Life (and isolation) is a series of phases and stages, of cycles and seasons, of ups and downs.
My experience in isolation is that some days I feel good, and then other days I feel emotional and cry a lot; there are ups and downs – accepting this is key to coping.
Following a few good days where I feel happy and peaceful comes a crashing low, where I feel flat and a bit lonely. Then a busy few days followed by lethargy and procrastination. Some days I am on the phone talking and connecting then others are quiet… nobody. Energetic at times, slothful at others – Does this sound familiar?
For those of you isolating with others it might be different: a few days where you are accepting and kind, followed by times when you are critical and finding fault. A low day comes along when you want more time alone and there are tired days, and times when you just want to scream and cry and laugh all at the same time. Calm and happy days roll around where you are grateful for what you have and then the cycle goes around again. Does this sound familiar?
This is normal – It’s obvious but……
Valleys and Mountains
Day and Night
Joy and Suffering
These seeming opposites would not exist without the other – there is a pattern
Breathing in and Breathing out
The tide’s ebb and flow
Everything comes and goes
We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity Ann Morrow Lindebergh
Some days we feel at peace and enjoy the calm and quiet; I know I have had days like this where I have enjoyed listening to the birds and the silence.
- Be grateful for the good days – make the most of them.
- Tell those around you that you love them, that you appreciate the things they do.
- Get out into nature and breathe deeply, looking around at the sky, grass, trees, birds – these things are available to most of us somewhere.
Like the seasons of the year, life changes frequently and drastically. You enjoy it or endure it as it comes and goes, as it ebbs and flows. Burgess Meredith
Not so good days
For me acceptance is the key
This is it – this is what’s going on – no judgement – no narrative – no yak yak yak in my head – this is it.
Remember self-care and compassion for yourself and others – be kind and gentle with your mind and you will be gentle with others.
Some days are bad
A bad day is just that – a bad day, even if you do all the things that you know you should do.
Know that this day will pass and accept that you feel like this. If you accept that life and isolation will be like this sometimes, and let go of the notion that it has to always be good and happy – then the lows won’t feel so bad; the day will become easier, lighter if you let go of the need for it to be a good one.
Don’t identify with the low feeling, accept that is in or upon you – it is not you!
In some languages feelings come upon you
– it’s not a case of “I am blue” – it’s more like “The blues are upon me”.
1) Breathe Deeply – Breathe in your abdomen – Relax
This is something worth learning. It changed my life.
When a dancer friend taught me how to do abdominal breathing my mild panic attacks became controllable, and now I return consciously to my breath if I am wobbly.
This is one of the best clips I found on how to do it.
2) Be creative
The Getty Museum sent a challenge to people in isolation – to recreate great works of art from household objects. Below are some funny ones:
- Reach out to people – use technology or the basic phone.
- Smile at people on your walk. This is a gesture of generosity – GIVE people a smile.
- Find people and causes online to connect with.
Get some coaching
I am offering free phone or online sessions at this difficult time – get in touch.
- From the news and constant streams of information. Take in what you need to know, then disconnect.
- Turn the television off for long periods – whole days.
5) Get outdoors
As always, I recommend connecting with nature. Even if you can only just stare at the clouds, it’s valuable.
No matter where you are there will be a tree within walking distance – go say hello and really get to know it. This is a good time of year to watch the changes. I took some colleagues into the woods once, to really get up close to trees; even the most hard-headed types were surprised at how good it was.
6) Weather the storm
All we can do sometimes is hold tight and wait until things get better.