How is the lockdown affecting you? We talk a lot about the negative impacts of this pandemic but can the difficulties also teach us something about ourselves and help us to become stronger? Our guest blogger, Alex Manners, believes that you should never let your circumstances hold you back. He is sharing with us his thoughts about all the things that he has learnt during the lockdowns. A huge thank you to Alex for this great article.
First of all, I have started to value the little things in life more. My uncle used to tell me that “the best things in life are free” and because I take things very literally, I did not understand him. Things like going on a walk with a friend or visiting my grandma are much more important to me now and I shall try my hardest never to get stressed again when going to my parent’s house. My life was so busy before lockdown that I never had time to go on so many walks. Because of the lockdown I have been able to explore places that I had never been to before.
As well as going on lots of walks with people, I have also had more time to spend speaking with them on the phone. My aunt and I for example try and have a facetime call every day. Before the lockdown we only ever used to phone each other about once a week and never via facetime. I also speak to others via facetime and when I do so it feels like I am with them in the same room. These are just some of the things that I would like to carry on doing after the lockdown and the restrictions have ended. I may not have time to call as many people or go on as many walks, but I believe the things that helped me get through the lockdown, will definitely help me going forward.
A lot of the things that I normally do such as playing squash, going to football matches and travelling across the country presenting talks have been cancelled during the lockdown. Instead of worrying about not being able to do those activities I have been replacing them with activities that I can still do. These are things that I really enjoy but did not have much time to do due to my other commitments. So, although I have not been able to go to any football matches for ages, I have been playing golf instead. I am replacing one enjoyable activity with another.
Something else that I have learnt is to accept change more easily and to be more spontaneous. Whilst I find planning is very important so that I can have things to look forward to and clear my mind of any uncertainties, being spontaneous can have its advantages. One such advantage is that it stops me from missing out on things. Before the lockdown started my dad told me that I would have to become more spontaneous in the near future or else I would miss out on doing things. He was right! The lockdown is like nothing I have ever experienced before and because everything is so uncertain people have not known what they are doing each week. A great example is when I had arranged to meet my mum the following day for a walk. As rain was forecast, she suggested changing the plan and meeting that afternoon. I will admit that I was a little bit stressed about the change, but I did not want to miss out on seeing her. So, I chose to see her that afternoon which was far better than not seeing her at all just because I was unable to be spontaneous!
Not only am I now more spontaneous but I am also less rigid with my plans. My routine before the lockdown was to work on my computer during the day, go out of an evening and go out at the weekend. If someone had asked me if I would like to go out and do something with them during the week, I would have always tried to arrange it for an evening. Because most of the talks that I present have moved online, it means that I can earn the same amount of money without having to travel anywhere, giving me more spare time. So, if someone can only see me during the day then I will now think to myself “ok, I will go and see them and do my work in the evening”. Again, this way of thinking has helped me enormously and stops me from missing out on spending time with my friends and family. My dad says that the lockdown has served as a catalyst towards me becoming mentally stronger and more able to cope with the challenge’s life will throw at me in the future. Ironically, rather than break me, the lockdown has empowered me!
After a rocky start, I was able to adapt myself during the lockdown so that I could enjoy my life more. I have altered the way I react to situations by becoming less rigid in my thinking and more spontaneous. Evolving my mind in this way has enabled me to live more and worry less.
As you can tell, I have learnt quite a lot from the lockdown. My mindset has changed and I am now working, planning and thinking in different ways. When the lockdown is over and my routine goes back to normal so too will a lot of the ways I work, plan and think. However, I will still be keeping in mind all of these things that have made it easier for me to handle the difficulties I have faced. These newly acquired life skills have not only assisted me during the lockdown but will help me throughout the rest of my life!
Alex Manners is 23 and was diagnosed with Asperger’s when he was 10 years old. He is a TV & radio presenter, Asperger’s champion, public speaker and author from the Solihull. Alex has a definite ‘lust for life’ and believes that you should never let your circumstances hold you back. To Alex, life is an adventure and he is determined to spend it pursuing his passions!