The coronavirus COVID-19 has had an unquestionable impact on our lives and the lives of people across the globe. One of the biggest challenges faced by humans as a collective has been going into lockdown. For the time being, our movements, our ability to see friends and loved ones, and even where we work, is all restricted.
Self-isolation has left many of us feeling anxious and out of control, and for those who already felt alone, the silence is louder than ever. Our daily interactions with those we care about are restricted, and our routines have been left in chaos. We lack the distractions we perhaps took for granted before – whether commuting to work, attending social events or just having chit chat, we can no longer avoid ourselves.
While many of us often long for a bit of time to ourselves – time, which may be fundamental to our self-care routines – having too much time to be with ourselves can be problematic.
We humans are often blissfully unaware of our true selves. We often hide our faults from ourselves so that we don’t have to face the reality that we aren’t perfect. Being presented with our limitations can make us feel vulnerable and insecure. However, it can also offer us the opportunity to grow and to become the person we want to be.
Social distancing has presented us with an invaluable opportunity to get to know our true selves. We have nothing but time to listen to ourselves and to tune in to our thoughts and feelings. We have an unprecedented opportunity to get to know what motivates us, what scares us, what drives and excites us. We can ask ourselves who we want to be, and who we don’t! We have time to work out what we need to become the version of ourselves we dream of being. What do we need in order to grow? What do we need from ourselves? What do we need from others?
But how do we get to know ourselves?
Journaling is a very simple task, which is proven to be incredibly effective in promoting positive mental health. Writing down your thoughts as they come to you, can help you to track your thought patterns, your emotions, and also your triggers. It can help you to identify your hopes, your dreams, but also your fears. You can track yourself over a period of time and look back at your progress and how far you have come. Journaling is incredibly practical in that all you need is time and something to write on, whether that be pen and paper or even your phone. Journaling can be an excellent opportunity to get into a habit of thinking and talking about yourself in a positive light. You can give yourself the affirmations that you need to hear.
Similarly, video blogging can be an incredibly effective tool for getting to know yourself on a deeper level. Video blogging can feel more effortless than journaling and can be more efficient in keeping up with the fast pace of your thoughts. It can feel more like self-counseling and can feel like a more natural method of expression for extroverts and those who find talking beneficial. Similarly, it can be a great way of pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone if you are a little more introverted, and it is a great way to practice and witness your progress over time.
Going for walks and spending time in nature can also grant you the peace and quiet to hear yourself think, and to allow your thoughts to wander and see where they take you. While we are permitted to take one walk a day for exercise, perhaps consider taking out your headphones, remove distractions, and discover where your mind takes you.
Finding yourself goes beyond listening to your thoughts, however, and this can be problematic for those who struggle with poor mental health or negative thoughts. Beyond all else, finding yourself can and should be fun!
We all have within each of us, skills, and talents just waiting to be discovered and unlocked. Being in lockdown or self-isolation, you have the opportunity to experiment and dip your toes in different ponds to see what you enjoy. You can read articles online on topics you had previously never given a second thought to, watch how-to videos online, and download apps. You can try your hand at new languages (including sign language), get creative with arts, crafts and cooking, try different online exercise classes on youtube. You can take online personality tests, such as the Myers Briggs test, to see what types of career you are best suited to. You can play with your routine – are you best suited to having freedom, or do you perform best with structure and routine? Does it make a difference if you exercise in the morning or at lunchtime as opposed to the evening? Do you feel more refreshed after reading during your lunch break (if you are working from home), or going for a walk? These are all lessons you can apply when life resumes again. The possibilities are endless. You never know what you might be good at and what you might enjoy until you try.
We currently have an unprecedented opportunity to get to know ourselves for better, worse, or otherwise. Seize that opportunity today!
About the Author: PMAC trainer Hayley Broughton-McKinna, a UK psychologist who has worked as a manager for UK charity NAPAC and currently works in law enforcement, explores how to support the mental health of survivors of abuse.
The opinions and views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in this article or linked to herein.
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