Has life in lockdown taught you something positive about yourself? Or has it shown you a way of living that you’d like to continue once normal life resumes?
As lockdown restrictions are gradually being lifted and we’re on the cusp of returning to some kind of normality, this presents an opportunity to think about what we’ve learnt from the past few months.
Covid-19 has sadly, for so many people, brought devastation, pain and worry. Yet, there have also been many positives that have arisen from this pandemic. It has brought many communities together, we have a national sense of solidarity for the NHS and other frontline workers, we’re appreciating time outdoors and in our local areas, and much more.
So, while it has undoubtedly been a time of uncertainty and confusion, there are clearly some positive life lessons we can take away from all of this. With that in mind, here are five lessons we need to try to remember in a life post-lockdown.
The art of slow living
Maybe you’ve been able to appreciate more of the simple pleasures in life recently. Whether it’s sitting in the garden or the local park, feeling the warmth of the sun on your face, having time to read a book or just be more reflective, the pace of life certainly seems to have slowed down.
Ellen Hoggard, Content Manager at Happiful says, “I've learnt that I really do enjoy taking things at my own pace. I've kept myself surprisingly active and busy, but have really listened to my body and mind and know now when I need to take things slower, or when it's a matter of mindset.”
Jewellery designer Lucille Whiting tells me that her son went into anaphylactic shock at Easter, after which her family all caught Covid-19, and it has helped to remind her what’s really important. “I think I'm going to be spending a lot more time slowing down and spending time with my small people.”
“It's been nice to talk more, stress less and realise what's important.”
Hobbies can bring so much joy
For front line and key workers, this has undoubtedly been a busy and stressful time, however, for many others, this may be the first time you've had so much free time on your hands.
Life Coach Margaret Easton says, “At first you may have caught up with chores or dabbled with some DIY. But once the 'busyness' passed you may have tasted a newfound freedom in which to explore new hobbies, or pursued long-forgotten pastimes that used to be your passion.
“For me this has taken the form of creative writing, reading and listening to inspiring, positive speakers. And just taking time to be in the moment more and being more mindful as I sit enjoying the sunshine or go for walks.”
You are more than what’s on your to-do list
When this all started, there seemed to be a shift in expectations of ourselves. Many of us, rightly or wrongly, wanted to use all this free time to our advantage; to be more productive, to reach new goals, to ‘do’ more.
But, what that narrow view fails to consider is the huge amount of upheaval we have been facing during the pandemic. Perhaps the most important item on all of our to-do lists has been ‘to survive’ throughout this time - to wake up each day and keep going. But this is perhaps something we’ve failed to consider when reflecting on our productivity levels.
Ellen says, “I've had to face some hard truths about how I judge myself and what I consider to be a productive day. Work-wise I've always judged my productivity on what I have completed, but there's much more than that, and actually, it's fine to accept that it's a bad day. I switch off, go for a walk and start again fresh the next morning.”
Focus on the things you have control over
During this period of uncertainty, it can be hard not to worry about things outside of your control - worrying about friends, family, what life might be like in the months to come. But, to ease anxiety, it’s important to take each day as it comes and focus on the things in your life that are within your control.
Outreach and Online PR Executive André Gwilliam says that he’s found it hard supporting his girlfriend, who is grieving the loss of her brother who died two years ago. He says that her way of coping was to travel back home to see her parents.
“I've decided to stick with talking to a counsellor each Thursday and I've realised that self-care and not putting pressure on myself is the key to staying calm through this situation. I've learned to be respectful and accepting of her situation and what works for her through this difficult time.”
You don’t need to plan your life to the nth degree
It feels almost unnatural not to look ahead and make plans for the future. But, we’ve all had to get used to taking things at a day-by-day pace.
Katie Hoare, Digital Marketing and Content Officer says, “I have found that lockdown has taught me that it’s OK not to have a plan. The next day will still dawn whether I know what’s going to happen or not, whether I’m prepared or not, and that’s OK. Learning to be adaptable and spontaneous has been key for me.”
André agrees, “We want to have lots of adventures where possible once this comes to an end. But, for now, we're avoiding bigger decisions such as buying a house, which we've seen others trying to do at the moment.”
For many, all of this has given us a greater appreciation of what’s most valuable in life: our family, our friends, our free time, our health and our freedom.
So, although life may begin to be busy again, and it may be too easy to let these lessons slowly drift out of our minds, it really is worth making a conscious effort to remember these as much as you can in your daily life. It can help you to find the right balance to hold onto these precious gifts.