One of the most beautiful transformations in nature is to watch a caterpillar transform into a butterfly. A butterfly has many life cycles: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The metamorphosis from a caterpillar into a butterfly occurs during the pupa stage. During the pupa stage the caterpillar’s new body transforms inside of a cocoon. This is where the remarkable changes take place. Its old body is broken down and a new one emerges.
For me this has always been a metaphor for how we overcome hardships in our life.
According to Wikipedia, Cocooning is staying inside one’s home, insulated from perceived danger, instead of going out. The term was coined in 1981 by Faith Popcorn, a trend forecaster and marketing consultant. It is used in social science, marketing, parenting, economic forecasting, self-help, religion, and has become part of standard English as defined by multiple dictionaries.
In her 1991 book, The Popcorn Report, Popcorn describes cocooning as: “the impulse to go inside when it just gets too tough and scary outside. To pull a shell of safety around yourself, so you’re not at the mercy of a mean, unpredictable world – those harassments and assaults that run the gamut from rude waiters and noise pollution to crack-crime and recession. Cocooning is about insulation and avoidance, peace and protection, coziness and control-a sort of hyper-nesting.”
The coronavirus has made cocooning a new global reality. We are encouraged to stay home and self-isolate. In some cases, people have been in lockdown for more than a month and this experience can become frustrating, stressful and even infuriating.
Many Psychologists have described the emotions experienced during a lockdown as similar to those of losing a loved one. Many are calling it The Five Stages of Lockdown Grief. The 5 stages are:
The first emotion we experience is often disbelief that this is actually happening.
“Coronavirus has triggered a sudden loss of structure and a loss of social contact for people all over the world, who are now trying to create a new routine for themselves working from home, or perhaps not working at all,” says Dr Collins.
Just as we feel anger when grieving the death of a loved one, it is normal to feel angry about the loss of normality and sudden upheaval foisted on us by the coronavirus crisis. It’s important to relinquish anger to move on to the acceptance phase of the situation.
It’s normal to feel sadness and other negative emotions during this time, and we must accept that despair can grip us at any stage in our lockdown journey. Tears should never be seen as a sign of weakness, rather as a natural reaction to shock and change. Notice your emotions, describe them to yourself or those around you, analyse what triggered them and let them go without judgment.
After the anger fades, it’s time to accept reality and start fostering new routines to give us a sense of energy and purpose.
“We reach a point where this is our new reality and we accept it, whether it’s working from home, homeschooling our kids, settling into the aftermath of job loss or seeking support from the Government,” says Dr Collins.
Hope and optimism
The final and most beneficial stage where we develop new skills and develop solutions to the challenges of life under lockdown.
What we’re all working towards! This is the final and most beneficial stage.
“This hopeful, optimistic state is where we’re able to be more creative about how to make this situation work for us – the constructive, productive part of our brain is open for business again,” says Dr Collins. Source: President of the AAPi Dr Anne Marie Collins.
As with the butterfly, use this time of cocooning to transform your life into what you would like it to look like when you come out of your cocoon at the end of the lockdown.
Use this time to:
- Learn a new skill that will enhance your business. I am using this time to gain skills that I normally would not have the time to acquire. I took Lauren Kinghorn’s How to RedBubble Course on Udemy and look at all the exciting designs I have created.
- Catch up on some reading. There are some great eBooks out there that are easily accessible. Here is a link for the best free eBooks.
- Learn to meditate and be mindful. This is the perfect time to learn how to meditate. Read Michelle Vooghts’ article on “Meditation – my reflections, experience and research on the benefits of meditation.”
- Learn a new language. A great site to try is Duolingo.
- Join an online community. Read our article “Building Your Tribe“ and join a community that can support you through these difficult times. We invite you to join ours.
You can transform this time of self-isolation by altering your mindset. You have a unique opportunity to do anything you’ve been wanting to do all your life.
Emerge from your cocoon at the end of the lockdown as the beautiful butterfly you are, ready to tackle the world with new hope and optimism, ready to spread your wings and fly!
Article originally posted on Xtraordinary Women.