With Melbourne exiting it’s 6th lockdown, I like many residents are reflecting on 263 days of restrictions. Although I see myself as being resilient, I am the first to admit that my mental and emotional health has been tested. Indeed a recent webinar I attended hosted by the University of Melbourne (Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences), sighted 80% of GP appointments were reporting some level of mental and emotional distress by their patients.
On the upside, this pandemic has given me greater clarity on what is important to me and how I can best support my wellbeing. Throughout the last 19 month I have focused on what is in my circle of control, managing my health needs with regular movement, healthful eating, rejuvenating sleep and adaptive stress management practice such as daily mindful practice.
It has also been an opportunity to practice psychological flexibility. When faced with troubling thoughts and emotions associated with uncertain times, I have endeavoured to open up and stay with difficult experience, avoiding alcohol and food for comfort. When I have had an occasional lapse I have tried to exercise self-compassion. I have also tried to savour the good and be grateful, thereby helping create emotional balance and contentment.
The numerous Melbourne lockdowns have also been an opportunity to explore new hobbies and learn new skills. I would like to thank my son Samuel for my newfound Lego building abilities. Thanks to technology I have also been able to expand my mind and attend many conferences that would not have been possible pre-pandemic.
One such highlight was attending the annual Coaching In Leadership and Healthcare Conference held virtually from Harvard medical school. In his offering on Self Determination Theory (SDT), Richard M Ryan PHD talked about the importance of autonomy, relatedness and competence for motivation and wellbeing. This helped me reflect on the challenges I have faced maintaining wellbeing and motivation during this eventful period.
According to self-determination theory, people need to feel the following in order to achieve psychological growth:
Autonomy: People need to feel in control of their own behaviours and goals. This sense of being able to take direct action that will result in real change plays a major part in helping people feel self-determined.
Competence: People need to gain mastery of tasks and learn different skills. When people feel that they have the skills needed for success, they are more likely to take actions that will help them achieve their goals.
Connection or relatedness: People need to experience a sense of connection and belonging to other people.
This theory underpins what I do as a coach, however during lockdown, it was virtually non-existent in my personal life. I realized that I have been grieving the loss of autonomy with 263 days of restrictions, I have missed the face to face connection with friends, family and clients, and my competence has been surely tested when home schooling!
This insight has helped me reflect further on my Vital pillars of wellbeing and on the importance of re incorporating connection into my post lockdown life. I am currently exploring how I can connect with my greater purpose, my community and finding more time to connect with nature.
The transition out of lockdown is the perfect time to check in, re-evaluate and reset your lifestyle. Some questions worth considering:
Rate your wellbeing (physical, mental and emotional) on a scale of 1-10? (10 being optimal)
What has worked well for you in supporting your health and wellbeing over the last 19 months?
What else have you learnt?
Are there any gaps or resources (skills and behaviours) that if present would improve your sense of wellbeing (move you closer to 10)
What are you willing to commit to that helps you move forward out of lockdown?
What small step can you take and what support can you enlist?
PS. After a stressful period, it’s time to regroup and work out what’s most important to you, so you can set new health and life priorities that you’re excited about.
It’s time to reimagine the future, and create a plan going forward for better coping, mental clarity, calmness and balance.
Join me for my upcoming webinar Monday November 15th 7pm:
Reimagining your vital lifestyle
It will be an opportunity to…
Reconnect with what’s important
Rediscover what gives you vitality
Reimagine “living well” into the future
For me, vitality is the physical, mental and emotional energy available to be your best self. Transitioning out of lockdown is the perfect opportunity to re-define your vital lifestyle J
To reserve your space for my upcoming webinar contact me...