Coping with Social Confinement
The Industry Series is a collection of curated content from a selective number of aviation experts who are members of the EAWC Committee. This content aims to educate, inspire and contribute to the wellbeing of like-minded aviation professionals going through these difficult times. The EAWC mission is to be the voice of the industry and together be able to support each other and provide a platform for collaborations.
Continuation from our previous blog, Fiona Hough, an independent consultant with over 25 years of ATC experience with speciality in training and development, is going to share with us some inspirational and practical ideas how to cope during the lockdown.
For the last few years, one of the most valuable commodities missing from so many people’s lives has been TIME. Ask most families and they would agree that there never seemed to be enough time in the day to achieve everything required of them. Now, we find ourselves in an enforced and very unusual set of circumstances where we have an abundance of it, and we are searching for ideas how to best utilise it.
Many of us will have been inundated with social media posts from friends and relatives containing serious messages and humorous videos, jokes and memes intended to keep our spirits up. Well-meaning distractions, intended to make light of the reality of our enforced lockdown situation, and that we must all now remain in closely confined quarters with our immediate family for the foreseeable future. We are hoping and praying restrictions will once again be relaxed in the not too distant future.
However, the reality is we do not know how long it will last.
How hard can living in close quarters 24/7 possibly be?
In all likelihood it’ll be far more mentally and emotionally challenging than we first imagined. It’s not something we have chosen to do. It is imposed upon us. We must not leave the house because we are told not to go outside. When was the last time you were told categorically, not to do something? What then naturally happened inside your mind?
Tell children they are not permitted to do something and it subsequently becomes an all-consuming desire and the only thing they want to do. Even as adults, we will find our willpower being tested towards the limits of our endurance. We need to be aware of this.
There is an abundance of COVID-19 negativity floating around on the internet. We shall not dwell upon that. Instead it is our intention to gather together ideas, hints and tips that can help us all maintain perspective and sanity during these next few weeks and months.
I have found many benefits in a much slower pace of life. There is no rush to fill my day with a variety of activities. Instead the pace will be reset to resemble the halcyon holidays of a carefree youth; spending time outside in the sunshine as much as possible.
On Monday morning, the first day of home schooling, my young son was up early and raring to go. This new routine was initially exciting for him and he was keen to begin following the structure he had chosen the evening before. Involving him in the choice of that initial structure gave him some semblance of security. He readily bought into the new learning timetable because he was involved in the process of creating it.
Sadly after an hour and a half our whole morning’s plans changed when he dropped his large, complex and very precious Lego model. Needless to say the poor child’s heart was broken and our day was turned completely on its head.
There is an important message here. With excessive amounts of time available to us, we have the opportunity to:
· Reframe our thoughts,
· Reassess priorities,
· Become more adaptable, and
· Learn new behaviours.
In my situation, the child’s emotional wellbeing far outweighed an hour’s school work. We altered our ideas and enjoyed a relaxed afternoon connecting through activities in the garden. Later, once normality had re-established itself, we also discussed the lessons to be learnt from what had happened earlier.
Ideas for things to do during lockdown
The following ideas are not presented in any particular order of importance.
Spend quality time together under the same roof with your family.
Learn to reconnect with each other in meaningful ways. Play board games, charades, jigsaws, read books etc
Spend more time talking with loved ones.
Make a point of trying to learn things about each other; things you may have overlooked in a more hectic pace of life.
Raise your level of awareness to other people’s needs.
Learn when you each need space and time apart, and respect that need. This isn’t about you. It is about the people who share your life, and what they need. Sometimes we can get absorbed in our own wants and needs and we fail to recognise the needs of others. This is an opportunity to redress the balance.
Create a jar together containing topics of conversation written on pieces of paper, so that during “boring” times family members can take it in turns to choose a piece of paper and discuss what is written on it. Make this an activity that includes all ages within your family.
Spend time in the garden where possible.
Kill the weeds, cut back overgrown shrubs and mow the lawn. Sow seeds, pot plants or just relax and read.
Make a list of jobs that need doing around the house or garden.
Tasks that are regularly pushed to one side because there are so many other factors that take priority during busy lives. Gradually work your way through the list. Take it slowly. After all you are in the process of learning to slow down and appreciate people who are close to you. Take note of the changing aspect of nature outside. Become more aware of the positive aspects of your life.
Learn to slow down.
The day does not need to be filled with activity. Sleep when you feel the need. Rest more. Our bodies need rest in order to repair. Our minds require rest in order to destress. Be kind to yourself. Meditate, sleep, read and relax as much as possible. Rejuvenate the soul as well as the body.
Choose meals as a family and involve the children with the cooking.
Choose what you would all like to eat, talk with the children about each step of the cooking process and actively involve them. Make use of the extra time to teach your family valuable life skills.
Do you have a hobby or activity which has been pushed to one side because there was never enough time? Now is the time.
Use Skype and other online options to stay connected with friends and family. Factor regular social connections into your new-found routines.
Enjoy family time together in the lounge watching TV or films.
Scandinavians, specifically the Norwegians and Swedes, dedicate Friday evenings to family. They call it Fredagsmys; cosy Friday. The evenings are spent together with family or friends watching a film whilst snacking on popcorn, crisps and sweets. Traditionally children are not permitted to indulge in eating sweets during the week. This is a special treat saved for Friday night. We are not suggesting the family stops eating treats; merely that you could all agree to have one special cosy night on the sofa in front of the TV each week.
Whatever our circumstances, we are in this together, for the long run, biding our time and finding ways to rejuvenate. Inevitably, whilst reconnecting recently with friends, conversations may have turned to the future. How often have you speculated on what life may look like once we come out the other end? Some of us believe the world will change considerably. Others say they can feel a change in the energy around us already, and it feels alive and exciting. One thing we can agree upon is that daily life will probably look and feel quite different from what we have been used to in the past. Social confinement should have taught us to slow down, reframe our thoughts, be grateful for the things we have and appreciate the value of those who share our lives.
Author: Fiona Hough
Independent consultant with over 25 years ATC experience
Passionate about delivering high quality ATC training with integrity
Experienced ATC course designer and CIPD member
Extensive national and international coaching and mentoring experience