Accept and Adapt – a coping mechanism in the times of Covid-19

Well it’s a strange old time isn’t it? As the month of April went by and the Covid-19 restrictions became the new normal, I began to see a trend in my client work and in the general population of people’s usual coping mechanisms being taken away.

Where as previously after a bad week, the perfect tonic for some would be meeting a friend for a drink, a trip to the beach to blow off the cobwebs or a long endorphin inducing session at the Gym…they aren’t currently options.

Treats have been taken away too! As the weekend approaches people are usually thinking about what they can do as a reward for the working week….going to see a movie, shopping for a new dress, or getting dressed up and going out for a nice romantic meal. Instead activities are limited to the home or a brief walk in the local area.

Whilst I admit it’s not been always easy for me, over the weeks of lockdown I have come to use as my coping strategy the idea of ‘Accept and Adapt’. There are things I am absolutely unhappy with, and in particular for me, the difficulties in not being able see people I care about including family, friends and clients has been tough.

I realised that whilst I fight against the restrictions mentally and focus on the ‘it’s not fair’ aspect of it all, I end up tying myself up in mental knots trying to find a way out of a situation that’s not there to find. By accepting the situation and refocusing on thinking creatively about what I can do instead, I become able to find new ways of doing things, connecting with people and caring for them.

So the next time you find yourself frustrated and feeling restricted in the current climate, take a few deep breaths, pause and ask yourself:

What do you need to accept about the current situation that you can’t change?

How can you adapt creatively to still make the best of the situation that you are in?

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What is your ‘Trust Policy’?

In my work as a Counsellor, I am very aware of how important trust is in the therapy room. It’s like the magic ingredient that really allows the therapeutic process to begin and flow freely.

Some clients arrive ready to share, but for others it takes time to recognise that they are in a safe space where they can allow themselves to be vulnerable. I feel honoured and greatly respect the trust shown each time a client says the words ‘I have never told anyone this before…’

I began thinking recently how this plays out in my own life and decided to establish what my policy is with regard to trusting people. I have great friendships and family relationships which have a solid foundation in which I feel secure and a history which allows me to know I can trust, but what about the new people I meet?

After some thought, I decided that I could sum up my own personal trust policy as this:

‘People are mostly good. Start from a position of trust but be alert if they show you that you cannot trust them and then listen and react to that’

I, like most people have been let down, had my heart broken and trusted the wrong people. That feeling can be overwhelming and for some it can leave them with an inability to ever open up and make themselves vulnerable to anyone again.

To trust leaves you open to being hurt, but if I don’t trust am I setting myself up for a lonely life with no intimacy and will I possibly end my existence full of regret for the relationships and opportunities I missed out on.

I recognise that the key learning for me was the importance of listening to those warning signs. It may be a niggling thought that things don’t make sense that needs checking out. It could be not feeling safe, questioning someone’s honesty or just that uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Who can I trust? What can I trust? Should I trust? These are important questions that we all ask but they can sometimes lead to great anxiety. It’s important to stop and check those uneasy feelings, but sometimes we can put barriers up to protect ourselves when they are not required.

If trust feels like an issue for you then why not try counselling as a way to uncover your own ‘trust policy’ and see if it’s right and healthy for you?

I work with individuals and Couples experiencing trust issues, both in face to face sessions in Warrington, Cheshire and Online using Instant message and email therapy. Contact me at christina@tangledthoughtstherapy for further information.

Take care of yourself and others