If you can’t go outside – go inside!

What does isolation mean to you? Do you see it as a punishment – or an opportunity? Are you one of those saying, “I’m bored!” or one of those saying, “I’ve never been so busy!”

Normally our days are full – work, family, social life, (anti) social media – distractions abound, so we don’t have time to just sit and “be”.
We are, after all, human BEings and not human DOings – but we seem to have forgotten that along the way!

Those who stuck at home may be starting to feel very uncomfortable with their own company, especially if they are used to being in a large office, or going out with friends.

This is a good opportunity to take time to get to know the real you, the one you perhaps avoided in the past. A bit like looking in the mirror, but looking much more deeply, into your soul, and finding that inner you that would love to shine like a beacon but that is probably a tad dimmed down through neglect.

How do you do that, and what will you find? You can do it in a number of ways, but they all involve being in that lovely state of relaxation that asks your conscious mind to get out of the way and allows your unconscious mind to roam free. For some people it could be a walk in the countryside or on a beach – social distancing rules permitting, of course. For others it may be sitting quietly and comfortably at home, with the mobile phone turned off – yes, really – and with some relaxing music to help the mind to settle.

Let your mind go as quiet and blank as you can. If thoughts float in, well, let them float right on out again, as if they are on clouds scudding across the sky. It will take a bit of practice, but once your mind gets the idea, it will be very happy to slow the pace and calm down.

Just sit and see what comes to you. It might be an emotion – which one? Anger? Frustration? Loneliness? Sit with it. Give it a colour, a shape, see where it comes from, what it wants to say to you. Does that sound silly? Probably, but try it anyway. You will be starting the process of “Peeling the emotional onion” and yes, it may well make you cry, be prepared for that. These are emotions that you have stuffed away for far too long, and that need to be released. Let them go, you don’t need them any more.

You may come up with some aspects of you that are not so nice, the ones you usually keep tucked away from other people. These are what we call “shadows” and we all have them. You can recognise them when you are with other people (remember that?) – if someone does or says something that irritates you, or makes you embarrassed – ask yourself why? Is there something in you that mirrors that?

This peeling of the emotional onion is an ongoing work in progress, it is never done, but with each layer that comes off, you will feel so much lighter. Just like those who are taking time to sort out a physical space and throw away the rubbish, so taking time to sort out your emotional space and getting rid of the stuff you no longer need is even healthier for you!

If you would like to have a chat about this, or any other aspect of your wellbeing at this time, give me a call: it can often help to talk with an experienced someone who does not have an agenda, who listens to what you have to say without judgment and who can perhaps offer a few suggestions if appropriate. I’m on 01444 459 433 or 07597 020 512.

Coping with Coronavirus Confinement

When all is well in our lives – when there is financial security: everyone is healthy: and we can come and go as we please – then it is very easy to “paper over the cracks”, to ignore those pressure points in a relationship.

When all is not well, the pressure builds and the cracks become very obvious.
In this current situation when we all have to stay at home, when couples – and families – are being forced to spend more time together than they usually do – we have all the ingredients for a storm.

“Out there” there is an atmosphere of anxiety and fear, not helped by the media and their screaming panic-peddling headlines. The energy is heavy, oppressive and negative – it’s a good job the sun is shining (as I write this at least!) – that helps to lift the spirits.

Nowadays our lives are very full – stress and deadlines at work; children have their own social agendas that need to be organised; running the household is a job in itself. Shopping, socialising, sport – it all fills up our waking hours. And much of it serves as a distraction from looking at what’s going on inside ourselves, from listening to that little voice that begs to be heard.

Those who now have time on their hands might find it increasingly uncomfortable. They will call it boring, they will say they are stifled, frustrated and so on – but perhaps they don’t like the idea of having to sit with themselves. To those people, I would say, “what is it that you are finding uncomfortable? What is it that wants to be heard?” And perhaps more important, “what are you going to do about it?”

This whole situation marks a massive energy shift, a huge change, and things will not go back to the way they were. It is an opportunity to work with ourselves, to look at who we are and, more importantly, who we would like to be. It can be an uncomfortable process, peeling that emotional onion, taking off the layers of pretence and show to discover the real you underneath. But as uncomfortable as it is, it is also enormously empowering, and stepping into the power of the true you gives you a new-found confidence and self-awareness that does not come from designer business outfits or a new drop-top car; from alcohol or drugs.

For those who are forced into spending more time than usual with a partner, the situation is equally challenging. Little cracks in a relationship can so easily become gaping chasms. Minor irritations grow into major issues. If you are sensitive, empathic or intuitive, this will be more likely, as you will be picking up on “stuff” that is flying around you.
This could be a very good opportunity to take time and discuss those issues that keep coming up but that keep being shelved because there is never time or space to do them justice. Keep it polite. Don’t bring up issues from years ago unless they are really relevant. Keep emotion out of it – stick to the facts. Don’t just hurl random accusations – back up your statements with examples. Listen. Really listen. Don’t talk over the other person. We are all allowed one walk a day – use it wisely! Go for a walk in the park, get some fresh air, blow away the cobwebs, talk about what is troubling you.

Confinement can bring people together or it can drive them apart: recognise the opportunity for what it is and use it wisely.