is, you have already built solid foundations to lean into during this one.
Positive and Negative Energy
One big difference with this lockdown is that we are heading into the winter season, so we can expect darker mornings and evenings and colder weather as we shift into the winter months. This shift can sometimes lead to S.A.D - Seasonal Affective Disorder, and alongside another lockdown, our energy will potentially take a bit of a hit.
Think of your energy as your personal currency; you need to invest it wisely. The best part is - you have complete control over this! How empowering is that?!
I invite you to spend some time thinking about your energy; how it is right now, what raises your energetic vibrations, what drains you?
For instance, do you have people in your circle who perhaps drain your energy? I call these 'energy vampires' - the people who perhaps focus on negatives, who make you feel flat or even project their insecurities and worries onto you. It doesn't make them bad people, just different from those who focus on positivity.
Now I'm not saying avoid them, sometimes they can be very close to us! But it's important to recognise if you have an 'energy vampire' in your life, and protect yourself from external influences like these when you need to.
On the flip side, recognise who is lifting you up, making you feel epic, unstoppable and giving you positivity! These people are a wonderful energetic investment, keep them close and lean into supporting each other and maintaining your positivity through challenging times.
A negative mindset is really easy to pick up on and be influenced by, so protect your own energy, vibe and mental health. Prepare yourself and choose carefully where you put your energy.
Some things you can ask yourself to explore how you feel are:
'Where is my energy at?'
'Where can I shift things around?'
'Does this feel right?' - if it doesn't feel right, trust your instincts.
Find your energetic alignment and do everything you can to feel as positive, safe, secure and steady as you can.
Journaling is a great exercise to lean into your energy and feelings.
Often the overwhelm isn't as big as we think it is once we write it down on paper. We can have what we think is hundreds of thoughts rushing around our mind, but which might only come from a handful of thought seeds.
Taking the time to write these thoughts down in a journal may make it easy to untangle them once the threads are down on paper. And don't just limit this journaling to negative thoughts, write down your happy thoughts, your achievements and what makes you feel energised - then focus on doing more of the latter!
My Worry & Anxiety Journey
In my 20's I had a lot of NHS therapy for bad anxiety and worry that was taking over my life. I was living in London, working crazy hours in a job where I experienced workplace bullying, on a low wage so my credit card bills were sky-high and I was incredibly lonely. I started to spiral and carried a heavy black cloud with me at all times. It was difficult, dark and I'm so glad I recognised that I needed help.
Having extensive anxiety and worry therapy was one of the best decisions I ever made. I learnt really important coping mechanisms that I still use today when I need to. I want to share these with you in case they will help you over the next month.
Tips to manage worry
The first thing to know; worry is a totally normal and natural emotion that everyone experiences during their lifetime.
Often worries are unfounded, they are just our mind protecting and preparing us for situations. Sometimes this is helpful, but when it becomes all-consuming, that's when it develops into a problem. At this point, you need to put management mechanisms in place and be kind to yourself.
There are a couple of tactics I learnt during therapy which have been life-changing. If you need some support right now, I hope they can help you.
1. Worry journal - I did this for years and it's so effective The idea is to allocate 15-30mins per day to allow yourself to worry. Get everything you're thinking and feeling out of your head, off your chest and down on paper in a 'worry journal'.
Contain your worry to this period only. That's the key. Dedicating specific time to worry-journalling; your mind will feel reassured that it will be allowed to worry, but you're taking control of it and not allowing your mind to sprial by saying, 'ok, I acknowledge this, I will allow myself to think about it, but ONLY during this dedicated time'. It's a game-changer.
2. Visualisation - A tactic which goes hand-in-hand with worry-journalling and one you can use whenever you need it is visualisation.
When you feel yourself getting spiralling worry thoughts, visualise a stop sign in your minds-eye; it stands strong and immovable between your worries and your conscious being. Physically STOP these thoughts using the sign, acknowledge them, tell them you will allow them to be ONLY during your dedicated worry time.
And when you no longer need to do the daily worry journal, you can still use this technique if you have any unwanted thoughts, stopping them in their tracks.
It is easy for our thoughts or worries to spiral out of control, and lockdown can make us all feel things more intensely, so recognising these thoughts and feelings, and putting tactics in place so they don't become all-consuming is vital.
Focus on positivity
There are some terrible, very sad things happening in the world right now, but if we take the weight of the world on our shoulders, we cannot give our best self to our clients, families, friends, community or ourselves.
Last lockdown, what did you do? Did you pivot your business? If so, how? Did you come out more successful?
Did you step back and focus on family, wellbeing and just surviving?
That's 100% ok! Whatever you did, it doesn't matter, we are all on our own journeys, don't ever feel pressure because of what anyone else is doing, and be careful of how much you consume on social media - remeber it's a show-reel, no one shows you their bad times or side!
Let's flip things around
How about flipping lockdown 2.0 by thinking, ok, people are going to be stuck at home and most likely will be spending more time online looking for inspiration, information or entertainment.
Are you a product-based business? Online shopping went wild during the last lockdown, and this time around Christmas is so close you can almost smell the mulled wine! It's actually a huge opportunity for online retailers!
So you could use this opportunity to serve & support your audience, showing up for them and giving them the inspiration they need.
Think about what do your audience and customers want? Maybe they need gifts for their loved ones becasue they can't go out to events or shops; if you can offer them simple solutions to some of their 'pain points', you may be able to thrive. How about going above and beyond and up-levelling your offer to provide a gift-wrapping service, taking another to-do off their list?
Maybe you are a service provider or a coach. In this case, think about how you can support your audience through this lockdown, they'll be looking to you more than ever right now.
How can you inspire, educate, inform or entertain through your online platforms. How can you serve your audience? Can you run online classes, workshops or even just a virtual coffee and cake to help people feel connected to the outside world? Be someone they can know, love and trust in times of turbulence as well as time of joy and prosperity.
It's all about seeing the positives or creating them, if you can. I invite you to use these tools and ideas to navigate any wobbles, which will be natural in times like these.
Remember it's about recognising your emotions, your energy and leaning into what you need in that moment.
If you feel the need to step away from business and from showing up, that is also absolutely ok. How about taking this time to invest in your own wellbeing:
- Read that book you haven't had the chance to get to
- Sign up to a course to develop your understanding or skills (there are so many free courses out there if right now spending isn't an option)
- Do an online exercise class, I love 10 minutes of yoga every day, especially if I'm feeling a little stressed or blue
- Arrange a weekly virtual call with some girlfriends, we need each other more than ever right now
- Decorate the house early for Christmas - hey we could all use an extra sprinkle of festive cheer this year right!
Mindset is everything
A couple of final mindset exercises which are super powerful for finding positivity, even in the most challenging of times.
I invite you to write down 3-5 things you are grateful for, every day. Sometimes it's hard to think of positive things when we feel low, so here are some things we may take for granted:
- Safety and warmth
- Our business and our customers
- Family and friends
- Our health and the health of those we love
- Food in our pantry or fridge
- The fact we can still go outside for an hour and enjoy the countryside
- That we can work from the comfort of our own home
- A sunny day
- Our animals who are there for us no matter what
- The digital world which allows us to be connected even if we can't meet in person
The trick is to think of the small things and be grateful for them, it's not always about the massive milestones, goals or events. Sometimes the biggest things to be grateful for are the small things in our every day. I'd love to encourage you to find the beauty in simple things.
Affirmations are incredibly effective when you want to feel positive. Here are a few examples of some affirmations I love for positive mental wellbeing:
- 'I am worthy of it all'
- 'I am enough, exactly as I am'
- 'I am right where I need to be'
- 'I am confident everything will work out just as it is meant to'
- 'I am a positivity Queen'
If you say these often enough to yourself and really feel what you are saying, you will start to believe it, and the impact of that self-belief and trust in the Universe is incredible.
This is especially needed during a lockdown, when a lot of people will be asking 'why me', 'why this', 'why now', if you can try to focus on positivity, hopefully the uncertainty of the next few weeks will be easier to navigate. Let's be honest, 2020 was a test for a lot of us, but what if instead of seeing it as a negative and a nightmare, we look for the positives and see that it has offered us the chance to really grow, to become more resilient, stronger, more focused on what we truly want, and more determined to turn our dreams into reality.
I'm here for you...
Before I go, I'd love to ask you to take a moment to recognise how you feel, right now...
What is your body telling you?
Maybe you need to reduce the amount of alcohol you consume during lockdown if you know it affects your mental health?
Perhaps you need to focus on eating healthily and not turning to the treat cupboard (because we all have one right!?) so that you don't feel lethargic?
Do you need to get outside and enjoy the nature around you?
Or does exercise make you feel good and you want to do a little bit every day?
Perhaps the mindset work is your key to navigating lockdown #2?
All of these things feed into your energy and that's vital to look after right now.
Remember, as I said at the start;
Energy is your personal currency, invest it wisley.
Be kind to yourself, be kind to those around you, have courage that we will get through this, and know my DMs and emails are always open if you need some support.
Find me on Instagram - www.instagram.com/garnetpruk or email me: Rhiannon@garnetpr.com
With love and light,
Rhiannon and the Garnet PR team xxx