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If you’re anything like me, then perhaps you are already starting to feel the impact of being in lock-down. Most days I wake up enthusiastic and ready to tackle my day and task list, but it does seem to be getting harder and harder each day as we head further into our extended lock down.

When my hubby pointed out that I had not left the house for 13-days, I had to let that sink in for a while to grasp the implication of it all. No wonder I was starting to feel like a caged bird! For those that know me well, you know that I am a runner and usually start my day off with an early morning run. Since lock down, we’ve been trying to improvise with daily workouts in our garden but it’s just not the same as that endorphin rush and happy feeling I get from running.

I was also overly ambitious in drawing up a long list of ‘To Do’ items, 3x online courses as well as carry on with ‘business as usual’ to get stuck into to make the most of my time whilst working from home – ambitious thinking!

Last week Thursday morning when I woke up I wasn’t particularly feeling it. My enthusiasm had waned quite a bit. I have to confess I am feeling a little ‘Zoom-ed and webinar-ed’ out too. Most of my days have been spent online on skype/zoom calls, webinars, online programs, emails, social media and the list goes on. Did you know there is such as thing as Zoom Exhaustion?

Reflecting on my low energy levels and enthusiasm, I realised I had been working right through since we went into lock down, losing count of what day of the week we were on let alone what day of lock down it was or that I had lost a weekend somewhere along the way too.  I’ve actually had very little down-time for myself and have not been practicing self-care in the process. Time to change that.

With the Easter Weekend on our doorstep, I decided I was going to be kind to myself and make the most of the long weekend by taking some much needed time out and have a complete break from work and not feel guilty about it in the process.

Funny thing that little emotion called guilt…..

Quite a few people I have been working with are feeling riddled with guilt, myself included. Guilt that they are not coping with work/home integration, meeting all their work deliverables, playing teacher and keeping the kids school work in check, household chores and friction with partners is starting to rise as some of the cracks begin to show from being in lock down.

One of the contributing factors I’m hearing is that people feel their leaders are not really being empathetic and supporting them through this time with trying to juggle a confined work/life balance. There is also a lack of communication from their organisations as to what they are doing to survive as a business and how this is going to impact employees.

If you are a leader, remember that right now empathetic leadership should be your priority. Empathy can simply mean just listening, be there for your employees and be sympathetic that they are trying to adapt and adjust as best they can just like you are. We’re all riding the lock down emotional roller coaster in different ways at the moment.

So if you’re one of those that may be feeling bouts of guilt here and there with what you’re currently going through it’s perfectly normal.

So how do we work through guilt?

According to the dictionary: “Guilt is a feeling people typically have after doing something wrong, intentionally or accidentally, real or perceived and letting someone down or not . A person’s sense of guilt usually relates to their moral code and  can majorly affect their sense of self-worth and self-esteem and is quite common where there is anxiety, depression.”

Today be gentle and kind to yourself, you’re doing the very best that you can. Everything does not have to be perfect, everything on your ‘To Do’ list does not have to be done today. You might have dropped the ball some days and that’s ok. Forgive yourself, forgive others, apologise if you need to, learn the lesson if there is one, but please, let it go with grace, love and gratitude.

Or you could use my version below:

If you are not following me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, you may have missed the tips and video clips we’ve been sharing on dealing with our mental and emotional well-being during this time.

I’ve created a handy e-guide providing steps that people can take to safeguard their relationship during the ‘lock down’ period as well as lots of other tips and resources which you can download for free here.  You can also view some of my video-clip tips here.

It’s important for you to seek help sooner than later whether it be as a preventative measure or if you are already feeling challenged and like you’re not coping. We are able to offer online sessions via Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp etc so please get in touch if you feel you are not coping.

Alternatively reach out to national support services such as LifeLine 0861 322 322 or SADAG 0800 567 567

A version of this article also appeared on the Lionesses of Africa website

Paula Quinsee: Relationship Expert, Tedx speaker and author of Embracing Conflict and Embracing No. Paula teaches individuals and companies tools and skills to immediately and positively enhance the quality of their personal and organisational relationships.

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