As I’ve been working from home during this lockdown period I recently noticed a rising sense of unease in myself. Once I stopped to think about this feeling I discovered it was linked to the tidal wave of information in my social media accounts, on the news and in my email box giving me advice about how I should be doing life in lockdown. I’m guessing that I’m not the only one. Parents who are managing work, household tasks and the needs of children as well as young adults who have their own social media accounts may be feeling this pressure too. Even young children may be feeling some pressure about what is the right way to feel or things to do.
While social media, the world wide web and emails are fantastic for keeping in touch with family and friends and keeping informed they can also become a measuring stick against which we grade ourselves. As always people present their best selves on social media and it is wise to think carefully about what you are viewing from other people and make conscious decisions about whether what they are sharing is useful or not. Remember that most social media platforms will allow you to stop seeing posts you are finding bothersome without informing the person that you have done so. Feel free to use this feature liberally as needed.
Each one of us will be managing the lockdown under level 4 and upcoming transition to level 3 in a different way. I’d like to encourage you to take a moment to acknowledge and accept the way that you are feeling. There is no right or wrong way to feel. To help support this you may find it is helpful to try out a breathing exercise. A simple one is box breathing. Exhale deeply then take a breath in for the count of 4, hold the breath for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4 and pause for a count of 4 before starting the cycle again. If you would like a visual support check out the link to a Headspace video of a breathing exercise https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEqZthCaMpo .
What feels good to you now? Whether it’s going for a long run or sitting on the couch watching TV then that’s OK.
Robyn Stead, Child Psychologist and Educator, lives and works in central Auckland.