Groundhog day and feeling low
It can be challenging to find enthusiasm and initiative or even just a little joy when every day seems the same. I had so many conversations the past couple of weeks where people (including myself) have expressed how this 3rd lockdown has been so much more challenging than the previous months of lockdown and tier system. That it feels like Groundhog day, experiencing feelings of depression and feeling low. That it’s all just too much. Anxiety and insomnia have become more challenging to cope with and more common than previously.
I had quite a few days of feeling really low. My general tendencies are more towards anxiety, sometimes stress, and feeling that low is not something I am used to. Or if I have a been feeling low its usually just for a day before I bounce back. So it was disconcerting although I knew things would change. For me, because I am not used to feeling depressive emotions.
It’s not that there was anything specific I felt low or feel anxious about. Not personally. Personally, I am well. My loved ones are well. I have very good friends and family members with Coved-19, who all recovered. Some super quickly as if nothing but the mild flu happened. And some were really floored and still recovering. But generally, its been ok. No one has gone bankrupt. We all have food on the table and a place to live.
I know this is not the case for everybody. I know the tragedies. And I see the exhausted faces of my friends working in the NHS.
Covid lockdown – spiritual insights
I miss going to a cafe. I miss not having the freedom to get the train to London and meet up with friends. That travelling to see family both here in the UK and in Denmark is a far off dream.
I miss teaching my yoga classes. The in-person experience. Seeing people in person. Talking to people in person.
But I also love being able to teach online. Not having the commute. Not having the expenses of commuting and room rental and time hanging around between classes or clients.
So in my personal bubble, I can not point to anything specific to be depressed or anxious about right this very moment.
Reading the news or social media I can. I am infuriated sometimes (and that’s another reason I don’t watch the news), there is plenty to get angry about. There is plenty to feel low about when we read the news. Because although it is all happening (although the news media definitely have agendas and they also chose how to report). It is all real. And it is affecting us. It is also a choice to decide how we respond to it. I am not saying I stick my head in the sand (sometimes I do). I come back to the Serenity Prayer:
God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can, and
Wisdom to know the difference.
In yoga, we have practises to support us too. We might use our yoga as physical exercise with the asana practise (or yoga poses). But even through our yoga session we notice how we respond or react to poses that may be uncomfortable, that may make us anxious, that we don’t like, that annoy us, that are boring, easy (but they never are, really), that we avoid either physically or we zone out mentally…
I am currently diving deeper into the Yoga Sutras and during one lecture the lecturer, Dr Sutton (his translation below), discussed another favourite verse of mine:
The mind is purified by the cultivation of feelings of friendship to those who are happy, compassion for those who suffer, goodwill towards those who are virtuous and indifference towards those who are wicked.
Not just being friendly with those who are happy and easy to get on with but even being in a place where we can feel happy for those who appear to “have it all” or get the promotion we wanted. Finding compassion for all, and my main takeaway was action through compassion. Not through anger, not through fury although those emotions are real and maybe the catalyst. We are not all always that “yogic”. We are human and householders with all the feelings… Which leads us to the goodwill and indifference part. This may be the hardest. We don’t condone the wickedness but we do not participate in it. And again action through compassion. Including compassion for ourselves.
I am rambling… my take away is: its ok not to be ok. There is plenty not to be ok about. Read that serenity prayer again. Read the Yoga Sutras or any other text that you connect with inspires you and gives you insight. Talk about it. Ask for support. Know that you are not alone (even if you might physically feel alone right now). You are not the only one feeling like this is Groundhog day, you are not the only one struggling. (To be honest, I had so many people expressing more or less these same emotions). Sometimes sharing is caring. And sometimes its a relief to know that other “together” people are not all love & light and rainbows. If you truly are struggling, be open to receive support. Feeling vulnerable is a strength too.
Please keep these numbers in mind for yourself or loved ones:
MIND has a helpline: 0300 123 3011 Mon to Friday 9am to 6pm
Samaritans 116 123
Anxious Minds 0191 262 0305
CALM 0800 58 58 58
CRUSE Bereavement 0808 808 1677
Domestic violence helpline: 0808 2000 247