Coaching: Developing Mental Health Strategies After Lockdown

Offered By Whitespace Coaching and Development Ltd

How have the past 18 months in and out of lockdown been for you?  Your answer may have negative and positive elements, what seems likely is that no two responses will be the same.

Recent Challenges

As a society, the past 18 months have hosted to possibly the most challenging period in peace time, and certainly for several generations.  For the first time in many of our lives, we have experienced restrictions on our daily activities, changes to the status quo; and for many, significant personal loss and grief, whether that is the death of someone close, your personal health and well-being, your employment or isolation from family, friends, activities and society.  As social creatures and in times of need, our go-to response is usually to take comfort from those around us; being able to share our anxieties, concerns and feelings with real human contact; but in these recent times, that hasn’t necessarily been an option. 

Pensive man looking into the distance sitting by a window looking out

Personal Experiences

Perhaps you found yourself in a position of being asked to shield, as someone identified as being clinically vulnerable.  For some, this will have been a situation compounded by loneliness or feelings of fear and trepidation.  For others it may have been a case of being supported by those who they lived with, but still the requirement to shield will naturally conjure up emotions of stress, worry and vulnerability.

Perhaps you were in the position of having to juggle home, work and school life, suddenly finding yourself to be blend of parent, teacher and employee all with in the same four walls. You may have been ‘lucky’ to share this responsibility with a partner, or perhaps you had to juggle these demands flying solo.  The multiplied responsibilities and patchwork quilt of duties will of course come with it friction, frustration and feelings of overwhelm, as we take on things that we’ve not been required to do before. So, although you may have been in a position of team working with your spouse or partner; these unchartered waters of home schooling and home working may have actually caused some relationships to crack under this immense pressure.

Stressed parents sitting on sofa whilst children running around.

There are of course those who will have experienced loss during this time.  With the inability to be with loved ones in their final hours, or to be able to plan and pay respects to their loss, the void that some may have felt is wide reaching.  At times of grief, again, we take comfort from our support networks and take solace from human touch; and in ‘normal times’ there is a natural period to mourn.  Some have felt the direct impact of loss through Covid infection, and others from delayed treatment for other life-threatening conditions.  Feelings of despair, lack of control and sorrow are all wrapped up, in what can feel an impossible ball to unravel.

Although we have some universal ‘shared experiences’ from the past 18 months, such as the need to lockdown and for social distancing; the deep-down personal experience will have been very different for all of us.  So, where friends and colleagues may ‘look’ the same as they did prior to Coronavirus, scratch the surface and you may find that they feel completely different. Maybe you can identify changes in yourself too.

So, now that restrictions are relaxing, how do we find a way forward?  How do we begin to process all of these feelings and move forward to our ‘new normal’?  What do we even class as ‘normal’ and how do we face into other universal challenges, for example climate change?

Young male looking into distance.

Anxieties About Moving Forward

For many, the return to the workplace is a daunting prospect.  Perhaps you’ve been furloughed and feel anxious about the return to a team that may have been working throughout.  Feelings about changed responsibilities and acceptance back into a team may feel overwhelming.  Or maybe you are carrying a pick and mix bag of feelings which have stemmed from numerous worries and scenarios and the thought of being able to function as you once did feels like an impossible feat.  It could be that you have been working throughout the pandemic, taking on extra responsibilities as staff numbers have reduced and now the sense of burnout feels all consuming.

The most important thing to understand, is that what you may be feeling now, doesn’t have to be your ‘final destination’.  I have worked with both personal and professional groups where processing change has brought about opportunities; replacing ‘survive’ with the knowledge, skills and ability to not only manage, but to thrive. 

Happy young female talking with mentor.

Creating New Strategies

Coaching offers a safe and confidential space to focus on you, to reflect on experiences, create space to acknowledge and connect with your current thought and feelings.

The process not only gives you time to think and supports you to explore new perspectives, it helps you to set different intentions and attitudes to take forward, whether that is for your work, your relationships, your health, finding your authentic self or all of them.

Through the coaching process, you become more aware of yourself and what is possible to change, you develop the confidence and alignment to face your challenges and through this process you learn ways to manage uncertainty, adapt and thrive.

As your coach, I’m a catalyst helping you to connect head, heart and spirit and find what is meaningful to you, so you develop your strengths and find resources to enable you to move towards that with a sense of empowerment and autonomy.

Examples of where coaching can help:

  • Reconnect with yourself and your purpose in the world and feel empowered to move forwards with confidence, commitment and clarity
  • To improve your health and well-being
  • Developing the skills and capacity for Personal Leadership (1)
  • Ongoing support for leaders and managers through uncertain, dynamic and complex times
  • Build on your strengths and resources to manage the challenges facing you, whether from the outside or within yourself
  • When you are catapulted into a personal or professional transition in your life that is not of your choosing, for example a health diagnosis, the death of someone close to you, redundancy.


Want to keep learning? Find out more about the author - Sue Jackson - Whitespace Coaching. Or read more from Sue Jackson:

Mental Health and Wellbeing

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