What is your off switch?
Do you use it?
I have been working as a therapeutic coach for over 15 years and not surprisingly extremely busy since March 2020. Through the hundreds of conversations, I have noticed several patterns of behaviour and thought in the people who are struggling.
Responding to the pandemic as a threat with either a freeze, flight or fight response.
Distorting reality using one of the following five disempowering strategies.
Catastrophising – making every mole hill into a mountain. In their self-talk using words like, always, never, every-time.
Me, Me, Me – making everything your fault and your responsibility.
Them, Them, Them Interpretation every situation as the fault or the responsibility of someone else, eliminating any possible control, influence or power for themselves.
Mind reading. Deciding what is or isn’t in the thoughts of someone else without any evidence to support it. invariably, the manifested thoughts are negative, and unsupportive.
Helpless, Hopeless, Worthless. Using internal self-talk that results in the feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, or worthlessness.
And yet many people are surviving and event thriving physically, psychologically, emotionally, even financially, in the pandemic.
I have noticed in conversations with people who are doing well psychologically since March there are patterns in how they are thinking, believing and behaving.
Common patterns of those who are thriving include,
o Control / influence. – noticing where they have control and influence and where they don’t and focus on where they do.
o Forward focused and optimistic
o Physically active
o Spend time outside.
o Aware – notice things in their environment, their thoughts, their feelings, changes in others.
o Have a sense of purpose.
o Use gratitude, meditation, or prayer.
o Creative writing or journaling
o Spend little time looking at a screen.
o Have a creative hobby.
In the past few week, the importance of having a creative hobby is what has really stood out for me as an important tool for mental well being. I have noticed how few people have either never had or have given up hobbies that don’t rely on a screen. It seems, for many, that hobbies have been squeezed out, given up, cast aside during university, not to be picked up again. Those that have retained their hobbies, re-engaged with them, or found new ones, them tell me how valuable their hobbies are, giving them time to turn off, and recharge. For some they have found lockdown an opportunity to try new skills, maybe out of boredom, to discover pleasure and a sense of achievement.
If you are struggling with boredom, anxiety, insomnia, especially in the dark evenings of lockdown, I would invite you to, turn off the screen, experiment and try a creative hobby. Popular hobbies seem to include;
- dress making and other needlecrafts,
- painting, including painting by numbers,
- card making,
- playing a musical instrument
- creative writing and journaling
You may think the list of hobbies sounds old fashioned, boring, or uncool, please don’t knock it until you have tried it, they seem to be a very common strategies for those people who are coping well.
What are your hobbies how have they helped you in the pandemic?
If you don’t have a hobby, what interests you and what will you take up?
Please share your thoughts and your pictures.
Stay safe, Stay healthy, Stay happy
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