Past, present or future? A way of coping during lockdown.
Since lockdown started I’ve consciously been thinking about things related to my past; friendships from childhood, songs I used to dance to and previous jobs that made me feel like I had the world at my feet. These things remind me of good, perhaps simpler more optimistic, times, that sit in direct contrast to the (necessarily) regimented and more restrictive way that we’re all presently living in. It’s as though thinking about the past has become a coping strategy, a way of protecting myself against the stresses of the current situation, until a time when I feel I can engage with it more in the present and think about what my future might look like post lock down.
Everyone does things differently
Judging by all the video calls, social media and news stories that are doing the rounds at the moment, I’ve noticed that other people are doing things a bit differently. For some focussing on the present seems to be helping them get through, whether it be developing skills they previously never had the time to do or setting up and hosting various Zoom chats and quizzes. For others, this focussing on the present is a necessary means for them to just get through the day, blinkers on, heads down as it were. And then there are those who are choosing to invest in the future as their coping strategy; fixed, and in some cases banking, on a time when this is all over and ‘normal service’ can be resumed.
Give it a 'guilt-free' go
If you’re finding living in the lock down hard, maybe consciously choosing to safely think about your past, present or future, as a form of coping strategy will help. For example, if the future seems scary, perhaps try to ‘stay’ in the present for now or if the present feels intolerable, how about harking back to more enjoyable past times or do some planning for a future when things will be more bearable? Whatever your situation, if it helps you get through these difficult times and you stay safe doing so, there’s no shame in consciously withdrawing to a more comforting past, no guilt in choosing to just survive day by day and nothing wrong with wishing the time away and planning for tomorrow. You don’t have to do all three, all of the time.
So for me, right now, I’m happy to live in the past. Now please excuse me whilst I go and get my ghetto blaster down from the loft.
Find out more about coping strategies during Covid-19 here: