A Flexibility in Lockdown Case Study

Context:

  • Is that a contradiction in terms?

  • Or is it a juxtaposition of ideas?

  • Is it possible to be flexible in continuing lockdown?

  • Flexibility – what’s that about anyway?


Flexibility is about trying stuff and seeing what happens – seeing if it works and if it doesn’t … ‘adapt and overcome’…

Lockdown is a continuing journey for you and for everyone.


In continuing lockdown, you could consider being even more flexible than you thought you were already being. There might be nothing to lose and something to gain…

What’s the smallest viable flexible experiment you could do that might be a big winner for you?



Try stuff – invent ways to think and behave and be that might just be helpful, pleasurable and give a sense of purpose. Try things that might enhance your mood. Practising flexibility might lead to new choices and new habits that are meaningful for you. You could have a go – see what works for you.


Here’s how one working mum and her son are practising the art of flexibility in continuing lockdown – trying stuff and finding out what happens …


Stephanie* is a single mum and lives with her 14 year-old son, George**. They have been living together in a bubble since the beginning of lockdown in March 2020 – and now they are continuing journeying onwards together in the continuing lockdown.


Early on in lockdown, George was tending to spend a lot of time indoors, being physically sedentary, on devices – his x-box and his tablet. This was useful for George as it filled up some of his increased time at home. Stephanie is a full-time working mum and has been working from home since March and continues to work at home.



Their story:


During their time together Stephanie and George gradually started to think differently – they started to explore ideas for how to spend some of their ‘extra time’ available to them since going to school and commuting were not happening. The Rugby Club where George spent lots of time enjoying playing rugby and that Stephanie had many friends in, was closed.


Instead of sitting endlessly on a couch or in a bedroom – they hatched an idea to try something new – they found an app that would guide them from the couch to 5K running.


The app gave clear guided steps for a beginner to build up to running. They decided to give it a go …



Very soon Stephanie and George found themselves following the guidance and getting out into the fresh air ( very few cars on the roads, quiet streets, fresher air, birds singing and you could hear them ) in all weathers, having a go at progressing from walking at a ‘scouts pace’ to running.


The 5K didn’t quite happen – Stephanie and George found they didn’t continue with the running – however, the outdoors was proving to be very beneficial for both of them. George was getting increased time away from his x-box and getting outside and was more energised. Stephanie found the air and the outdoors was good for her mood. They both found that spending time walking together opened their minds up for conversation.

The couch to 5K experiment led Stephanie and George to their next experiment.


They adapted from running outdoors – to walking together every other day in the outdoors. This walking together became a new habit – something that Stephanie and George enjoy together and these regular walks are continuing in continuing lockdown.

The useful and helpful behaviour of shared walking together that Stephanie and George discovered also led to some new shared hobbies and interests in their home. They started to develop an interest in cooking, watching cooking programmes and making food for each other. This new behaviour also became a new habit and Stephanie and George are continuing to cook new food and to eat together. Stephanie says has this has also improved the quality of their increased time spent together in their home.


Stephanie says that the two new habits – walking regularly and cooking good home-made food combined to have the effect of making them both feel better, enhancing each of their moods.


They could now sit on a couch feeling pleased with themselves, having done some activity outdoors and cooked – they had a sense of having deserved a sit on the couch in the evenings, or a session on the x-box.


Feeling in a better mood – Stephanie started to make social connections reaching out to friends from the Rugby Club – chatting and messaging regularly and this connection with significant friends raised her mood too.


Outcomes:


Stephanie and George’s story shows us how flexibility in lockdown can be useful.

Being flexible, not only rigidly sticking to known old routines. Starting to open their minds up to some new ideas (as well as keeping their comforting couch and x-box habits) led to new useful habits in 3 significant areas:

  • Helpful behaviours

  • Social connections

  • New attitudes and mindsets



Question:

What attitudes and mindsets are Stephanie and George discovering in lockdown and continuing lockdown?


Answer:

  1. Flexibility – open-up to new choices and new helpful behaviours

  2. Trying stuff – with a bias to action

The experiment of doing Couch to 5K did not completely work for Stephanie and George – but it did lead to regular walking and a shared love of cooking.


Walking is now a pleasure for them both and along with better eating has proved to be useful in raising their mood - making lots of time together both pleasurable and purposeful.


Flexibility it seems, could lead to finding pleasure and purpose in continuing lockdown.


*name changed

** name changed


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