Remembering the power of the pause during Lockdown
Until recently life felt like one long round of busy. Everybody rushing to get to somewhere and reading or talking on our phones as we travelled to our destinations; heads down with little eye contact or time for each other. Now we have (for most of the population) the complete opposite. Enforced working from home or no work at the moment as our employers initiate the process of us being furloughed.
As I look out of my window at the winding, distanced queue of people lining up for their supermarket shop, this morning I have time to watch the queue and notice what else is going on in the street. I normally would glance, now I am paused; I have time to really look at what is going on outside my window.
Then came COVID-19. Coronavirus has impacted on every aspect of our lives; it is absolutely unprecedented. We are living through a moment of history.
I started off the enforced lockdown stressed, fearful and devouring every news bulletin that I could watch on TV. Feeling anxious, watching the news, receiving a notification from the news app on my phone, feeling more and more anxious, like a hamster on a wheel going round faster and faster. I quickly realised that this was adding to my fears and growing anxiety; so I had to give myself a 'pattern interrupt'; that is something to break the pattern that I was quickly developing, to slow down the hamster wheel so I could pause and get off.
My pattern interrupt has to be to remember the power of the pause. That means being able to switch off the television, my mobile phone news app, put my phone down and be. We are human 'beings' and this situation is encouraging us to do exactly that 'be' in the moment, stop, pause a moment, look around you, be present in this moment.
It reminds me of when I was on holiday three years ago: it was the last morning of our holiday and we had just enough time to go for a last snorkel on the hotel coral reef and pack. My husband is a keen underwater photographer and I suggested that he leave the camera as we were unlikely to see anything different on this last snorkel. As we were enjoying the corals and fish, my son pointed out a stonefish and we all snorkelled down to see it. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a large, graceful manta ray gliding behind us towards the deeper blue water. We turned and followed this amazing sight for what felt like such a long time. It was five minutes of pausing time and absolutely being in the moment.
When we came out and shared the experience, my husband was wishing he had had his camera and my son said 'But dad if we had had our camera’s we would have been so busy looking down at the stonefish, we would have missed the manta ray altogether'.
Remembering the power of the pause during lockdown is about being present, noticing things that we don’t normally have time for, being available, present to see the things we wouldn’t normally have time for.
I have a small manta ray on my desk to remind me to stop, pause and look around; something that I didn’t have a lot of time for before lockdown. Now that I have, I am going to take this as an opportunity to pause.
If you feel that you are struggling to manage feelings of overwhelm and anxiety, perhaps talking to a professional counsellor may help. Many therapists are offering online and telephone support.
Perhaps you are already finding yourself pausing and reflecting on your life and wondering what changes you might make when the lockdown is over. Speaking to a life coach could help you use this time to prepare for any changes ahead.
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