Eight months ago (at the time of writing this) we were at the very beginning of the pandemic and the widespread disruption that COVID-19 brought with it. This blog looks at the differences between Lockdown 1.0 and Lockdown 2.0 and what you can do to build resilience. Back in Lockdown 1.0 (LD1) we had hope, we had the summer ahead and personally I had miles of cycling in my legs. Cycling was great, no cars on the roads, fantastic weather, and a Mallorca triathlon in October for me to train for (I still had hope back then that the triathlon would take place).
We had the Houseparty App novelty, the summers evenings, people were on Furlough and getting paid to do nothing (Some with salaries topped back up by the company so they were effectively on fully-paid holiday). Some had the challenge of working whilst managing home schooling, cancellations of various holidays, and business really struggling due to the uncertainty of the pandemic. That was Lockdown 1.0, bad for some, not for others, the novelty did wear off and rules were then relaxed for the summer.
Roll forward eight months and we are just coming out of Lockdown 2.0 (LD2). “Lockdown Fatigue” is now mentioned a lot, we are social creatures, and I for one crave heading down my local bar on a Friday evening; how one can take life’s simple pleasures for granted! I think we can mostly agree that Lockdown 2.0 is what one could mildly describe as a “struggle”. Winter is here now so the nights are darker, all the news we see (apart from advances on vaccinations) seems to be constantly negative. School “bubbles” keep isolating and causing disruption, the government seems to flip-flop on rules, and quite frankly everyone is getting fed up with COVID. For many (myself included) it is/can be a mental struggle. There is now a very different spiritual environment in LD2, and as social animals we are all getting very tired of social restrictions.
How do we manage our way through this? At Red Tiger Coaching there are many ways we can help you, so do get in touch if you would like to explore the careers coaching options we offer. Here are five tips that I suggest to help you (and our coaching can expand on this) towards what I am calling “The Spring of Hope” (When a Vaccine should be rolling out and restriction measures should be lifting)!
- Get in the Right Mindset – Some people naturally have this, others do not. If you don’t, then here is your priority area to work on. Techniques to improve your mindset are wide and varied but things I have found work are:
- Mindfulness – just 10 minutes meditation a day over a sustained (say 8 weeks) period really does work at helping to quieten the mind and help you to relax (and sleep) and also to think clearer
- Try to focus on the positives – this is hard with all the negative news but if this affects you then start to limit your news exposure, try to think of one positive thing each day no matter how small We all know there will be an end to this situation so think forwards to that point if you can.
- Give yourself something to look forward to – this again is a challenge as holidays, eating at a restaurant or meeting your mates aren’t possible at the moment. But think and grasp hold of what is possible – order a nice takeaway, plan some exercise (more on this below).
This is very much linked to point 1 but as we know exercise has many benefits, I for one really feel the endorphins after a good evening run. If you are not into exercise this can be a difficult hurdle but one that with resolve can reap many benefits. I suggest giving yourself an exercise goal – for example couch to 5km run may be a good start?
I’d also suggest booking yourself on a summer 5 or 10k race – once committed this can make you focus and you can do you training now (weather is a negative but it will help force you out). It can take an average of 66 days to form a habit so try and focus on a few months of running 3 days a week to begin with and don’t increase your distance by any more than 10% per week. You will then find that you realise the benefits of running not only from the health side and endorphins but also the sense of achievement. If you really can’t see yourself running, there are loads of other forms of exercise; a daily walk for instance can be really beneficial to mood. Yoga and other less weight bearing activities can also help.
- Use time and space to think about your career
This is especially important if you are on Furlough (Hence you will have more time). Even if you are not on Furlough you will probably also have more time (There’s not a lot else we can all do). Time is the golden ticket so you need to try and think more about what you enjoy at work, what are the prospects in your current role, what can you do differently at work in certain situations?
At Red Tiger Coaching we can help with the whole process of working out your strengths. Analyse your strengths and development systems to give you your significant 7 strengths, and then activate a few 1:1 sessions to review the results and start to explore and discuss areas for development or change.
With all the uncertainty still out there, this can be very difficult and most of us have got out of the planning mindset. We are creatures of habit and in an unstable world planning can help to give some normality back to our lives. We often have and feel like there is too much to do, and do not know where to start. This is where a coach can help as not only a sounding board but also a “monkey on your shoulder” to keep you in line with any actions you agree to and then eventually to help you make progress in your life.
We can all get into a habit of running on autopilot, accepting everything as it is, and not challenging ourselves. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (Which I have referred to in a few blogs prior to this one) shows that the top 2 segments (Esteem and Self Actualisation) can often be neglected in our lives as they naturally slip down our priority order. Having a career coach will make sure that these needs are supplemented and will help you to plan how to make sure you improve your Esteem and also will help you to strive towards maximising your full potential.
Click here to read ‘Getting out of your Comfort Zone’ which examines our basic needs as humans and how we can really push ourselves to higher levels by challenging ourselves to get out of that comfort zone!
- Learn something new
I have seen many examples of when people have been furloughed, felt comfortable with the time off and not thought about the fact that their role is at risk, only to have been made redundant. All I would say to people now (and I said it through LD1 and LD2) is that you should use the time to try and learn a new skill. I learnt Alteryx during LD1 and devised a training course on it for beginners. If I hadn’t done this, looking back I would definitely feel disappointed that I hadn’t achieved something. I also managed to cycle 70 miles in one go which is the longest cycle I have ever done.
Having a careers coach can help you to think around areas for development and then also make sure you implement a plan to cover those areas, making sure it happens. In an uncertain economy, having additional skills will make you naturally more of an asset either to your existing employer or to a future employer. Use your time well and prioritise what you should learn and then plan how you should learn that skill.
In conclusion, most of society is naturally hitting lockdown fatigue and until we reach more normality (most likely Summer 2021), we all need to try and do things to build up resilience. Start with the five areas that I suggest above and see how you get on. If even just one area of this blog resonates with you, why not get in touch with Red Tiger Coaching and book a free initial chat to see what coaching can do for you? If you take that leap of faith, I guarantee you will not regret it.
Email Steve on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07979 756257.