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How’s it going with you?

Anyone sick of hearing the phrase ‘unprecedented times’?

I guess there’s no way of getting away from it, things have changed. One thing I have realised is that in many ways being an acupuncturist has to some degree prepared me for these changes. By supporting others with their ‘ups and downs’ it’s given me insight on my own behaviour patterns, how to understand stress and how to move forward.

This time two weeks ago I was pretty much in meltdown.  It lasted about three days as I realised my income was ending and the life I took for granted had abruptly vanished.  The three key emotions I faced was anger, fear and frustration.  A pretty potent mix.

One of the fundamental laws of Five Element Acupuncture is ‘there is always change’. Whilst experiencing the ‘melt’ it was helpful to remember that those feelings would change and I knew from observing myself in the past that my negative feelings may come up regularly but they change pretty quickly, normally into positive actions.  I have now figured that negative emotion is now the beginning of something better, as long as I make it so.

When lockdown first started, I didn’t have a plan. To be fair I’m not much of a planner, I prefer to go with inspiration and be flexible, constantly assessing new information and then acting, there’s no master plan just a cluster of small, short term plans that generally move me in the right direction on reflection.

In the second week of lockdown, I started to notice the following list forming to help me move forward in a positive way.  Without fear, anger or frustration.  Maybe you’ve read about most of them elsewhere but if just one of these helps someone, then it’s worth the twenty minutes it’s taken to write them out..

Control what you can and forget the rest – seriously, forget it!  There’s loads we could stress about at present. What’s the use? NONE.  Be proactive, take positive actions, protect yourself, then chill out.  Let the stress go, work with what you’ve got.  Maybe this time is important for us to decide what it is we want in life and when the time is right, act on it.

Watch your narrative – this is make or break! The story you tell yourself about yourself and your place in the world is important. Two weeks ago mine was ‘I’m going to be poor and pointless’  Frankly, what ********! I decided that ‘I can overcome adversity one step at a time’ was a far better narrative.  Rather than being a victim of circumstance, I was going to make circumstance work for me. There’s now so much I want to do during lockdown I haven’t got time for a pity party. This led me on to…

Create a new routine – humans thrive with routine. It’s fair to say humans generally benefit from some structure and routine to feel safe and secure.  This routine should be based on positive, self caring, supportive routine as far as possible, not a humdrum one.  This has been the greatest struggle for me so far.  It was useful to realise this early on.  Now, I’m up and at it each day without even having to think, by…

Exercising each day – before I even get chance to think in the morning I am getting up and getting out for an 8000 step walk.  I get up super early to avoid other people (no offence) and get it out the way.  I’m not a natural ‘exerciser’ and find jumping around in front of Joe Wicks on Youtube boring. However, walking for me is different as there is so much to see out there that I normally thunder past in the car.

I noticed immediately that these 8000 steps utterly transformed my mood. It also motivates me, something that I can struggle with.  I feel lighter, clearer minded, happier, more content and ready to be productive with the rest of my day.  By the time I really wake up in the morning I’m already 4000 steps in and this feels good!  This morning my walk made me realise this lockdown is an opportunity to…

Expand my consciousness – rather than having a long list of things to get done this morning I was totally present, in the moment, thanks to the birds! I suddenly became aware that I could hear the skylarks out by the ring road. This was an exciting moment.

I’ve done this walk many times before but my mind was full of other stuff and I simply yomped past without noticing.  WHAT A WASTE.  From noticing the Skylarks I then noticed there were Lapwings and it went from there until I was pretty much fully absorbed in the landscape.  This felt amazing. To be part of something much wider, noticing more, expanding my conscious mind to my surroundings rather than a truck load of unnecessary mental trivia.

Try something new, regularly – this helps keep our brains elastic, ready for change and interested.  So far, I’ve done ten online jigsaws (who knew I’d find them so relaxing), I’ve tuned into the radio, normally music around the house irritates me, now I love it and it also helps with my routine as I’ve begun sitting down with John Suchet on Classic FM at 11:30am for a cup of tea.  I’ve also reconnected with my childhood by switching on Heart ’70s!  In addition I am teaching myself how to grow veg, on Pinterest, as a cheap option to feeding myself, healthily.

Stop multitasking – this is utter luxury. Instead of spinning all the plates to keep two businesses running and a home etc, I’m just doing single tasks and concentrating on them.  It was difficult at first as I keep feeling that I need to be rushing onto the next thing but now, I don’t.  Lockdown has given me the sense of having more time.  Better organisation in the future, when things return to normal, can help me maintain this feeling and stop the unnecessary mental race.

Be helpful – this one I have yet to conquer! Helping others makes you feel useful, part of something, less isolated and content.  As yet, I haven’t figured how to be of use.  I feel confident that once this massive gear change has settled in that I will figure this one out. Being helpful, from a distance, seems like a challenge.

On a final note I have also accepted that if there’s a day when none of this can help, well shucks, that’s fine too. I don’t know what’s ahead but this list is a start to help me deal with what ever it may be.  I hope that some of these utterances may help you. I’d be interested to hear how you are tackling this new situation.  Drop me a note…

STOP PRESS: on a practical note, Vitamin D has been shown to significantly help the body fight virus infections.  Most of us will be deficient. I regularly take a Vitamin D spray. You may wish to research this yourself and get one ordered for delivery.


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