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  • Writer's pictureDr Joanne Stuart

Covid-19 lockdown - taking time for reflection.

So, we are all stuck at home, only allowed out for limited reasons. The kids are off school, you and your partner are probably working from home. The usual stresses and responsibilities you have are somewhat reduced, you can’t shop for fun, meet friends for coffee, go and see family or go to the gym, to name a few things. What ever you are facing

during this time, it is likely that your pace of life has changed.

Although many are enjoying the different pace of life, for some, there are added stressors, such as trying to manage work alongside homeschooling. But in amongst all this stress, what can you do? What is the opportunity? What can you do that will make a difference in your life?

This free time stuck at home gives a rare opportunity. I have heard many times in therapy, ‘I haven’t had time to think about what we discussed last session.’ This is a common and understandable barrier in our busy lives. However, you now have free time that you are unlikely to get again, EVER!

So, you can either binge on Netflix, become a TV expert, or you take the time for some in depth self development, knowing that you have the time, both mentally and physically, to devote to it.

Therapy involves changes in insight, being reflective, learning new patterns of thinking and behaviour. There will be elements of practical applications which might be more challenging to actually do right now, but the mental reflections, reading and exploration you could do make this a time of potentially tremendous growth and development. You will need to set aside some time each week, or even each day, if you can. You can devote some of this time to reflect on something that you have been putting off...maybe something that was niggling in the back of your mind.

There are a number of books that we would recommend that have helped us during our years of being therapists. If you have a particular issues, such as OCD, an Eating Disorder or another specific issue, then the 'Overcoming' series of books are a useful read. If you are someone who is highly self-critical then Paul Gilberts work focusing on Compassion Focused Therapy is used by thousands of psychologists across the country. Other work, such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, is useful across the board and can help us to see our behaviours and thoughts from another angle. Russ Harris' 'The Happiness Trap' is another well used book by psychologists and clients alike.

Focusing more on younger children, a book that underpins most NHS led parenting workshops is Webster-Stratton's 'The Incredible Years'. This has some good tips for all parents and not just those who are struggling. For those with older children, 'The Teenage Brain' may be of use. Although this does not provide any specific strategies for dealing with teenagers, as one mother said, it made her feel she was not the only person who got it wrong!

If you feel you finally have a bit of time to develop further skills relating to your psychological health or understand something further, at DSA we are still providing therapy. We can do this over the phone or via video conferencing. Many individuals feel that therapy can not be conducted over a video call but actually we have found that it can work just as well. If you have worries about remote/online therapy, just bear in mind that if you are comfortable with video calls, then you will probably be very comfortable using this medium for therapy.

So, you could either come out of this and resume your life as it was, or you could use the opportunity to learn new insights and skills, and heal any emotional wounds. This could help you to come out of the lockdown with an increased strength, able to have greater impact and success.

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