How to view isolation and lockdown as an opportunity

By Dr Phil Clarke

As we go into another week of lockdown, and the end of it is still unknown, it’s important to keep some perspective. Although a lot of us may be feeling restricted in terms of what we are able to do physically and socially, this extra time at home can give us an opportunity to think about work and how we can improve.

So how can we turn this adversity to our benefit and grow through it?

  1. Acceptance is the start

The first step for us to move forward is to accept the current situation for what it is. Accepting the situation will allow you to problem-solve new ways in which you can get used to what, for all of us, is a new way of life for the foreseeable future. By accepting the situation we can start to “Anticipate, Accept and Adapt” any further changes that happen in these uncertain times. There are likely to be more road bumps ahead. You want to be ready for them and be able to approach them rather than avoid them. This is accepting that you are going to feel anxious and nervous about things, but instead of avoiding it, lean into it.

  1. Connection is key

As discussed in my previous article, the importance of connection is key in the current situation. But social support will now come in a different way. Make sure to stay in touch with key figures in your life and work. Be in regular contact with those you usually work and network with. Online quizzes and online networking have sprung up as a great way of keeping people connected and having fun. Relationships you build now will benefit you on the other side of this crisis.

  1. Reframing

It’s important for you to get a new perspective on the current situation. Where can we find new meaning and opportunities? This time offers a great chance to improvise, adapt and overcome.  Think about what you want to achieve in the future and start creating a plan of how to make that reality.

  1. Reflecting

One opportunity we have in this situation is the gift of more time. This can be a great chance to reflect on how your business has been going.  Think about the last five projects or opportunities you worked on and answer the following three questions:

1) What happened? – Put down all the key details.

2) What is the positive you can take from the experience? – What worked well and what did you enjoy most?

3) What is a lesson you can learn from this experience to help you in the future? – Break down what you would do differently another time.

Look at the answers and think about how you can pull these together to make long-term improvements in your business or improve your work-life balance.

  1. Appreciation

When we find our lives restricted, it’s a perfect opportunity to focus on what you HAVE rather than what you have LOST. The focus currently is to reduce expectations and to increase appreciation. It’s good to look at the positives you have in your life right now and appreciate them. This could be the chance to spend more time with your family, the chance to chat with a friend that you haven’t caught up with in a while. At the end of each day, think of three things that you were grateful for today and write them down. Do this for the next 30 days and make sure you identify new things to be grateful for at the end of each day.

  1. Resources

Look back at a difficult time you have faced in the past and remember how you managed to navigate your way through it and come out the other side. You can use the same ‘question and answer’ structure from point four to reflect on that experience. This adversity could have been a problem at work, a disappointment in business or a family issue. Learning from things that didn’t go well is a key skill to develop to achieve continuous improvement. You should also learn from the things that went well, rather than take them for granted.

DR Phil Clarke

Dr Phil Clarke is the Sport Psychology Lead at the Derbyshire Institute of Sport and Lecturer in Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology at the University of Derby Online Learning. Through this website and our social media channels, he will be sharing his thoughts on a range of topics as we travel through the current crisis together. 

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