Lessons in Acceptance: A Reflection on Lockdown 4.0
Two weeks ago, everyone in Melbourne had the same tired and all-too familiar realisation of “here we go again.” While we knew it was a possibility, after months of seemingly normal life, nobody quite expected to go back into a snap lockdown.
Those of us in the mental health field accordingly began to check in on both clients and the other people in our lives, as we all recognised the potential impact of this emotionally draining experience that we’ve been through several times before. Surprisingly, the resounding theme I got from many of my clients and my friends was acceptance. Many even valued the break from ‘normal life’ after spending the last few 7 months or so readjusting what it meant to be a social human being. Two weeks later after our 7-day lockdown was (unsurprisingly) extended another week, plenty of elaborate long weekend plans had to be cancelled, but people seemed to accept this and move on to what could still be done as, as a city, we’ve learned to cope with the unexpected.
It seems like Melbourne in the past year has collectively gone through the stages of grief, moving from denial, anger, bargaining, and depression to acceptance. After over a year of learning to live with the unexpected, many people shifted immediately to acceptance after the announcement of a fourth lockdown. “This is happening, that is okay.” “I have to figure out how to proceed.”
Children and teachers adjusted back to online learning. Cafes and restaurants went back to offering takeaway options and lockdown deals. Counselling appointments were even able to continue as everyone had already become all too familiar with the concept of talking over Zoom or Skype. We’re learning to be okay with this new reality and while a fourth lockdown isn’t necessarily a good thing, it’s something that we can live with. When we’re learning to live with the unexpected, we can find control and even power in acceptance.
While acceptance teaches us to let go and be okay with what is outside of our control, many even pushed past the state of acceptance and sought to appreciate and show gratitude for the time off from normal life. It gave many people an opportunity to take a step back from the hustle of daily life and remember to cherish time with your family or even cherish time alone.
It’s a reminder that while keeping your weekends jam-packed with social plans is nice, it’s also okay and even necessary sometimes to spend the weekend in your pyjamas binge-watching a new series. While this is a lesson that was not learnt by choice, it’s a lesson Melbournians have had to adapt in order to continue to foster resilience and positivity over the past year. And while another lockdown serves as a recurring reminder that this is our new normal and that we cannot completely 100% count on any future trips or plans, we’ve also come to accept it and even when to appreciate a break from normalcy.
By adopting a grateful attitude in life, we gain acceptance and become fearless of the future. Just two weeks later, we are out of lockdown, life goes on, and while we may be unable to travel outside of our 25 km, we can appreciate a weekend of newfound freedom. Some lessons we’ve learned during these unprecedented times:
- Embrace the simple pleasures in life. Life is often lived in the in-between moments, such as grabbing your morning coffee or taking time to cook dinner.
- Find ways to connect with others. Check in on your friends and family. It’s easy to forget to think about how others are feeling when we are focused on our own busy schedule.
- It is not necessary to always be “on the go.” Sometimes it is okay to do absolutely nothing and feel 0% guilty about it.
- People are adaptable. If we can learn to live with and accept this, then think of what else we can work to overcome in the future.
- Life will always return to normal, even if it is a new kind of normal.
If you need some support navigating the stress and anxieties that repeated lockdown’s have had for you, please reach out to us at Thea Baker Wellbeing: email@example.com / 03 9077 8194.