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  • Writer's pictureMuhammad Deen

Transitioning into isolation

Most of us around the world are experiencing some form of lock-down. While it may feel like a pain in the backside, it's totally understandable. Beating the rapid spread of COVID-19 is priority, and drastic times need drastic measures.


That being said, that doesn't make this period of isolation and quarantine easy. From my own perspective, it's firstly been quite an uncertain period; secondly, a highly stressful period, and thirdly; a period which involves me developing & using new skills that I've never had to before.


Let's focus on those 3 areas:


Dealing with uncertainty


When uncertainty kicks in, it's becomes a multi-faceted issue. This is because, as humans we don't like being uncertain, so we will frantically look around for certainty wherever we can. Feel uncertain? Then get certainty! More often than not, we might end up winding ourselves up even more, and our mind will go everywhere. The fact is, there's not a lot that's in our control right now other than our own self-management. We can't control when life will go back to normal, we can't control how the virus is spreading all over the world, and we can't control when we can get back to the office or start training and competing again.


To effectively deal with uncertainty, we must first tolerate the feeling of uncertainty. It makes perfect sense to be uncertain right now. As much as we can, we need to bear with this feeling. We need to remember the times when we have been uncertain in the past and we endured it, and take confidence from that. Let's focus on one day at a time, and one thing at a time to break this period down into manageable chunks. We need to use this feeling of uncertainty and create some real positive action and make some real positive changes rather than just frantically avoiding this feeling at all costs. For me, I know that this isn't the end of the world, I accept the uncertainty, and look inwards on the things that I can control and reinforce these; like my effort, my skills, and my routines.


Find out what positive actions you can take from being uncertain and make it habitual.


Dealing with stress


There's all kinds pressure and tension that's building up right now, and it's to be curbed and controlled before it creeps up and becomes too much. Firstly, not dealing with stress effectively encourages some very poor stress-coping mechanisms and habits. For me.... I EAT! WAY TOO MUCH! Yeah, that doesn't help in the long-run. Some drink, some use their phones excessively, some shut themselves away, and it goes on and on. Not only that, being in confined spaces with our loved ones makes it even more imperative to manage stress, as there are others relying on us for support, and they should be managing their stress to support us too.


To effectively deal with stress, we must first understand how we behave under stress. Everyone is different, and knowing how you process stress as an individual is vital to dealing with it effectively. If you don't know, and don't want to know, or don't think it's important to know, then you will stay stressed. Take time to understand where your specific stress comes from, take time to know what helpful actions you take to alleviate stress, and go from there. For me, investing time into myself, doing things which truly make me happy (not "happy" now and then guilty 15 minutes later!), and routinely using breathing and grounding exercises has worked wonders to cutting stress levels down.


Find out what helps you deal with stress and make time for it everyday, without fail.


Developing & using new skills


This period is new for pretty much all of us. New situations always place new demands on us. Unless we have the resources already to meet such demands, then it means building up our resources. We're not going to get anywhere in any sort of style unless we upgrade ourselves. Remember, even a 1% improvement is still something...it's 1% you didn't have before! Big improvements are always made of little ones, we can't have dollars without cents and we can't have pounds without pennies.


Let's look towards finding the 1% improvements where we can, even if it means being 1% healthier, 1% more patient, 1% more focussed in reading, 1% more on finding solutions to problems rather than just zooming in on problems. For me, one example (of many) is that I'm developing the skill of not eating snacks at home whenever I see them. I purposefully set myself the task acknowledging the snacks when they're around, the automatic thought will kick in..."hmm maybe I can have just one", and then guide myself away from that urge and thinking "I don't need this snack, if I get hungry, I'll have an apple later". This might not sound like a lot, but if you're a habitual snacker like me this is a big deal! I look forward to developing and using my new snack-resistance skills!


Find out where you can develop and keep it small, and see how far you get with it.


Happy lockdown guys.


As always, thanks for reading, until next week!

MD


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