How Do We Cope When The Tunnel Just Got Longer?

Just as we’d been given a light at the end of the tunnel with the news of new vaccines, we now find ourselves in national lockdown again, for the third time. This time, the schools are closed too, and we’re back where we were in March last year. It’s hard not to feel down and a bit of despair. The light is still there, but it’s fainter and further away. 

The upside is that we have two things that we didn’t have last time – the vaccines and experience. While we’re all staying at home, the vaccines will be administered and, by the time lockdown is finished, so many more people will be protected against Covid and the world will be safer than it was. In the meantime, we can use the experience of how we coped last time to cope this time. We can use what worked and adjust what didn’t. We’re not going into this blind like last time. We know more. 

The downside? We’re tired, we’re weary, and our reserves are low – because we’ve been using them for nearly a year now. We’re fed up of not seeing our friends and family, of not being able to go about life in the way we want to – of generally feeling like we’re stuck. So what do we do? How do we cope?  

 

Dig deeper

First and foremost, we have more reserves than we think. We’ve all been through tough times before. Maybe it’s been caring for a poorly loved one, or when you’ve had a hard time at work, or when you’ve had health issues yourself. Think back to when you just couldn’t take any more. And then think about what you did. You dug deeper. And you found a way through. 

This doesn’t have to be done with grace. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have a cry, a shout or a full-on paddy about it. But trust in yourself and find that strength. 

 

Set specific and attainable goals

Many people find it easier to cope when they have goals. They give us something to work towards. But, more than that, they give us control – something that we feel we’re lacking at the moment. Be realistic with your goals, though. If you have a moment, read our blog Finding Your Place On Life’s Spectrums, which talks about finding your place in life, instead of trying to be something you’re not, and how this ultimately makes us happier and more successful.

Also, be specific. Look at the difference between these general and specific goals:

  • Get fit Run 3x a week and only drink alcohol on weekends
  • Do more networking Attend one networking session a week
  • Get more sleep Be in bed by 10.30pm every weeknight

The specific goals are trackable – you can tick them off a list. This way, you’re more likely to succeed, and you’ll avoid a sense of failure or inferiority. 

 

Do things for others

Doing good deeds is proven to help overall wellbeing. The joy and satisfaction of brightening someone’s day has the knock-on effect of brightening yours too. So, think about how you can help the people around you. It doesn’t have to be much. Small gestures are all that are needed. Why not choose two friends a week and send them a small present or a handwritten note of encouragement? It’s simple, doable and will do just the trick of bringing a bit of happiness. 

 

Be selfish 

This may sound strange after saying it improves wellbeing to help people. But, just sometimes, it’s ok to be selfish. Our earlier blog – Are You Feeling Peer Pressure? – talks about how putting yourself first is really important. You can still be there for people around you – but, if you need time out to yourself to decompress and re-energise, it’s ok to retreat. While reserves are low, it’s crucial not to deplete them completely. 

 

Get help

And, finally, if you’re really struggling to cope… get help. There is no shame whatsoever in admitting you need a helping hand throughout this. And sometimes that helping hand needs to be a professional one. If your leg was broken, you wouldn’t hesitate to get it fixed. Your brain is just another part of your body. Your first port of call can be your GP, or you can reach out to amazing charities like Mind

 

At Makin’ Monsters, our whole purpose is to be a place where you can share your worries and help others. So feel free to comment below. Have you found a way of coping that could help others?

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