3 tips to help you keep an emotional balance during lockdown

emotional balance

This is a call for all those who are keeping an emotional balance during lockdown. That is to say, those who walk from one ledge to another by stepping on a wire over the void, a void of different depths for everyone. The aggressive ones must control themselves. The cocky ones (there are so many of them!), learn to be more humble. The clingy ones, let go. The lonely ones, find new ways to live with themselves. And so on.

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Tips to help you achieve an emotional balance

The current situation is uncomfortable for everyone and, for many, truly dramatic. For those who are really living the real drama of the health emergency, that which goes beyond staying at home and missing the sun, this article is not especially dedicated to them. The only thing they have pending, whether they are directly affected or their employees are, is to have a bit of luck, that is to say, to count on their luck to keep an emotional balance. The luck to have the necessary support, the luck that their misfortune will end as soon as possible, the heroism of recovering in the best possible way after all the hard work they have put in to help us. 

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The rest of us, those of us who are (only) (very) uncomfortable, do have a lesson pending that I consider mandatory. The true lesson of the tightrope walker. That of finding a healthy emotional balance between complaining and keeping quiet, between letting off steam and feeding the noise, between allowing ourselves a break from certain routines and keeping enough of them so that our daily life does not lose its structure.

1. Appreciate what you have

If your reality is not dramatic then you should appreciate it. Appreciate that you and your family are healthy, that you keep your job or part of it, that the electricity and water have not been cut off, that the refrigerator and stove have not broken down. Appreciate that there is internet and that you have a backup of books to read. Appreciate that you have not forgotten the key inside the house when taking out the trash or that the lock has not broken. Appreciate that pollution levels in your city have dropped incredibly for a few weeks and the streets are cleaner than ever even if you don’t see them.

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If you live alone, appreciate that no one bothers you and you don’t bother anyone, if you live with someone you love, appreciate that you have someone who can hug you. Appreciate that you are not living in confinement with your abuser or with a partner or family member you detest. There is nothing wrong with mourning your lot, what you don’t have, what you have lost, but set aside enough space in your energies to remember what you do have.

2. Keep silence

In general, our time is the time of making noise and being heard, as it was long before the health emergency. We live surrounded by a deafening buzz, by a turmoil of movement, opinion, (un)informative bustle, and tasks that are simultaneously delirious.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 health emergency, instead of shutting it down as it has shut down the traffic noise, has only intensified this unbearable noise, with the difference that now we have fewer trap doors through which to escape from it. Complaining is fine, giving your opinion is fine, sharing is fine. But take advantage of these weeks to focus on your emotional balance, in addition to cooking, reading, painting, sleeping, or doing nothing at all, which is also legitimate, to strive to perfect the noble art of silence.

Antonio Muñoz Molina stated on the radio the other day that, mindful of all those professionals who, from different, diverse, and often invisible positions are making the country continue to function at the price of enormous personal cost, and in the face of so many hundreds of people suffering in hospitals and homes, he felt it was necessary to maintain an attitude of respectful and reflective silence. Called to restrain his impulse to opine or fuel the noise in a way that might be intrusive in contrast to the suffering and efforts of so many people. This is a time, this genius of our time said, whose important lessons should rest internally and discreetly.

3. Time management

Speaking of timing, of this moment for emotional balance, we have before us this very challenge. In these weeks where our usual functioning has become so strange, pressures of all kinds are unleashed for us to seize the time, to be patient, to have confidence in the future while not anticipating. To look back at the past and be thankful for it, to examine our consciences like monks inside their cells while we are encouraged to be as distracted as we are willing to be.

We have always had to juggle our past, present, and future because it is part of our nature. Lockdown is nothing more than another twist in this essential skill that results in living in harmony with our times. Or would it be more appropriate to say with our times: not to fight with its contradictions, to pace the tendency to cling on to our past, and to fantasize (in black or white) about what is to come. To reconcile ourselves with the difficult task of living a continuous present that we do not like and that invites us to evasion.

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How to keep an emotional balance with professional help

It is not easy to live in confinement. We are not made, in general, for so much sacrifice. Our psychological strengths have already been in place for days and will not falter, but the situation is difficult and these strengths also need to be taken care of. Remember: if finding an emotional balance that is enough for you is proving more difficult than expected, you don’t have to be a hero or heroine of lockdown. Ask for help, psychologists are here to help you.

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