Managing Some Hard Truths….

Many people I have spoken to, and much commentary in the media and in social media suggests that Melburnians are finding Lockdown 2.0 more difficult to manage than the first lockdown.

Why you may ask?  Perhaps we have all lost our innocence a little bit, lost the idea that if we all band together for one period of self-denial, we will hit this virus on the head and have some kind of decisive victory.  Perhaps we entered that first lockdown too hopefully – too naively.

I often argue that hopefulness is a beautiful quality and one that helps us get through the most difficult of times.  I am a hopeful person – but hope works best when grounded in realism.  Hope must be based upon a real evaluation of the situation we find ourselves in.

We do have to expect that there may be some hard times still to come.  And recognizing this can actually be useful – in fact the Stoic Philosophers were in the practice of figuring out the worst case scenarios in order to show themselves that they could be prepared to manage these.

This could be a good strategy for us all to adopt right now – hold on to hopefulness, but consider some challenges that may be ahead.

Firstly, we may have to face the fact that lockdown could be part of our lives – off and on – for the foreseeable future.  Until we get control of the numbers, we may have to face lockdown to control the virus from time to time.  This week New Zealand went back into lockdown, after celebrating 100 days without a new case.  This is an uncertainty we may have to accept.

We may also have to accept that the wearing of masks will be mandatory – or perhaps even just recommended – for some time.  While uncomfortable and inconvenient at times, we have generally adopted these well and made them a part of our everyday lives.

Thirdly, we may have to accept long-term travel restrictions.  I have a partner who is a long distance solo cyclist who is struggling right now without the ability to escape for hours on end to the quiet of nature.  And there are no doubt many endurance sportspeople feeling something similar.  On a broader scale, the Prime Minister also suggested this week that it was unlikely that all state borders would be open for Christmas – causing those with close friends and family interstate some understandable grief.

So with these ideas in mind, we show ourselves the positive by practicing how we will deal with these.

Continued Lockdowns?  Right.  Let’s learn our lockdown lessons and be conscious about what helps us manage.  Let’s set good routines up and expose ourselves to new ideas to keep connected and entertained. Start projects and try to see the positive side.  There is quality time to be had with family – and also with ourselves.

Wearing masks? Let’s try to keep the big picture in mind.  Remember the recent article we posted about how Purpose assists us to understand and accept the crazy times we live in?  We should also try and have a bit of fun with it if we can.  I know a lot of families have banded together to make masks, whilst others take real pride in ordering and wearing a mask that matches their personality.

I’d also recommend taking another look at my recent article, about smiling behind your mask and trying harder to connect when walking down the street.

More time away from loved ones?  This is a real challenge. All we can do is make the most of the technologies that we have to stay in touch and be creative about ways of showing we care – thoughtful gifts, care packages, old fashioned letters and art projects and so on. I’ve gone back to sending greetings cards out of the blue – hoping it makes the day of friends I can’t see right now. And in terms of travel, perhaps invest some time in planning some local travel and outings when restrictions lift.  There is plenty to get excited about in Victoria – as our Premier is so often telling us.

While time are challenging, this kind of thinking – when solutions focused – is helpful and a great act of hope.  We show ourselves that there can be a strategy and a solution to every eventuality – or at least a way to balance some disappointments.  If they come, we may actually find ourselves better prepared.

If not, we have practiced our problem-solving skills and may come up with some new ideas to improve our time in lockdown in the meantime.

If you want to find out more about Stoic philosophy, you might be interested in the Daily Stoic website, founded around the Ryan Holiday novels which help people understand Stoic philosophy for the modern world.

Here is a link to this particular practice, and another you might find useful….


Photo by Tim Mossholder from Pexels