Dealing with anxiety in the lockdown time.

How to outrun anxiety and make the most of lock-down time

Something clicked when lockdown began.

It was the start of the next ‘12 Week Year‘ segment, I’m standing in my broom cupboard office in Mainyard not sure what is going on. And the anxiety sets in before anyone else has prepared.

At that point, my main ‘12 Week Goal‘ was to stay alive and not lose my head to anxiety.

Human’s need certainty

It turns out as humans we all need some certainty. And 2020 was one of the most ‘certain’ years I was going to have in my life so far. 

In 2019 I received some of the best support and coaching I’ve ever had in my life. I attended a couple of rock-solid courses.

My therapy ended in January 2020 and after seven years, felt very complete about the whole thing.

I was at full throttle with the grand plans for the year ahead, and then COV-19 happened. 

It is like seeing an empty field when opening the door to your new house instead of everything inside.

I cried for at least a week.

So I’m lucky, in the way most people in the world are having to cope with COVID-19 being upset for a week with my silly changes is nothing.

Laëtitia, Željko and I talk about other peoples jobs, working from home and bullshit jobs in this podcast here

Coworking Values Podcast

All the horror of the depression and mental tailspin I was in a few years ago gives me perspective on what is happening now.

I’m delighted I can work at home, and not want to kill myself. That I have apps, people, and mental discipline to deal with working and keeping sane. 

One of the reasons I’m so pro coworking is because I lost my mind working at home on my own. Now, I’m ok.

Coworking saved my life.

When I joined Mainyard in Hackney back in 2013, I was in a bad place, and like my mate, Mike says in his talk, Coworking Saved My Life.

I’d tell you my story, but it is similar to Mike’s story in our Coworking Values Podcast here.

Right now, I’m in maintenance and focus mode – considering all the circumstances I’m doing great.

I followed Jonothan Stark’s advice in this early COVID-19 email and stuck to the good habits and ditch the bad ones – read it all here.

Really, the only bad habit I have right now is making myself Scooby Snack style sandwiches whenever bread accidentally arrives in our home.

In the first two weeks, I found it hard to focus. Like everyone, I was screaming to make sense of what was going on.

I’d like to be a better person, but I too was concerned about running out of toilet paper. 

I noticed anxiety rushing out of the inside of me somewhere, ready to take its place as my central operating system. 

Awareness brings change 

The best way to describe how it felt is when Neo stops the bullets in the Matrix. 

I could see and feel anxiety coming in, and I could see I had the power to stop it. 

Of course, I’m going to be anxious, but letting it totally control me? 

That would be nuts. 

I feel stress in my shoulders and sometimes the front of my head.  

So I look for ways to stop and step back when that sensation happens.

What has clicked for me here?

It is not COVID that hurts me or anything else, it is me doing too many things at the same time, struggling to complete anything and the anxiety that comes with it.

With the help of an app called Exist, I was a Beta tester when they launched and now I track and journal my work and behaviour more than ever.

Exist connects to your email, social, project tools and even Pocket. 

You rate your day, add in a score and micro journal for the day.

Another tool called Sunsama connects your Google Calendar and project tool in one place and opens every day with a page asking you to review your day and progress. 

Then at the end of the week, it delivers a few questions to review your week. 

There is no surprise here that I was doing too much, I always kinda knew.

 I connected, finally, this week how I’m kidding myself and let it go.

Less is more

In the first weeks of COVID, I wrote out pages of killer ideas for online events and other antics. 

I even mapped them out and gave them dates, launch sequences content maps. 

No one gives a shit about what is hanging out in your notebook, project tool or files on your computer.

I hit delete on all of those files! Because you know, Less is more.

Fear not! Usually, when I’ve had an idea, it comes back to me when I need it, or something even better comes up. 

Like Edison said in 1914 when a fire engulfed his factory, “it’s ok we just got rid of a load of rubbish”. 

In the middle of it all, Edison told his 24-year-old son, “Go get your mother and all her friends. They’ll never see a fire like this again.” 

The real fire for me. 

It is hitting publish and finishing things that are the real bolt of energy and progress for me.

And I’ve never quite got this into my head, we now have 25 episodes of the Coworking Values Podcast, and the Coworking Symposium is filling up fast.

BTW Get in quick! We only have room for 5000 people to attend on the webinar platform so when it gets to there, we’ll start a waiting list. 
RSVP for free here.

Coworking Symposium 2020

Stacking the website bricks

Every day I methodically work on my website to sell audio courses and make a membership using Wishlist plugin.

There pages for my new services like podcast set up and webinar production, alongside the usual marketing consulting. 

I’ve never had a website that is so well planned and linked together, and already it is starting to work. 

The small steps every day are what make it happen in real life. 

Being forced to stop and reconsider everything was one of the main things that enabled all of this progress.

Still uncertain 

There is still a massive amount of uncertainty, it seems all anyone is talking about is some combination of when we go back vs should we go back. 

I did so much rushing around in my head, and in real life, that was stopped in its tracks, and now it has been long enough I can see I don’t need any of that. 

I want my broom cupboard back in my coworking space, but it will be somewhere to go to work, not rush to. 

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