How to get through the next six months of lockdown restrictions, according to an expert

It has officially been six months since Boris Johnson imposed a national lockdown due to the pandemic.

While restrictions have since loosened throughout the summer, the UK took a sharp turn recently, and last night Johnson announced tighter restrictions that could last for another six months.

The UK is not the only country hitting the six-month mark – across Europe, restrictions are tightening again and the US only seems to be getting worse as they reached the once almost inconceivable 200,000 person death toll on Tuesday.

It is no surprise then, if you are hitting the “6 month wall,” according to Dr Aisha Ahmad, a professor of International Security at the University of Toronto.

In a viral Twitter thread posted earlier this week, Ahmad, who has experience working in disaster zones for extended periods of time, shared helpful knowledge and reassurance on what it means to hit the 6-month-mark of any sustained crisis situation, and how to best get through it.

It is normal to be in a “slump” right now

As we all try to assimilate to the “new normal”: social distancing, staying away from loved ones, enduring heightened job-stress, health anxiety, unprecedented loss and so much more than is hard to articulate, it is beyond reasonable to individually and collectively feel like we’re hitting a wall.

“I *always* hit a wall 6 months into a tough assignment in a disaster zone. The desire to "get away" or "make it stop" is intense. I've done this many times, and at 6 months, it's like clockwork,” Ahmad wrote.

Ride it out, don’t expect to be your most creative-self

Even though it feels like the “dark, wintery tunnel” will never end, “power through that 6 month hump before and there is life on the other side,” she said.

Don’t be concerned if you are not at your best right now, she reiterates, as long as you are meeting “your obligations and be kind to your loved ones, you get an A+”.

Don’t lose hope, it will eventually get better

If you can push through the next few weeks, the six-month spell will break: “you will hit a new stride.”

Give yourself “mental leave” from the situation

Even though it is impossible to “physically leave” this particular crisis situation, Ahmad recommends giving yourself, if possible, “a mental or figurative ‘shore leave’” (referring to leave that professional sailors get to spend on dry land).

Don’t fight it, or beat yourself up over having to do it, she explains, and soon the “brick wall” will dissipate.

The main take away is, this six-month state of mind is not permanent!


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