Lessons I’ve learned in lockdown

In recent weeks, I’ve made an effort to reach out to many of our clients and colleagues within the industry. As I reflect on those, and as we all digest the news that our lockdown must be extended for the weeks if not months ahead, there are many common themes and sentiments.

I wrote last month about “languishing” being that feeling that falls somewhere between flourishing and depression; and may surface when you start feeling ‘indifferent to indifference’. I’m then reminded of the description so aptly given by the NY Times to this notion being the “neglected middle child of mental health”. This long-haul of the pandemic and the cumulative impact of lockdowns and other restrictions…it’s really tough! And that in itself is a huge understatement.

To avoid languishing, this is what I have tried to do, and have encouraged colleagues, family and friends to do the same:

  • Focus on a small goal – something achievable, a small “win” that contributes to a larger objective.
  • Savour enjoyable moments, no matter how small, and try and “stay in them” as long as you can. I recently read my 7 year old a Dr Seuss story at night for 5 minutes, which was a moment we both really enjoyed.
  • Try gratitude – it’s amazing how good you can feel when you exercise gratitude.
  • Do good deeds – because these simple acts of kindness not only help others, they also have a positive effect on us.
  • Look for communities and connection – even a quick chat with a stranger while out walking, or a walk with a friend can foster a sense of fulfilment.
  • Find purpose in everyday routines. Daily routines are so important. Whether they be personal, or work related, they are impactful.
  • Give yourself uninterrupted time to do something you enjoy.
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For my family and I, we’re making an effort to find joy in food, cooking and music. My kids are thrashing me at basketball and brownie baking, but at least we’re exercising and learning to bake. Meanwhile I’m schooling them in the joys of singing to 80s music (karaoke style) as they educate me in the latest social media craze.

I’ve been grateful for the amount of sport on TV. As Greater Sydney’s lockdown began, we were treated to Ash’s historic Wimbledon win. The cheering continued as we watched the Tokyo Olympics (who knew BMX riding could be so entertaining!), and now our Paralympians continue to inspire us as they win medal after medal. As a huge tennis fan, I’m loving the US Open, and let’s not forget that Footy Finals are just around the corner. For me personally, this has been the silver lining of the pandemic.

In the next few days, weeks, months, find your own joy and savour it. Connect and communicate. Be kind, be positive and show gratitude.

We’re all looking forward to simple pleasures like sitting in a café with a friend and enjoying a coffee. This lockdown shall soon pass, and we will be reunited with the basic freedoms we all took for granted.

Nick Hedges is the founder of Resolve HR, a Sydney-based HR consultancy specialising in providing workplace advice to managers and business owners. He recently published his first book, “Is Your Team Failing Or Kicking Goals – Take Control Of Your People And Their Performance”. It is a practical response to the most pressing HR challenges.

Disclaimer: The contents do not constitute legal advice, are not intended to be a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.

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