Last week’s article about making good decisions in a pandemic gathered some happy feedback. Continuing on with the covid theme, this week we thought we would discuss another phenomenon that we are hearing anecdotally about life after Covid restrictions in general and, for many of our clients living in the wrong part of Australia, lockdowns in particular. Many people are struggling to get their mojo back.
So, we did some research and came across some excellent advice for people who are not bouncing back as quickly as they might have expected, which we have summarised with the following tips. Please feel free to pass this email on to anyone you know that might find it useful.
Tip 1 – Be Good to Yourself
Back in early 2020, there was a bit of a craze for ‘making the most’ of lockdowns. People vowed to take up baking, or teach themselves a musical instrument, or to do some other thing that they had never had time for. Now as the country opens up again, well, many people are looking back and asking: what did I do with all that time? And how come I still can’t hold a note?
It is a natural question with, we think, a simple answer: you survived. And if you did that, then you should be proud of that fact alone. It doesn’t matter if you still burn toast or you haven’t written the Great Australian Novel. You are still standing, and that’s actually good enough.
Tip 2 – Take Things One Step at a Time
For a lot of people, life became very restricted in 2020 and 2021. Don’t think you can now simply flick a switch and go back to how busy you were in February 2020. When a sportswoman returns from injury, she starts off slowly because she knows that she is not ‘match-fit’ like she was before the layoff. Same goes for each part of our lives, really. It takes time to (re)build the ability to get as much done as we used to. So, start small with the absolute priorities and let things build over time.
Tip 3 – Maybe Keep Things Short
On a similar them, many of us have needed to keep our own company more than usual over the last two years. This can mean that we have lost some endurance when it comes to spending time with other people. A full day in a noisy office might leave us feeling more tired than we remember.
The best advice when you feel tired is simply to rest. It might sound silly to need a rest after doing something we are used to doing quite easily, like a day in the office or an afternoon with friends, but there is such a thing as ‘social fitness’ as well. It might take time to build it.
Tip 4 – Schedule in Some Fun Just Because it is Fun
Life can get busy and, especially for people coming out of lockdown and who are finding the hardware store open again, there can be a long to-do list of chores and necessities waiting for us. There can be a bit of a temptation to focus on these ‘must-dos’ at the expense of things we simply want to do.
Put the fun stuff on the to-do list too. The last two years have been hard enough and everyone has earned the right to let their hair down. In fact, some people even think that the roaring 20s (the 1920s, that is) were caused in part by the world’s response to the ending of the Spanish Flu pandemic – although the end of WW1 may have had something to do with that, as well.
Whatever. The point is that taking time to enjoy yourself after a difficult period is a natural and healthy thing to want to do. So trust your instinct and make fun a priority.
Tip 5 – Let the Sun Shine
Years ago, we came across some research that shows that share prices rise more on sunny days than cloudy days. The basic idea was that sunshine makes us more optimistic. Sunshine is a great source of Vitamin D, low levels of which can be related to low mood. So, as summer arrives, make sure you head outside and let the sun do it’s thing.
Just remember to use sunscreen – because the research shows that sunshine still gives us our vitamin D even if we slip, slop and slap.
Tip 6 – Remember, Everyone Else is a bit Shell-shocked, Too
This last one might be the most important. If you are feeling a bit nervous about things opening up again after the experiences of 2020/21, don’t think you are alone. Many people are. So, again, be kind to yourself – and be kind to others as well.
Maybe also be a little brave socially, because there is a very good chance that many people are feeling a little shy about reconnecting with old friends or making new connections with new friends. In the movie ‘We Bought a Zoo’ Matt Damon’s character counsels his young son that “sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”
So, as our final point, let’s all try to be a little bit more Matt Damon and a little less shy monkey. Good luck and enjoy!