As we emerge from almost a year and a half in lockdown some of us may be feeling a little anxious about socialising again, as well as the idea of having real plans for the first time!
We’ve had a slow 15 months and not everyone is ready to dive straight back into what life was like pre-pandemic. Many of us have become comfortable at home, in our own bubbles, with our own routines. So, suddenly having to get back to ‘normal’ at some point this year can feel a little overwhelming.
For some helpful tips on coming out of lockdown feeling your best, as well as avoiding getting burnt out, we chatted to life coach Emma Kehoe for her advice.
Sometimes it seems like Emma has 48 hours in a day not 24 like the rest of us. When she isn’t running her Instagram account where she posts fitness, fashion and lifestyle content she works full time as a Business Development Manager and is a fully qualified life coach. To top it all off she’s also studying to become a teacher in mindfulness and positive psychology, so learning how to slow down and look after yourself is something she has lots of experience with.
Thankfully, Emma totally understands the struggles many are experiencing at the moment as the world slowly reopens and the knock to our confidence the past year has created, so we asked for her advice to come out of lockdown feeling our very best selves.
What would you say to someone who is feeling a bit anxious coming out of lockdown?
My advice for something like that is, remember to put yourself at the top of your list every day. You’re the one that has to make you happy every day, no one else can. So, if you’re going to please other people, then that means that you’re sacrificing your time and your energy on others and not yourself so learn to start your day off by giving yourself that love in the morning, by having a really good morning ritual. Whether it’s having a few minutes to yourself, meditating, journaling, singing, or just petting your dog or your pet, doing something for you that makes you feel good.
That makes a lot of sense, so many of us have got used to the slower mornings!
Don’t go on your phone as well! Spend that first hour not on your phone so wake up, brush your teeth, get dressed, do what you have to do, get into work, and then look at your phone. I’m telling you it just changes your whole mood, effects your day because you’re not creating anxiety, or letting something else trigger your mood. I feel especially with Covid, we’ve had so much time and we’re after reprogramming ourselves so we’re over emotional about everything because we had so much time to express every single emotion in our body.
After the slower pace of life during lockdown, how do we avoid burnout as we return to normal?
I’m such an advocate of this as I take so much on, I’m the type of person where my Mam actually has to say to me, ‘Emma stop taking so much on!’- I maximize my day! And then with Covid I just realised that I had to slow down, so what I always do in order not to burnout is, I have a saying, ‘check yourself, before you wreck yourself.’ So basically, check in with you, how am I feeling today, what do I want to do, ask yourself questions, do I want to go to the gym, how is that gonna make me feel, or do I just want to lay in bed and have a chill day and look after me? So tap in with yourself, see how you’re feeling and really tap into the wants and the needs that you actually have for the day.
It can be tricky not saying ‘yes’ to everything post-Covid too, as we’ve missed out on so much!
I think as humans, and especially coming out of Covid, we do want to catch up with our friends, we do want to people please. But what we do need to understand that we’ve been very sheltered the last year and a half and we need to protect our own mental health and our energy as well.
It’s just checking in with yourself. So even for instance, I had brunch booked with the girls there two weeks ago, and I felt really, really, tired, and I really didn’t feel like going. Normally I would just go, but I actually checked in with myself and I said ‘Hi girls, unfortunately I’m actually feeling really exhausted. I’m so sorry but we’ll catch up again’ and the girls well sweet, and said ‘no problem, honey, we’ll have a drink on you, feel better’. There you go, be real, be honest, be open and tell people how you’re feeling.
For some people, lockdown is the first time they’ve ever been able to prioritise themselves and stick to a goal, how would you recommend continuing this post-lockdown?
I think structure is important, but I do think it was more important to keep us going through the pandemic, what I think is that people just need to give themselves a break now because you don’t need a plan. It just shows you that anything can happen in the blink of an eye just live in the moment and don’t put pressure on yourself.
I know people want to accomplish things and sometimes you don’t feel like you’ve accomplished the day if you don’t tick things off the list. Even if there is something small, every day, even create one goal for yourself, that could just be something small, whether it’s going to the gym, walk the dog, clean the house, it doesn’t have to be 50 million things. I think it’s because we’re comparing, we’re constantly feeling that we have to be doing something all the time. No we don’t! We just have to be looking after ourselves, being better humans connecting to humans and the thing with Covid was that we actually reached out a lot more to people.
We reached out to check in on them and being honest Covid actually made my relationships with the people I love a lot stronger because I opened up a lot more I was more vulnerable, I was more emotional. I felt much stronger I’ve had better connections with them because of it.
Finally, if you could give somebody just one single piece of advice as they come out of lockdown what would you say?
Do what you feel. Just look after yourself, remember that the best project you’ll ever work on is yourself.