Trained therapists from the Square Mile's City Wellbeing Centre offer some advice on coping with a continued lockdown, to help ease both personal and professional stresses.
The new rules around COVID-19 have been announced, and for most of us it would appear that restrictions to our work and personal routines remain high – writes Damien McCann, Clinical Head of City Wellbeing Centre.
We’ve recently launched the City Wellbeing Centre, a unique talking therapy centre (currently working online), which is backed by the City of London Corporation and run by the experienced staff from Tavistock Relationships. It provides mental health support in the form of counselling and psychotherapy for individuals and couples who live or work in the City or surrounding London boroughs.
We are seeing an increase in people struggling with a variety of life challenges. Lockdowns, curfews and restrictions have put inevitable pressures on all aspects of our lives. With a myriad of stressors including jobs, money, health and family constantly occupying our minds, our relationships, in many cases, have understandably taken the strain.
So, what are the signs and what can you do to try and take care of yourself in the next phase of lockdown for the months ahead?
Balance being together and apart
Relationships thrive on a balance of togetherness and separateness. Under normal circumstances it can be much easier to negotiate and manage the ratio, finding the right amount of time together and apart.
During a lockdown however, when we don’t have as much control over how we spend our time, it is important to prioritise quality over quantity, and scheduling dedicated time together can be helpful. A regular walk or dinner can create time to talk away from distractions.
If we can create space in ways we have previously enjoyed we will get more from the time we do spend together. If you used to love sport or the gym take time for a run, home workout or Zoom session with a trainer/workout partner. If you loved the pub with friends organise a Zoom call and take yourself away from everyone else.
With familiar day-to-day conversations redundant and more time in each other’s company, it could be beneficial to use this as an opportunity to be more open and honest about how you feel, especially if it has been a long time since you’ve talked in this way.
As we talk, it is really important that we stay focused on our own thoughts and that we don’t start blaming or criticising. If we concentrate on using “I” rather than “you” statements, we can focus on how we feel more easily. It is a two-way process and it is just as important to listen as it is to feel heard.
In these extraordinary times, it is okay not to feel or act how we thought we might or should have, but at the same time we need to be to open to our partner’s reactions and ways of coping. Stay calm, curious and appreciate that there are always other views.
You can book an appointment with a trained counsellor at the City Wellbeing Centre at CityWellbeingCentre.org.