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How the mindset you adopt will determine how you fare during challenging times

Mar 30, 2020

Lockdown mindset

I write this blog fresh from a Joe Wicks PE workout. Was I big advocate of his fitness and food advice before lockdown? No. My fitness routine was a daily dog walk – a brisk dog walk but that was it. There’s the usual hurrying and scurrying that goes with being a working Mum of three but there’s not a kettle bell in sight.

However, in these COVID-19 lockdown times, I find myself craving structure and the Joe Wicks PE Workout provides that. It gets me and my girls in the right mindset to start the day and gives us a fab rush of endorphins to gain a sense of positivity – something greatly needed at the moment.

Up until now, I haven’t written a blog about the current situation which globally, we all face. I felt it important to change the focus, to give readers a brief respite from it all. However, I feel now, as we enter the second week of lockdown in the UK, it’s like the elephant in the room. The effects of this situation ripple out into every facet of our lives and so I believe it’s important to check in and ensure everyone is being consciously aware of the mindset they are adopting.

Your new normal

We might feel discombobulated because we are getting used to a whole new normal. We are watching the new, following with interest the trends of those countries ahead of us – China, Italy and Spain, and are wondering how the next few weeks are going to pan out. This is all an unknown.

I’m not going to sugar-coat this, tell you to be positive. These are uncertain times and we all face our own challenges. There will be those who are keyworkers with shift patterns, juggling childcare if their child doesn’t qualify for a place at school. They’re values lead them to do the job they do but understandably, they worry about the potential effect on them and those they live with. Those who live alone who might be feeling vulnerable and incredibly isolated; those who are in a house full of people but who don’t want to be locked in with those particular people; people extremely concerned about their job or business, people unable to see their GP about an related virus issue but cannot get an appointment, nor the medication the need. Everyone is facing so many different challenges right now and I believe the lack of sense of control we are feeling means we’re a bit like a ball on a pin ball machine being buffeted around by the circumstances we find ourselves in.

Courage and control

I don’t know about you, but I need some sense of control in all of this. An anchor on which I can hold on to. For me, that’s where the structure comes in.

Structure – that’s how I cope during all this – that’s my go-to. I have a plan for the day, which loosely pans out but I know everyone in my house is getting used to working a) from home and b) all together so sometimes, we need a break to check in on how everyone’s doing.

I also have a list of things I’d like to achieve in the coming weeks – to bake a cake with my youngest, without feeling like I need to interfere in the way she wants to do it - keeping my patience in check if things don’t go how I’d do them. Believe me – that’s an achievement for me! I’d like to paint all the woodwork in my hallway – three doors, door frames and skirting boards. Ambitious? It’s important to have a stretching goal so that’s mine. To get to bed earlier and read. I don’t read enough at bedtime to calm my busy mind. To exercise daily – not just the dog walk. To Zoom chat with friends – especially those I haven’t spoken to for a while. Keeping in touch helps us and others.

What can we learn through all this?

It’s about everyone finding the things which help to get them through this. What interests you? What excites you? What stretches the ole grey matter? What makes you laugh? What fills you with joy?

We potentially have two more weeks in the UK of lockdown so wouldn’t it be great to come out the other side with a sense of achievement. Yours could be that you kept your psyche intact and improved relationships with those you live with; maybe you’ll have a greater sense of pride about the work you do if you’re a keyworker – realise the part you play in keeping the wheel turning; maybe you’ve learnt a language, read books, taken up a new hobby, spoken to people via the telephonica who you lost touch with, been calmer and more patient with your children (another goal of mine!).

Having a sense of purpose throughout all this and keeping our mindset in check will make such a huge difference in how we weather this storm. Anxiety and worry are natural feelings but acknowledge them, process and figure out what you can do to reframe them to thoughts which will serve you well.

I appreciate that some people are working all hours as keyworkers and those in supermarkets and food deliveries – this is not meant to sound blithe – the essence of this is about mindset – doing what you need to do to get through this. Be proud of what you do and why you do it. Look after yourself because what you do is crucial to others.

It’s also a time for reflection – what do we learn about ourselves throughout this? Do we sink or swim? How resourceful are we? What are we more grateful for and are we taking less for granted?

Mindset is key. The mindset we adopt throughout all of this will have a huge impact in either hindering or helping us. Ensure it is the latter.

Pick n Mix

Below is a list compiled from either recommendations from me, or advice I have seen given by others. There is so much humour and great words of wisdom on social media right now, it’s sorting the wheat from the chaff and taking what is relevant and works for you.

  • Be led by facts, not fear. Check in on the latest news and guidelines and then opt out.
  • If you’re able to, exercise at least once a day – whatever form works for you.
  • Meditate 
  • Be creative with your home space and garden
  • Read a book or listen to music
  • Learn something new
  • Make different recipes
  • Play games
  • Do a good deed, remember those that are most vulnerable
  • Breathe - it’s so basic, but breathing exercises are basically magic. They work in minutes and you can do them anywhere.
  • Call a friend – connect with someone – it will help you and them
  • Laugh - it doesn’t matter what is funny – laughter is a huge releaser of endorphins. Silly memes, silly jokes, stand-up, rolling around with your kids – videos on YouTube. The sillier the better.
  • Do something with your hands – cook – tidy – knit – draw – bake – garden - mend things. It’s about focusing the mind.
  • Enjoy the sun when it’s here. If you can’t go outside, sit by an open window and enjoy the fresh air and the sun on your face.
  • Be kind to yourself and others.
  • Remember – if you have children at home, you are not a teacher. They can do some school work but also remember to do things together – read, build a fort, make a den, laugh
  • Count your blessings. Sometimes we forget to when we allow worry and anxiety to take hold.
  • Be mindful of the mental health of your nearest and dearest. Check in with them.
  • Get plenty of zzz. It helps to keep us strong.
  • Watch, listen and read inspirational TED Talks, articles, music, books. Feed your mind with the good stuff.

Stay safe. Stay sane.


COVID-19: Mindset Survival Plan
Check out our Winning Edge YouTube Channel, where you'll find my series of videos, where I will explore the importance of our mindset during these challenging times and share top tips on how to manage your thinking, to feel more resilient and in control. 

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