With quarantine restrictions easing from June 1st here in the UK, we will start to get certain freedoms and parts of our old lives back. Whether this will be the exact same life as before is highly debatable, especially because only 9% of Britons wanting life to return to normal once lockdown is over. Despite no one being able to predict both the short and long-term effects of COVID-19, what we know for certain is that this virus will, for better or for worse, leave a lasting mark on humankind, and there are many lessons to be learned from it.
We have all experienced this Coronavirus lockdown in different ways, with each new week undoubtedly marked by a different theme or phase. We’ve also all learned a lot, from our individual experiences and challenges during this time. Though Covid-related news will continue to be in the headlines for the foreseeable future, as we distance ourselves from the peak of the pandemic, all the minute details from lockdown will inevitably start to blur.
Yet these learnings and lessons from quarantine are so invaluable, and they’re held in these small details. Who knows when the next pandemic will arise, to offer the world yet another moment of pause? Well, hopefully not in our lifetimes, but with that being said, I want to remember this period of time while it is still fresh in my head. I’ve written a list of my biggest lessons from life in lockdown, that I hope to carry with me as we start easing out of it.
- Stream of consciousness journaling is good for the soul.
- The great outdoors also does wonders for your mind. Even a 10-minute walk through nature and greenery will make you feel at ease.
- Don’t rush so much, just focus on the present. When life inevitably gets busy again is when you most need to slow down.
- Being able to work from home is a blessing. There is nothing like a midday workout in your living room or being able to whip up a healthy lunch while jamming to 70s dance music. Definitely couldn’t get away with that in the office! Even as people start going back to their workplaces, I expect most of us will want to continue working from home at least a few days a week if we can.
- You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have fun.
- Bike rides are the best. Especially when that bike is electric.
- We are all creative humans when given time to rest and think. I’ve found my creative outlet in writing, impromptu dance sessions and digital collage.
- Be open to new ideas, new thoughts and perspectives, new ways of doing things. I’ve been listening to so many more podcasts, and have read more books in the past two months, than I have in the last two years combined. My brain has become a sponge, ready to absorb as many ideas as possible, and this is largely down to how much more time I have been given to be open to these ideas.
- Social media can be used for good. Out of boredom, I downloaded TikTok when lockdown first started. I then deleted it a few weeks later, so that was short-lived! But I also signed up to Twitter and Instagram, and so far these have stuck. Although these platforms can be problematic — becoming too much, too immediate and too fast and making us feel like we’re always switched on — they can also be used to connect and spread light in the world. I witnessed the SpaceX Falcon launch on Twitter, and never felt more connected to humanity. I first learned about the George Floyd protests through people’s Instagram stories, and was amazed at how everyone came together to spread awareness and create waves, even under lockdown conditions. These platforms have also helped me feel more creative and confident sharing my thoughts, writings and collages with the world, and watching what others create.
- Perspective is everything. So is routine. Yet balance trumps all. I don’t mean to get all preachy, but a positive mindset, even when positivity is the last thing you want to feel, really can change your perspective and make you feel better about your current situation. It’s that whole fake it till you make it mentality, that I’ve always rolled my eyes at. As for routine — even the most focused, aspirational people can unravel without structure and routine in their lives, so in long periods of rest and relaxation, I know I need routine to stay sane — even something as simple as a set workout time and daily walk helps. Balance rounds everything off, because I’ve learned all too well that too much of anything is never a good thing.
I’m sure there are many lessons I missed and others that are yet to become clear, so I will continue to think and reflect on this. I’d also love to know what your biggest lesson has been from the past few weeks, so please share it with us in the comments below.