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The Business Northumberland blog

Some secrets to personal and professional growth during lockdown

To mark mental health awareness week, this week's blog is from Dr Laura Walton from Two Clicks Psychological Services giving some tips on how to stay mentally well during lockdown.

The shock waves from Covid-19 have made their way through our personal and professional lives, and it is likely we will continue to feel the impact for quite some time. Across Northumberland businesses have been put on hold, as we prioritize the health of our families and communities. For those of us who are able to help, we may be working harder than ever. There are gaps to be filled. There are obstacles that people are looking for help to overcome.
Either way, there are opportunities for growth. They may not ones you were looking for, because nobody wanted this to happen. But they are everywhere. Perhaps you offer a product or services that is needed to get people through the pandemic. Maybe you have the chance to do something different with your time. For example, taking a break and looking after your health. Or working on your marketing and staying engaged with your clients.
Even in lockdown, life keeps moving. Our previous normality ground to a halt, yet the world kept spinning. When the emergency brake is applied to force a stop some things will be propelled forward. So how do we know when to hang on for dear life and when to fling ourselves forward?

Start where you are
Whether you are under the stress of unexpected demands or looking at exciting developments, it is easy to get swept up in the momentum. But to do what matters, we need to have contact with a foundation, and we need to be able to meet our basic needs.
Ask yourself questions such as:
“Am I wearing clothes?”
“Have I eaten breakfast yet?”
“Did I move, even slightly, sometime in the last hour?”
“Are there still emails I need to respond to? Should I have updated my accounts by now?”
If not, then that is where you start. It may not be glamourous, but it gives grounding for growth.

Stay in your lane
The human response to hard times is remarkable. There is hope, strength and kindness. People are connecting and creating in incredible ways. It’s wonderful. But somedays you are struggling to remember to put on socks and seeing other’s shine can be tough.
Do you ever notice yourself do any of the following?
- Getting pre-occupied with what others are doing
- Feeling jealous or frustrated when others take opportunities you cannot
- Thinking “I should do what they are doing” or even dropping your plan to do it!
- Being critical of other people, their achievements or how they run their business
- Being drawn into other people’s dramas
- Helping other people just to avoid working on your own thing
It’s quite natural, but it all takes time and energy away from your focus. Just as a runner needs to focus on their own effort to make progress, you can do more when you stay in your lane. If a portion of your resources are being drained by an unnecessary pre-occupation with what other people are doing, then they are not available to fuel your growth (and this probably isn’t helping the other people either).

Accept what cannot be
Take a moment to think about what happened this week. What were you not able to do? Who were you unable to help? Have you experienced losses of any kind?
Things are not going to plan. Stuff that you would like to happen is just not possible. A whole lot is going wrong. This makes it easy to slip into a struggle with thoughts about how “I could have done things differently” or how “everything would be different now, if ….”. The situation is as it is. And the majority of it is not within our control. Whatever your situation is: assess it, work out what is within your control and focus on doing that.
Letting go of the things we cannot change creates a space to grow.

Do what is humanly possible
If you are a creative or an entrepreneur, then you will know what it is like to have ideas. All the things we want to do and all the ways we can help. Maybe you already know what it is like to be sucked into “all the things”, only to come crashing down when you cannot follow them all.
Business opportunity, time with friends, all the amazing online training events … you can’t do it all and will need to prioritize. It may also be that even the most basic of daily tasks has become difficult. Perhaps you are supporting people and it takes more time that it used to. Our resources are can only stretch so far. Somedays you may be under such strain that nothing will get done. That’s okay. Part of growth is knowing that you can only do what is humanly possible.

Take care of yourself
You want to do it all! To help people and build your business at the same time. But it’s like the aeroplane safety drill: you must put on your own oxygen mask before helping others to put on theirs! (As hard as it may be). In order to support friends and family, customers and communities, you need to be able to support yourself.

Know when to rest. Learn how to let go of stuff. And be kind to yourself.

Connect with Dr Laura Walton on LinkedIn or find out more by visiting her website.

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