How to Think and Survive In and Out of Lockdown
Updated: Mar 25, 2022
"How do you mentally and emotionally reconnect with yourself when you cannot physically disconnect from those around you?
Imagine you are stuck on an island...and you are not alone
Who would you want to be stuck with? What would you choose to have with you? How would you spend your time? Before the lockdown restrictions of COVID-19, this would have been a fun game to play. Who would you have taken before then? Who would you take now?
Sydney has been back in lockdown since the 26th of June, 2021. We’re now stuck on our “home island”. Our family has been chosen to keep us company. Homeschooling and working from home have been selected as how we will spend our time. Most of us want to get off this island and be alone.
Now imagine you are stuck on an island…alone.
An escape to an oasis of solitude. Sounds better right now? However, watching Tom Hanks in the movie Cast Away will paint a clearer picture of what being alone on an island probably looks like.
The human conundrum. Research shows that humans become sad or go mad when isolated. This is because we as humans need to have a sense of belonging. We need to be connected. We are a social species. However, here we are, in a bubble of belonging. Clasped in a community of connectedness. Surrounded in a strong social sphere here at home…and the whole thing feels alien. This is because human relationships are hard.
The human conundrum. Research shows that humans become sad or go mad when isolated.
Yes, we do need connections with others. However, equally important is the need for connection with ourselves. So, if you find yourself getting irritated, frustrated, angry, feeling down or stressed, it is most likely because you have lost connection with yourself. This is an important sign that it is time to reconnect with yourself. To reconnect with yourself is to refresh, revive and re-energise yourself.
But, how do you disconnect from others when you cannot physically row yourself to another island or leave your home? You are stuck on your “home island”. How do you mentally and emotionally reconnect with yourself when you cannot physically disconnect from those around you?
An invitation to escape and survive lockdown’s “home island”
Would you like a chance to find your personal space in any place? If you answered yes, I invite you to join me in some mental activity. It challenges you to create a “mental island”. A space in your mind where you can think. This works in cramped spaces like during lockdown or crowded places after lockdown.
Imagine it… the opportunity to create a place where you can go to be alone in a crowded room. Like the feeling after a good rest, you’ll come back to the present more refreshed and ready to reconnect with others. It’s an “island” where you sip on some TEA. Not the “Long Island iced tea” some of you may have been downing in your downtime. It is a mindful, cuppa “lone-island Me-TEA”. A space in your mind where you can sip from the cup of sanity and return to the present cool, calm and connected. Does that sound good to you?
If yes, join me again as I guide you through this new way of‘ thinking things through’. I call it “Drinking my thinking cup of TEA”.
Drinking my thinking cup of TEA.
About sipping TEA and drifting off to a ‘lone island’
What is TEA?
TEA is an acronym for a 3-step process. Thought. Emotion. Action. In other words,“think it -feel it -do it”. As I go about the day, I use it to check in with myself to become consciously aware of any thoughts or feelings bubbling under the surface. Before responding to tricky situations at home, I use it to understand my thoughts so I can manage my emotions and take better actions. It’s simply ‘thinking things through’. It creates an opportunity for me to connect with myself. This gives me the chance to consciously choose what I will do next in the real-life drama unfolding before me.
Why not just drink a long island tea or similar relaxing alcoholic beverage?
Why should I try this type of TEA?
As parents, we keep ourselves busy most of the time. Although sometimes there are many things for us to do, other times we keep busy to avoid thinking about difficult situations and relationships. Our children are busy entertained by various activities, which means they don’t always have enough thinking space. We are busy doing. Doing something to distract ourselves. Doing anything to forget everything else. For example, drinking to unwind or eating to feel good. This is because jumping to ‘doing’ is often easier than walking through ‘thinking’. Oh yes, that painful process of ‘thinking things through’ first.
But why is ‘doing’ easier than actually ‘thinking’ before we do? Because by doing, we have that rewarding experience of seeing what we have achieved. There’s that externally visible accomplishment we can see and maybe even touch. With ‘thinking things through’, the result is invisible. You can’t touch it, but you can certainly feel it. You can feel the difference within you, and if you pay close attention, you can also feel the physical changes within your body. Using this process, you can then change unwanted feelings rising in your body. After all, the brain intimately controls every part of your body and responds to feedback from each part of your
What will I notice with the TEA process?
The results of ‘thinking things through’ slowly become clear over days, weeks, and months.
‘Thinking things through’ is like turning darkness into light using sunlight instead of a light bulb. However, reacting without thinking things through is like flicking a switch on to light up a dark room. The results are the same – you get light, and you can see. The sunlight process, although slower, is so much more powerful. Compare the power of the sun to that of a light bulb. Sunlight reaches far and wide, and its source burns bright. In contrast, the light bulb only lights up the room and eventually burns out. Just like a light bulb reacting can eventually lead you too to burn out.
The results of ‘thinking things through’ are like turning darkness into light using the sun. The process is long and slow yet so powerful. Just like night slowly becomes day. Think of the phrase, “It slowly dawned on her….”
‘Thinking things through’ takes time. It’s not immediate, like the cartoon depictions of a lightbulb going on in your head. It is not as simple as pressing an on-off switch and turning darkness into light. Reacting without ‘thinking things through’ is like flipping a switch. It may be effective in the short term, but eventually, you will blow a fuse.
“It slowly dawned on her….”
Why take the time to do this now?
Although our fast-paced world has been temporarily slowed down, now we have a great opportunity to propel ourselves forwards to that better version of ourselves. Here we are, locked down in our physical movements, yet our thoughts are free to wander as far they can go. What we need to do now is train our brains to stay sane. Now is a wonderful chance to do what we have been busy intentionally or unintentionally avoiding, which is ‘think things through’.
I hope you accept this invitation and join me. I look forward to continuing this journey with you!
Thinking things through