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As life gets back to some sort of normality – or, more accurately, what passes for the “new normal” even if that seems to be changing just as quickly (!) – we’ve noticed how quickly people have picked up their old lives and habits. Continued from where they left off a few months ago... 
 
Forgotten – or, perhaps, turned a blind eye to (!) – the many insights and good intentions they had during those strange months. And this applies equally whether they were already based at home, suddenly found themselves there or continued working at their usual job, albeit in a rather different way. 
 
As so often is the case, as normal life has resumed, those insights and good intentions have been left far behind. In many ways, it’s not much different to all those New Year’s resolutions which never seem to make it past the first few days of January. Although, fingers crossed, less over indulgence and alcohol were involved… 
 
With our collective love of New Year’s resolutions, it’s a topic we’ve written about a number of times. If you’d like a reminder of our slightly different perspective on them, you can find our posts here, here, here and here
 
However, this isn’t quite what we wanted to talk about today. 
 
When we experience a bolt from the blue, it’s completely natural for us to go into survival mode. Our perspective becomes very narrow as everything becomes about us. The threat – or, more accurately, perceived threat – to us. What we need to do about it right now, leaving everything else to take a back seat. 
 
Unfortunately, in the process, we lose sight of the bigger picture. Become very human centric, with everything being about us. 
If the threat is immediate and life threatening, these natural instincts serve us well. And have done for millennia. Saves lives. Averts disaster. 
 
But what if it isn’t? What if it’s more of a general threat? And this is where our natural instincts start to work against us. Here comes Stress… 
 
Once again, Stress is a topic we’ve written about several times before. As we’re sure you don’t want to be reminded about dealing with the Stress of Christmas at this time of year (!) we’ll leave those posts to one side and just link to a couple of more general ones. You can find them here and here
 
Over the years we’ve noticed that, where people have experienced Stress for a period of time, they become stuck in the “fight or flight” response. Find it almost impossible to return to a normal life, remaining hypervigilant for any perceived threat. 
 
And, this is exactly what we’ve been seeing – and hearing about – as the lockdown has started to be eased. People wanting to return to normality but being frightened to do so. Perhaps, you’ve experienced those feelings yourself or seen it as you’ve gone about your day. 
 
So, this week, we’re going to give three simple suggestions of things you can do to help yourself – and those around you – with the transition. They’re all things we’ve talked about before and we’ve included links to other blog posts if you want to find out more. 
Ready? Then here we go. 
 
The first is a very simple one, but all too easy to forget. Regardless of how it may seem, everyone is going the best they know how at that particular moment. And that includes you. 
 
It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about it. Or the way in which it’s being done. Whether it could have been done differently – or not at all (!). 
 
For that person at that particular moment, they’re doing the best they know how. Full stop. End of story. 
 
Just because they’ve chosen to act – or react – in a particular way this time, it doesn’t mean they have to do exactly the same thing again in the future. After all, however similar a situation may seem, each one is unique. All possibilities are open. To act / react in the same – or similar – way or do things differently. 
 
Not only does it take the pressure off. Phew! Stop the Little Monster in your head from making snap judgements about whoever or whatever it is. But, more importantly, it means you can be a little kinder to yourself and those around you. And isn’t a little kindness what we could all do with at the moment? 
 
The second follows on very neatly from this although, we know, for many it’s a rather radical idea. 
 
 
Spend time outside. Breathe deeply. Stretch. Laugh. Connect. Appreciate. Love. Play. Jump. Skip. Lounge. 
 
Remember what it was like to be a child. The joy of being alive. Enjoying everything this wonderful world of ours has to offer. 
 
And, last but not least, having remembered how precious life really is; it’s time to notice all the little things we take for granted. Or, have simply stopped noticing, as we go about our day. There’s a great way to remember it, cultivating an “attitude of gratitude.” 
 
If you need some ideas, here are a few to get you going: 
 
The sun came up this morning, as it always does. 
You were there to see it (!). 
Your warm and comfortable bed. 
Your nearest and dearest. 
The hot shower. 
Your dog – or cat – welcoming you as you came downstairs. 
A good breakfast. 
A song you love – and hadn’t heard for ages – on the radio. 
The kind person letting you into the queue in front of them on the way to work. 
The joke from a friend. 
The lovely photo of a family member. 
 
We’re sure you get the idea! 
 
If these three simple suggestions all sound a bit too “pink and fluffy”, there are some very good – and concrete – benefits from doing them: 
 
• Reduced levels of Anxiety and Stress as adrenaline and stress levels fall, while those of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine rise. 
• Improved sleep. 
• Lower blood pressure. 
• Improved Immune System response. 
• Reduced levels of pain, particularly chronic pain. 
 
And we could all do with those… 
 
So now it’s over to you. 
 
As always, the choice is yours. 
 
 
Picture by unknown author 
 
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