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MGS Wellbeing Sessions: Finding connection during lockdown

MGS has partnered with a small Edinburgh business, KnotStressed Therapies & Wellbeing Centre to deliver 4 wellbeing sessions via Zoom over the coming weeks. KnotStressed Director, Onie Tibbit, writes for us about the importance of prioritising our own wellbeing during lockdown.

At KnotStressed Therapies, we are delighted to have been invited by Museum Galleries Scotland to offer staff and sector colleagues a wellbeing package to bolster mental and physical wellbeing during lockdown. The Covid-19 pandemic has created so many challenges for all of us and we are glad to be in a position to help. We look forward to welcoming you onto one of our online classes soon!

Head and shoulders image of a smiling adult with light skin, short brown hair, and a green top.
Onie Tibbit, Director of KnotStressed

Living apart from our wider family and friends, being furloughed at work or working from home… the world feels like it’s on pause. Of course, lockdown will affect us all differently. The trials faced by those full-time parenting young children around work will be distinct to those experiencing the heightened loneliness of living alone and the long hours of each day. Not to mention the vast array of other stressors such as managing health and care issues, feeling trapped in a flat with no garden, trying to keep a business afloat by transitioning to online services, living separately for shielding reasons, not being able to see elderly relatives or new babies. We are now weeks into lockdown and it is looking like we’ll be facing another three weeks at the very least. It is also likely that social distancing measures will be in place and affect our lives for many months to come. It would be easy to allow the palpable stress of the global situation and the challenges we are facing at home to overwhelm our daily thoughts. Finding ways to beat the lockdown blues is essential for our mental and physical health both in the short and longer term. Finding what works will be unique to you.

What does it mean to be connected to other?

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past fortnight, as I am sure so many have, contemplating the impacts of a lack of physical contact with others. If you google ‘connection’ the definition that comes up is: a relationship in which a person or thing is linked or associated with something else. What does that really mean for us humans? I jotted down a quick list of the first thoughts that came to mind when I considered the value of human connection in my daily life as a mother, partner, friend, colleague, massage therapist, pregnancy/birth/postnatal support worker, and as a celebrant: touch, laughter, banter, community, sharing stories, halving problems, perspective, outward looking, stimulation, hugs, affection, meaningful contact, letting off steam, relaxation, feeling strong, fun, a sense of purpose, motivation, helping others, fulfilment, joy If you like, why not do the same? Close your eyes, picture yourself in your daily life and the roles you fulfil and jot down any feelings or thoughts that come to mind. The challenge that we then face is: how are we to generate those feelings whilst socially distancing during lockdown?

The challenge of finding connection

Of course, there may be some things on your list that will feel impossible to achieve. For example, on my list, hugs. Hugs with those we are not living with are clearly not allowed at the moment. However, there are other ways to bring meaningful touch into your life. My teenage daughter and I exchange massages a couple of times a week whilst watching movies. My youngest and I have created ‘the best spa in the world’ at home where we enjoy a head massage, a mini-facial and give each other foot rubs. I’ve been teaching Indian Head Massage workshops to families and couples online. It’s a lovely way to connect and have fun. Most of the things on my list are feelings I can work towards accessing in other ways – through cycling or hiking the hills near my home, connecting with my writing group online, catching up with friends through zoom socials, setting structured tasks for home and work, keeping a sense of community alive through my work for myself and others. Whatever you come up with to help offset your lockdown blues, we hope that the online wellbeing classes offered through KnotStressed Therapies might be part of the solution. We look forward to ‘seeing’ you soon!