Watching the news on Sunday I wanted to cry! I don’t know what I expected, and honestly I completely agree that we shouldn’t be rushing forward and leaving lockdown for fear of a second wave of the virus but...... I want normality again, I want to see my friends for coffee, I want to go out for lunch / dinner, I want to visit family, I want to see my clients in my Consulting room again (which is slowly being taken over with other projects), I want structure and routine again, I want my roots colouring.... I’m sure you can all add to this list.
Stressful times can affect our productivity and mindset and the current lockdown is no different.
I recovered the next morning, I took time to think about what was good, what I had achieved in this time and how much I was actually enjoying life at a slower pace. I am also hugely grateful that myself and loved ones have not been affected by Covid-19.
Keeping busy has been a massive stress reliever for me. Some of my clients were wary about moving onto online sessions so have paused until lockdown is over, so I found myself with some time to do all those things that I kept meaning to do like writing a blog, doing my accounts, preparing social media posts, reading and researching but also, importantly, non-work related things too such as going for longer walks with my little pooch instead of rushing her around the block, reading books that are not work related, getting involved in some craft projects at home and having meals together with my furloughed family.
Keeping busy at home is not easy for everyone (including me) we are so used to rushing about squeezing jobs and activities into our busy lives that to suddenly stop and have endless amounts of time on our hands can cause anxiety, stress and disorientation. We could even feel a sense of loss and hopelessness for the life we have temporarily left behind.
I recently read an article written by Susan Biali Haas in Psychology Today about the positive effects on the brain when you work with your hands. This article covered creative work but also activities like housework, tasks that you are absorbed in and don’t have to think too much about. She explains that using your hands on a task that doesn’t demand too much cognitive attention gives the mind an opportunity to relax.
Continuing, Susan says: using our hands is primal, we were made to use our hands for our survival. We rarely get the chance to now. With the onset of modern technology most things are done at the push of a button.
When we work, we use our brain, a lot! In between and after work we still use our brain constantly, reading articles or books to help us with our work and further training in the various outlets available in our field of expertise. We rarely switch off.
In this modern age of smartphones our brain doesn’t really have any down time; however, research shows that when we give our brain a rest it has the opportunity to focus on the things in our mind behind the scenes and come up with solutions.
I know my best ideas come to me when I am completely relaxed, conducting a trance session for a client!
Being creative and producing results with your hands gives you a sense of achievement, makes you feel good about yourself and gives you that emotional sense of wellbeing.
Creative tasks using your hands can be anything that gives you joy.
Listening to clients and friends the last few weeks I have been amazed at the activities they have discovered or rediscovered and how creative and resilient they have become.
One of these is my own hubby, G. Over the last month he has become Mr DIY, using his hands to tackle tasks and projects that have long been on his to do list. Now we have the best-looking fascia boards on the street (although watching him balance at the top of a ladder 12 feet in the air didn’t do anything for my stress levels). Our drive has been power washed and re-sanded and is absolutely gleaming! Every architrave and skirting in the house are glosse
The more DIY he is doing using his hands the more relaxed and content he is and the fact that he may be furloughed (he works in the entertainment industry) for another couple of months isn’t fazing him in the slightest. He’s upbeat and optimistic even though he is usually a glass half empty kind of guy.
By the way he’s not available for hire ha ha.
When researching for this article I got chatting with friends and family and was blown away by what everyone has been up to, I thought I would share:
- Knitting, crocheting – lovely activities using your hands and once you get the hang of it can be done without too much thought. A client has knitted me a little Miniature Schnauzer to say thank you (it’s gorgeous).
- Puzzles, Paint by Numbers – Lovely activities that can be done alone or shared with the family. My friend has been doing her 1000 piece Puzzle with her teenage children and has admitted that they have a calmer household, when she fully expected disruption and upset during the lockdown period with two teens.
- Gardening – There’s something very therapeutic about pulling out weeds, mowing the lawn and planting new life into the garden. Very satisfying with the added bonus of being in the fresh air
- DIY – painting and decorating, making something look brand new, fresh and clean is completely rewarding. Some family members have refurbished their wardrobes by painting them when the plan was to get new ones. A lick of paint on the walls too and voila, a total transformation!!
- Blogging - a lovely young lady I know has discovered she has a talent for writing and is turning painful, personal experiences into a positive by creating her own website and blogging about them with positive outcomes, read here: https://unspokenthoughtsdotorg.wordpress.com
- Photography – I have been overwhelmed with the talent one of my clients has shown during this pandemic. Not only photographing beautiful elements of nature on her daily walk but then going home and capturing the images on canvas!
What I have discovered is that the people who are having some down time to explore hobbies or get stuck into their cleaning jobs are the ones who are managing to stay calm and positive in this difficult time. But don’t worry If you don’t have any hobbies or activities, now could be the perfect time to begin one! There are so many online courses, classes and opportunities for discovery that now could be the perfect time to try. So, if you watched Ghost and always dreamed of making your own pottery now could be your time to learn and do something creative with your hands.
I am sure there are lots of you who have discovered a new hobby or completed jobs in the last few weeks and have given your mind a good rest, I would love to hear about them so please feel free to share them in the comments below.
Clinical Hypnotherapist & Solution Focused Practitioner