Anna Jackson is the owner of Believe It coaching, wheelchair basketball coach, tutor and mentor and a motivational speaker. Anna has featured on this blog before as part of our 'Ordinary people living extraordinary lives' section so it was great to catch up with her to see how she is dealing with lockdown.
AL: How has the lockdown affected you and your work? AJ: In terms of work, it has all gone! Looking at what my calendar should have been, there were 25 school bookings which involved wheelchair basketball, motivational speaking and fitness sessions which were wiped off straight away. The voluntary work I do through the local Hospice with the Bereavement Team has gone in terms of being there physically but now I'm offering telephone support. The lockdown came at an interesting time as my mental health was on a slide before that. I could feel I was becoming burnt out and considering taking time out and then the decision was made with lockdown that now I have to stop and take time out. In a way, it stopped me from imploding as it's very difficult to make that decision to take a break from work to put self first when you're self-employed. My partner Karen has also been affected as she recently returned to work after coming through her cancer journey and now she has been furloughed so she is back at home all day. We had strategies in place for being in the same house all day together previously so this is not a shock. I also have my own office in the garden so we aren't always in the same space. AL: What tips can you share with our readers for getting through lockdown? AJ: Accepting how I feel rather than avoiding helps me see that the feelings I have are understandable. So, I have been saying to people that if they are feeling scared, unmotivated, worried, lost, unfocused or confused then they are all fine. Some people are filling time and focusing on many things and I think the key message is that everyone's situation is different. For some being away from others is great whilst for others it's the most difficult thing. In all the mix of online resources, it's important to find what works for you as mindfulness and meditation doesn't work for all. A lot of the fitness videos don't work for everyone watching especially if they have a disability or struggle with certain moves so you have to work out what to access and where to adapt the moves so you can engage in something. The main thing is to give it a try and see what you can do. Just being not doing is also important for me. When I'm out with the dog, what I can see and what I can hear helps me focus and be in the present moment rather than being distracted listening to an audiobook or talking on the phone. Knowing what our tell-tale signs are is a good thing to check in with, such as knowing when we are on that downward slide. Maybe this time is giving us the chance to learn more about ourselves? Who am I really? So for example, I've had 2/3 years of counselling and psychologist support and I've worked on bringing my public and private sides together so I can show the real me more at all times. I am much more open with everyone now and that has had a knock on effect on friends, family and people I coach and play sport with as they have become more open and accepting of themselves. AL: You've had a recent diagnosis of autism, can you talk about that? AJ: Yeah, I've worked with lots of children and adults with autism and started to see a few traits in myself and certain aspects of my behaviour. I mentioned this to my psychologist and went through the assessment process. The provisional diagnosis came at the right time for me to be able to work out all my behaviours. There have been some light bulb moments where I've been able to ask myself whether it's me or my autism and it's helped to give it a name. So, now my partner and I can ask 'is that Marvin or me'. In the long term, it's giving me a new relationship with myself as I am more confident in how I feel. It's quite liberating in terms of accepting myself rather than changing to fit in. AL: Is there anything else which is helping you? AJ: I write a clear diary with timings rather than writing a list. A list can be daunting for me so it's important for me to consider the absolutes and the maybes and I allow myself to not complete what I can't do for whatever reason. I don't worry about not achieving something so I won't put pressure on myself. Yes, there is opportunity for learning new skills but only if they are enjoyable and I am not putting pressure on myself. I am taking lots of time to relax and read and watch films. It's good to look at what you can control in that moment and let go of what you can't. This is a time of grieving for lots of people as we are experiencing a loss of contact with family and friends and the way of life we have been used to.
Anna can be contacted through the following social media platforms:
Website - http://www.believeitcoaching.co.uk
Twitter - @ALJ2372
Facebook - AnnaJacksonBasketball
Linkedin - believe-it-coaching