Our Perspective on the COVID-19 Lockdown
Approximately 9 Minutes Reading Time
Brief Article Overview
- Acceptance is a word that often conjures up images of defeat. But during one of Russel Brand’s podcasts, the developmental psychologist Dr Gabor Maté said; “relax…nothing is under control”. I found this different perspective eye-opening, interesting and useful.
- We are all in this together. Whereas on one level of analysis, we are physically separate and isolated, on another level we are united against a common, faceless enemy. It is this human spirit, that gives me hope for a future beyond this pandemic.
- As we try to steady our ships amidst this turmoil, is it possible to start talking about silver linings? A term Lao Tzu supposedly coined in Art of War; “amidst Chaos, there is Opportunity“. This is easier said than done, but I try to offer some ideas on the subject.
- It’s important to disconnect from time to time. As we are left to our own devices, it’s even easier to get stuck on our electronic devices. We can easily stay immersed in the online world. I explain some ways I have been able to tear my eyes away from the screens!
- We are a personal training company, whose primary service is 1-on-1 coaching. Much like most of you guys, we’ve had to adapt and overcome many challenges!
- Lastly, I wanted to thank you all for sticking with us and tell you about the future of Common Purpose!
The global Covid19 pandemic is affecting 203 countries and territories around the world at the time I write this journal entry. A situation that unites so many of us, humans, on planet earth is almost impossible to switch off from. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions over the last few weeks and I’ve tried my best to find my feet. I’m trying to understand this new landscape, so I can create new objectives and goals to help myself get through it… but I’m still searching and feel lost!
Another difficulty I’m facing regarding home isolation is that I’m naturally extroverted, very social and get a lot of energy from spending time with people. So, I’ve had to get my social fix from the wonders of modern technology. It’s so mind-blowing to fully immerse yourself in this digital world at this point of time, but I find it’s far too easy to overdo it.
Anyway, I thought I’d share some of the things that helped me find some comfort, in the hope that they may provide you with the same.
Relax! Nothing Is Under Control – The Power of Acceptance
I was listening to Dr Gabor Mate on Russel Brand’s podcast whilst cleaning my flat the other day. I’ve been interested in Gabor Maté’s work which tackles childhood development and trauma and the impacts they have on physical and mental health. Maté and Brand discuss the Covid19 pandemic and discuss how each individual handles the situation, in a way, is representative of their worldview. Makes sense, I guess!
Due to Maté’s personality and occupation, it is somewhat unsurprising that he warned of the potential after effect this trauma could have on our individual and group psyche. That is a whole can of worms there, but this point did get me reflecting on the people I see daily and the variety of opinions, emotions and outlooks that they have.
Common Purpose looks after quite a few clients nowadays from all walks of life and they all have different stances on business and family life following the pandemic. If there was one thing I could say to them it would be Gabor Maté quoting a Buddhist monk during a story he tells on the podcast who says “Relax! Nothing is under control”.
For me, this highlights a state of mind that is arguably very powerful. A state of mind which revolves around acceptance. Now, this can easily be misconstrued in a nihilistic way. If we accept nothing is under our control, what’s the point in trying at all? It’s a powerful argument. But for me, this isn’t the true meaning of acceptance.
True acceptance is not taking an event like this personally and blaming the universe for our misfortune (no matter how much evidence there is for that!). Acceptance is playing with the cards we have been dealt with. Bearing responsibility for the way we conduct ourselves and having faith that this can permeate into the wider community.
We’re All in This Together!
It’s hard not to dwell on my challenges during a time in which ‘self-isolation’ is legally enforced. Staying at home on your own for days and weeks on end is a challenge to your mental health. We know this not just because the news is plastered with such messages, but it’s widely accepted in the western penal system the worst form of punishment isn’t just imprisonment, but solitary confinement. Of course, our current self-isolation is nowhere near as extreme but you get the point!
After a week and realising that certain, everyday freedoms were truly lost for the foreseeable future. It’s as if reality had sunk in and it hit me pretty hard. But then, as if by chance, the text messages started flooding in. The number of friends, family, colleagues, neighbours and even acquaintances that were checking in to see if I was okay was truly heart-warming.
As well as this, I started noticing people nodding to each other as I walked to do my weekly food shop. I found myself striking up a conversation with the person on the check-out and when leaving, I’d say “take care and look after yourself” … and I meant it! Perhaps this global pandemic has brought us together and made us more empathetic and caring whilst we realise the commonality we all have? It’s an optimistic notion.
Finding The Silver Lining – Emotional Resilience
‘Find the silver lining’ was lifted from Tiago’s journal entry (New Year, New Me: Making change last). It’s a common, but powerful message that can be applied to all walks of life and not just by us trainers trying to motivate our clients after the festive period binge! It’s a message I try to apply to most seemingly negative situations.
So, during the global pandemic is there a silver lining? Is it moral to even look for one? Should we simply focus on the effects this virus is having on society and mourn respectfully? It’s not my place to speak for others. But I guess all I can do is conduct myself in a manner that helps, as opposed to making it worse.
My emotions are up and down constantly, as on one hand I’m enjoying spending more time with my wife but, on the other, I’m struggling to effectively change how Common Purpose provides fitness services to our amazing client base.
Speaking of which, my sincerest thoughts go out to all those that have been affected by this virus and I hope all of you who read this haven’t been affected on the most tragic level. I hope we can all band together as a community to get through these difficult times.
Disconnect to Reconnect
It’s a pretty obvious point here and I’m sure we’ve all been told to limit our screen time and don’t need reminding! Speaking personally though, I find it interesting how this latest lockdown has highlighted the double edge sword that it is! On one hand, we’re able to connect to loved ones with such ease, on the other, it’s very easy to get stuck into the online realm and never leave!
Eastern philosophies visually show this duality and harmony through the famous yin and yang symbol (as you may know this is something we based our Common Purpose logo on).
There is so much news on repeat, so many people creating content, online classes, digital party apps and online gaming are to name but a few things that keep us hooked. Being stuck indoors means that these services have never been in so much demand.
However, this situation does present to us an opportunity to connect with a more peaceful way of life. Our roads are clearer than ever, the air seems fresher and nature seems to be flourishing. For me, there is real beauty in this and something I’ve never witnessed before. So, I’m trying to turn all my devices off, spend time cooking, reading, talking to my wife, sitting in my garden and listening to nature, even meditating from time to time.
How We’ve Adapted
As personal trainers, we deliver a service that is…well..personal. Our business usually revolves around 1-2-1 coaching on the gym floor! So, It’s a massive shift in the way we live our lives and play our role in society. However, now more than ever it’s important to keep fit, healthy and active! Joe Wicks showcases this perfectly and has been labelled one of the saviours of the nation by offering daily PE classes to children and almost 900,000 people have tuned it.
However, our trainers are skilled at delivering one to one training to the individuals we care for. At Common Purpose we try our best to really understand the person in front of us and help coach them from their current situation to their chosen goal in the future. We use exercise programming, nutrition advice, recovery optimisation techniques and mindset skills to help motivate and keep our clients focused for the long run. So how do we keep doing this?
To provide for our clients we’ve been working hard to develop our online training platform! We’ve now filmed over 250 exercise demos and uploaded them to our YouTube channel. We integrated them with a specific personal training app and programmed all our clients with home training workouts; touching base with them on a weekly basis. We also will be putting out some regular content to help share our take on this pandemic situation and hopefully inspire some acceptance, connection, emotional support and some balance too!
We send all our regards and love out to all those out there and will try our best to keep strong too!
If you’re interested in starting your health and fitness journey with us…
Disclosure: This article is not to be used as medical advice. If you are currently experiencing physical or mental health issues, please seek professional advice from a fully qualified Nutritionist, GP or Physiotherapist.