‘There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.’
Lockdown has been the most challenging time my family have ever gone through. It triggered a severe mental health issue with my mum which still hasn’t been fully understood, and it has been and still is extremely distressing for me, my family and all those who care about her.
There is plenty of evidence that the coronavirus has been a disaster for the world. So far over 525,854 people have died, it’s predicted that we’re facing the worst recession since the Great Depression, and it’s led to a lot of stress and anxiety.
But I think it’s important to recognise that even in the midst of the worst of times, there are positive things, and in fact, sometimes good things come from a crisis.
Here are 10 benefits of Lockdown that I’ve noticed in my own life:
- I’ve been pushed further to overcome my fear of rejection
It’s a fear that holds me back in many aspects of my life and has done since I can remember: a fear of upsetting people or making them angry, and that either damaging or breaking our relationship. It results in an avoidance of all conflict, and a desire to make everyone happy all the time.
In business terms, it makes sales really hard because of my fear that people will say that I’m bothering them, needy, pushy or greedy.
During the coronavirus, however, I’ve made further strides towards overcoming this by pushing myself to call more people and offer them my services directly. And so far, it’s gone very well!
2. Lots of quality time with my family
When lockdown was imminent, I moved back to my parents’ in Sevenoaks with my fiancé and sister. It’s been so lovely spending much more time together than we ever would have normally. Going for walks, cooking together and generally just being around each other is a gift.
3. Being there for each other
It’s been a very stressful and anxious time for my family, but the fact that we’re all together has made it so much easier to deal with. I’ve really seen and appreciated how much love, generosity and kindness we all show for each other, and that has been wonderful.
4. Getting a dog!
Our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Harry, died last year at the age of 15. He was so loved by our family and we hadn’t been able to bring ourselves to replace him. But the current situation spurred us to get in touch with some breeders.
After several phone calls, in which my sister had to prove we weren’t just getting a dog because we were bored, and after reading out Harry’s family tree to the breeder and discovering that she’d bred his grandad, Jill agreed to give us a dog who’d just missed the cut for being a show dog. He’s 15 months old and guess what: he was called Harry!
We’ve only had him a month and he’s brought so much joy to our family already.
5. Realising I’m happy living outside of London
I’ve been talking about leaving for a while, but being in Sevenoaks has really reinforced the benefits of living in a calmer, greener space, with cleaner air and a slower pace of life. After 12 years, it really feels like time to leave the big smoke.
6. Running my first online course
My 6-week course, ‘ Overcoming anxiety’ was a great success and spurred me to create Mindful Magic: How to feel peace, love and joy here and now. It means people can join from all over the country, in the comfort of their home.
7. Finding there’s an appetite for daily mindfulness
I love to share my passion for mindfulness by teaching it, so it’s been really enjoyable to run a one-hour session every weekday called Mindful Magic, and to find that people come every time. It’s still running every week, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. You’re welcome to join!
It’s been particularly moving for me to have my friends join and to hear them express how much more peaceful they have felt by the end.
I’ve also had companies hiring me to run weekly sessions, which they weren’t before.
8. Exploring where I grew up
We moved to Sevenoaks when I was one, but it’s only since lockdown that I’ve actually started to explore the stunning countryside all around where we live. It’s been a revelation and I have a whole new appreciation for the area.
9. Being on a life-changing online course
Just after lockdown, I started doing the Finders Course, which claims to be able to help you achieve ‘fundamental wellbeing’, meaning that you feel your life is ‘perfectly okay’. You have no more anxiety or inner critic, live in the present moment all the time, have very few thoughts and rarely any negative emotions, and feel a lot of love and peace.
Sounds like a lot to promise, I know!
They’ve got me doing one hour of meditation per day; twice-daily gratitude, forgiveness and intention setting; random acts of kindness; writing my eulogy and thank-you letters to people, as well as three hours of group exercises per week.
I really have been a lot more present, loving and positive so far and it’s really helped with what’s been happening with my mum. If it weren’t for lockdown, it would have been a lot harder to make time to do all the homework.
10. Creating my dream work setup
I only had a boss for the first two years of my working life. I’m a free spirit! But working for myself has often felt really lonely.
Last year, I imagined my ideal work setup being a group of us supporting each other in doing what we’re passionate about, in relation to wellbeing. No one in charge, no one responsible for the other’s finances, but helping each other to succeed.
And as a result of lockdown, we’ve created it! It’s called The Wellbeing Collective, and we’ve created a joint timetable of yoga, mindfulness, drawing, communication workshops, breathwork, productivity, colour therapy… and much more!
Here’s the timetable. I’m sure you’ll find something you enjoy.
So what have your lockdown silver linings been?
Will it result in a career change?
A new relationship?
A better exercise regime?
Stronger relationships with your neighbours?
An end to the daily commute?
I’d really like to hear what you see as the upsides of what we’re going through.
Originally published at https://www.themindfulbanker.com.