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It’s been a crazy five months with highs, lows, and moments of meh, in between.

I thought I’d pen some of my personal key learnings so I don’t forget them! It’s so easy to switch back into ‘how things always were,’ when actually, mentally, spiritually, and physically I’m different.

I wanted to pay mention to how grateful I am to be part of a loving family throughout this time. This is my number one gratitude point.

My immediate and extended family, and my friends, have been a lifeline, especially when I felt like a rabbit in the headlights back in March 2019!

Here are some of my learnings.

I gained some weight, and that’s ok

Over the years my weight has been up and down. Like lots of people I’ve put on about a stone in weight over lockdown and I’m resolving that, this is ok. In time this may or may not drop off, but I am just so happy to be healthy and alive. Faddy diets and what number the scales present, just seems like a pointless waste of time. I’m enjoying eating what my body fancies and exercising as often as I can.

Exercising and mental wellbeing are inextricably linked

Exercising throughout lockdown has given me that psychological break that was so needed. Even just for 20 minutes. Running is my thing, but for the first part of lockdown, I actually forgot about running! Over the last two months I’ve fallen in love with pounding the streets again, and I recognise how much better I feel afterwards. 

In Bella Mackies book – Jog On, she talks about the importance of being out in nature for mental wellbeing. There is a term for it, wait for it…..’Forest Bathing!’ I love it!! So now I just say, see ya, I’m off to forest bathe!

Flexibility is better than control

Throughout this time I decided on picking up some part-time work. This is within my experience as a counsellor. That was not on the goals list for 2020 but that’s the thing…when a virus is on the loose, and every piece of work in the diary is cancelled, making positive steps forward is all you can do. When you are a control freak, like I can be, it’s difficult to adapt to change. I’ve found over this time making loose plans is better, and letting go of disappointment when plans have to change up is key.

Social media doesn’t control me

We don’t have to be controlled by our social media. Everyone is broadcasting their own media channel to the world. Some opinions I agree with, some I disagree with, and that’s ok. There were points in lockdown when it felt like a mountain of negativity online. Scrolling through was like an onslaught. I missed smiley baby pictures, and news on what so and so had cooked for dinner!

When I’m scrolling on social media now I ask myself, what am I looking for? What do I need from this? Usually it’s just boredom, so I’m trying to switch it up and find something different to do.

Crying helps

I cried a lot at the beginning of lockdown. I just couldn’t help it! I found myself shaking my head to myself and just tearing up randomly. I’d be hanging my daughters clothes up in her wardrobe and see her summer uniform hanging there, still with the tags on, knowing she wouldn’t get to wear it. So I’d cry. 

Or, I’d be looking at the calendar noticing, oh, I should actually be somewhere else this week/weekend….and I’d cry. 

Or, I’d see a news item, that I would hugely empathise with, and cry. 

I cried buckets! And it helped. It helped so much. 

This last week, my tears have symbolised gratitude, and hope, and pride. It’s so good to ask yourself, ‘if my tears could talk, what would they be saying right now’. 

I’d cry, I’d feel better, then I’d carry on. And that’s what we as humans are so remarkable at doing. We are resilient, we are able, our brain and our bodies are geared for survival.

Looking ahead

As autumn draws in, I’m resolving to take one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at time. We only have now, that’s all we can work with, the now, this here moment. So how are we going to be right now?

Wishing you all the best as we head back to school, back to work, back to our new reality. 

Thanks for staying with me on the journey. Please let me know how you are, and what you have learned throughout the pandemic, you can email me: lilyjo@thelilyjoproject.com.  

More lockdown learnings from The Lily-Jo Project

If you’d like to read more lockdown learnings from our team, check out our recent blog article entitled ‘Post-Lockdown Reflection: What We’ve Learned at The Lily-Jo Project’.

About the Author

Lily-Jo is a singer and qualified counsellor. She is the founder of award-winning mental health resource: www.thelilyjoproject.com, designed in order to help the individual begin to help themselves. 

Check out her podcast eavesdrop here: https://www.thelilyjoproject.com/eavesdrop-podcast/ 

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