We’ve been in an enforced lockdown now for over two months as I write this blog. I don’t know about you, but I definitely have good days and not so good days. There’s so much to take in, from the daily governmental briefings to the sheer scale and likely long-lasting effects of what we’re going through. It’s not easy and in fact I’d say just because there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and the government is easing restrictions, doesn’t make how I’m feeling much better. So much of this is change that has been forced upon us, but that means we’re all on an ever shifting change journey, and just as I was getting used to being in full lockdown, and just about accepting that as my ‘new normal’ – we get the announcements that our new normal will be changing again and soon!

When it comes to change, the most difficult change to deal with is the one that is out of our control, or the change that is forced upon us. We all take time to adjust and adapt to change, especially one that affects our lives so totally as this one has. So, in this blog, I just wanted to acknowledge that what we are facing is NOT NORMAL and, as a result, all of us will be experiencing a mid-high level of stress most of the time. It’s constant, it’s not going away and, as a result, we definitely need to be kind and forgiving to ourselves and to those around us. We’re not going to feel normal when things aren’t normal, and that is OK.

Everyone is experiencing this lockdown in their own way, in their own family and friends bubble. Actually, everyone I have spoken to is experiencing lockdown in a virtually unique way – one family unit is never quite the same as another and indeed, in my closest friends, I don’t think there is one who is having the same experience of lockdown. One consistent message that cuts across all the experiences though, is that it’s a bit of a rollercoaster! I’d concur with that; it’s definitely been a rollercoaster for me and for Di.

There are so many lovely positive things happening out there, from family and friends spending more time than ever together (even if it is virtual, it’s still a good thing), communities coming together, people smiling and saying hello to each other as they walk past, when normally they wouldn’t (being positive ripples!), more families doing things together, spending quality time together, and the fact that almost everyone has been getting out into nature, exercising and finding time to literally smell the flowers! It’s lovely but it makes the down days, the dips in the metaphorical rollercoaster ride that is the COVID-19 ride, even more of a challenge. When you see so much positivity around and you’re feeling rubbish, it can get to you – and cause you to feel even worse.

So, I wanted to use this blog to say: IT’S OK TO NOT BE OK.

In fact, it’s more than OK, it’s to be expected. Of course it is, what we’re experiencing is UNPRECEDENTED (Gosh how many times have we heard that word in the last couple of months??!) and therefore there is no ‘right way’ to be, there is just the way you manage to make it work for you. Now more than ever, we need to be kind, forgiving, compassionate and understanding of ourselves. You see we can be quite harsh on ourselves sometimes. I know I can be on myself, and I also know that it’s not useful to be like that. It just makes me feel worse, not better, and I have come to understand, in this lockdown period especially, that even as Mr.(Meta)Positive, I too have not been OK a significant amount of time!

It’s only natural to be out of sorts, when things are as they have been, and that’s not likely to change as we move into an easing of lockdown measures. We’re going to have to be constantly adjusting ourselves, changing what have become established routines to incorporate new freedoms and new changes to the rules. The ground is constantly shifting, which will mean it is inevitable that you will feel a bit ungrounded, and a bit (and here comes the science bit..) ‘WOBBLY’. Things aren’t going to be the same, they are going to change and so we’re going to most likely return to a more up and down rollercoaster ride – so whilst the highs will be higher, the lows will, at times be lower.

So being NOT OK, is perfectly OK – indeed there should be a self-help book called ‘I’m not OK you’re not OK, and that’s.. OK!’ – because right now we need to know that it’s OK to not be OK!

Let’s make a pact you and I today – I’ll be kinder, more understanding and compassionate towards myself if you’ll do the same. Let’s agree that, actually, we’re going to have some down days in the coming weeks and months and that it’s OK to not be OK sometimes.

We all deserve a DUVET DAY sometimes! So next time you’re really not OK – how about you treat yourself to a movie and a duvet day? Get out into nature and lose yourself in a local wood. Go to the sea and watch the waves as they come into the beach (a lovely metaphor for our own emotional ups and downs) Or maybe you’d like to clear out the garage or the loft? Nothing like a good clear out of clutter and a clean-up to shift your mood! Or maybe just spend time on YouTube watching videos of your favourite comedians and laugh your way to feeling a bit better.

There’s nothing wrong with feeling out of sorts, under the weather (even when it’s warm and sunny) and indeed it’s important that we’re honest with ourselves and to those around us when we’re NOT feeling OK. That way those around us can give us a bit of space or a bit of loving up (nothing like a big CUDDLE from your kids or your partner when you’re not feeling OK) AND they can bring the popcorn and the treats to make your duvet day a real fuel tank filling experience.

I want to make another pact with you, and that’s that when you ARE having an especially NOT OK day, that you can always call on us here at Meta (in between popcorn and films), and we’d like to feel that we can do the same with you. Indeed, I’d like to personally thank so many of you who have offered support and help in this lockdown period to me and to Di. It’s so lovely to know that this Meta family will come out stronger from this time, and we want to say a BIG THANK YOU for cheering us up on our down days and celebrating our up days with us.

So whatever is to come, the ups and downs and all arounds, we’re in this together – we hope this blog has been useful for you, and we hope that we’ll get to see you all again soon – be that virtually or hopefully in the not too distant future in the flesh!

In peace and love,

Jo & Di xx

About Jo Clarkson

Jo Clarkson is the CEO of Meta and a frequent writer of the blog.
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