Hours, days and months are going by, but many of us are getting that repetitive ‘Groundhog Day’ feeling.
Time is passing yet nothing is really happening. Instead we are in a limbo where we are not living our lives to the full and we are faced with a limited amount of freedom.
Restrictions on socialising, going into the office, dining out, travelling and more are making it difficult for people to feel satisfied with their lifestyles. Simply put, most of us are just existing, rather than living our lives.
And, perhaps the worst part is that there’s no knowing when this will all be over. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel, instead we are coming to terms with a pretty long and bleak winter ahead.
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Babylon GP, Dr Claudia Pastides tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Humans thrive off connecting with one another. Being together, laughing, holding each other. Meeting new people. What makes this even harder is the fact we remember how it was and feel as though something’s been taken away. This “new normal” definitely does not feel normal, despite seven months having passed.’
So, here are a few ways to make day-to-day life more meaningful and satisfying in the current coronavirus climate…
Be more mindful of little things
Psychology and coach trainer Rebecca Lockwood says: ‘If you are currently feeling like you are existing rather than living, it’s time to check back in with yourself. Often when we feel like this it is because we are not currently paying attention to what we already have in our lives and tapping into the feeling of being grateful for what we have already got.
‘We are constantly being shown marketing messages (whether we are aware of it or not) that program our minds to think we have to be doing something and getting something to actually feel like something good is happening.
‘The key is to truly tap into the things around us to spark our purpose in life.’
It’s therefore important to adjust our thinking to the smaller things that really makes us happy and satisfied.
The big things, like travelling and social events, might be off the table for now, but it’s great to be mindful of the simple pleasures like hobbies and TV shows.
This is something backed up by anxiety therapist Zoe Clews. She says: ‘Really it’s about getting creative with “experiences” within the parameters we currently have set: connecting with anything you enjoy like laughing with friends, meeting up with those you can and getting outside of the house.’
Switch up your routine
When life becomes a bit monotonous, it’s easy to think you’re not living life to the fullest. The simplest way to break this negative thinking is to switch up your routine and to incorporate some fresh activites.
Life coach Carole-Ann Rice tells Metro.co.uk: ‘It is all about a change of routine. If you are on the same track everyday you should change it up a bit and do some new things, maybe even with a friend. It is all about thinking what your joy is, what is the sweet spot in your life, what is something that I absolutely love, and focus more on those.
‘You can’t just sit and wait for your life to happen for you, it’s about grabbing it and deciding what it is you love.’
Set yourself small goals and reflect
Life coach Michael Cloonan says that because life has become so repetitive, fewer things excite us right now. He tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Many of us have been there, walking around doing the same thing, day in day out, nothing excites us, nothing gets our juices flowing, nothing energises us anymore.’
A way to combat this is to set small, achievable goals to work towards.
Michael adds: ‘Set yourself a goal and set a deadline to achieve it and when you do reward yourself, this will give you something to look forward to and will be a anchor for yourself.’
He also stresses the importance of reflection time.
‘Spend time each night reflecting on your day what has worked for you? What was your three biggest wins for the day? This will give you that inner happiness knowing you have succeeded and that you matter,’ he says.
Acknowledge how you’re feeling
When we feel a bit wobbly or anxious, the most important thing to do is to acknowledge how we are feeling and not put pressure on ourselves to snap out of it.
Rebecca Lockwood says: ‘Take each step at a time and don’t put any pressure on yourself if you don’t feel like it. It’s not about rushing yourself out of feeling like this, as that can cause a negative loop.
‘You have to allow yourself to feel human and feel the emotions that are coming up, as they are normal and are a call to action from your subconscious mind that you need to do something. You have to trust yourself.’
Also, it’s worth pointing out that this ‘existing-not-living’ phenomenon is a feeling that lots of people are experiencing right now – so you’re certainly not alone.
Really tap into what brings you enjoyment
One way to make each day feeling like you’re ‘living’ a little more is to do things which bring you happiness – and these don’t have to be big.
Carole-Ann Rice says it’s important to be mindful of the smaller day-to-day tasks which could be contributing to your happiness and schedule them into your routine.
She says: ‘If you feel like you are existing on a hamster wheel, you need to be more mindful of your day-to-day tasks. Start planning some mini bliss points during the day, so being mindfully aware that you are having a nice shower, that you are loving what you are hearing on the radio, etc.
‘It is also good to make an effort – wear your best clothes, your best scent and just love what you are wearing. Make yourself a lovely lunch, full of gorgeous things and the foods that you adore.’
Even though we are limited in the things we can do, there’s still plenty which can bring us enjoyment. Don’t hold yourself back from experiencing it just because life isn’t as exciting as it used to me.
Dr Elena Touroni, a consultant psychologist and co-founder of The Chelsea Psychology Clinic, says it’s normal to feel disappointed that we have had to put parts of our lives ‘on hold.’
She tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Because of this, it’s important to be practicing self-compassion and validation as much as possible. Put your focus on living each day, moment by moment.
‘Practice gratitude for all the things you do have in your life right now, rather than focusing on the things that are missing. You can do this by noting down just five things you’re grateful for everyday, in your phone or in your diary. These might be as simple as having a roof over your head, a warm, cosy bed, a supportive family etc. When we make a conscious decision to note what we’re grateful for (no matter how small), we’re training our brain to focus on the positive rather than the negative.
‘Remind yourself that this moment won’t stay static – things will change. So it’s about finding appreciation for the simpler things, for what you have in your life right now.’
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