Amongst the storm of 2020, I have tried to remain reflective and take this time as a chance to learn and ‘grow’. All the months have blurred into one but I can look back on the blog posts that I wrote during lockdown and kind of gauge how I was feeling when writing them.
1. Lockdown Made a Positive Difference to the Environment & We Can Do More
During lockdown, we did see the environment begin to ‘recover’. Venice’s canals are proof that we make quite an impact upon the environment – with no boat traffic, the canal water was clear and there was reported sightings of fish!! But now we’re increasing the use of disposable waste and polluting the oceans in the process. As life returns to somewhat normal, our impact on the environment increases naturally, but it’s definitely given food for thought as to what I can do to reduce my individual impact.
2. Gentle Exercise Is My Kind Of Thing
Walks and yoga kept me sane (ish) during the months of April-July. I did some workouts and they’re now in my routine every so often but I’ll lean towards yoga or going for a walk more often now. The aim is to step out the door every lunch time, even if that’s just walking down the lane and back and even in the pouring rain. Working at home is a lot more sedentary but a ‘fake commute’ or nipping out at lunchtime feels a bit more normal.
3. It’s Important to Check in With Your Family/Friends Often
Life takes over a lot of the time and more often than not, when we’re not feeling great, it’s easier to say “oh yeah I’m fine” to whoever is asking – especially on text. If you feel comfortable with them, try to be open – how are you doing well and how are you not doing so well? It might feel like too much to explain at the time but perhaps by saying you’re not feeling so great will open up the conversation either for them to talk as well or for later down the line when you’re ready to talk.
4. You Can ‘Burn Out’ Without Being On The Go 24/7
There has been plenty to keep our minds awake at night during the last 11 months. And there has been plenty to impact our mental health in so many different ways during the pandemic. Lockdown did press pause on our lifestyles so if you were on the go 24/7, the time to rest was so much more than before. But this time has been mentally draining and can definitely contribute to being burnt out, which is one of the reasons why self-care – especially within a pandemic – is one of the most productive things you can do for yourself.
5. Watching the Seasons Change is Calming
It’s been one constant amongst this year and whilst I’ve been working at home the last month, I’ve watched my garden turn into autumn every day. I normally find this year pretty hard mentally, especially when it gets dark at 4pm, but instead I’m appreciating how normal it is.
6. Reflection Is Key To Move On
Graduating in a pandemic was scary. The already challenging graduate job market became even harder and until June, I was still in disbelief that my degree had finished so quickly. But at the same time, I really had time to reflect on what I wanted to do and I think it was almost a break that I needed away from studying yet pre-entering the job market to think about my potential career.
7. Appreciate The Small Things
There have been times this year where going for a walk was the most exciting part of the day. The first caramel latte that I had when the coffee shops reopened was incredible. Online yoga classes. Being able to see people again. Going back to reflection, the time between April-June was spent appreciating the things I could do and trying to not miss the things I couldn’t.
8. Productivity Isn’t Everything
Everyone dealt with lockdown differently, I like being busy and needed something to feel ‘productive’ but sometimes that was simply walking the dog. The pressure to sign up to every online course possible exists when you see everyone else doing it but you don’t have to succumb to it – your own pace is everything.
9. There Is No One-Size Fits All For Self-care
With lockdown 2.0 being here, self-care is more important than ever. But there isn’t one approach that’s going to work for everyone. There isn’t one ‘self-care approach’ thats going to work everyday in fact. Self-care is much smaller than you’d think, it’s recognising how you feel, the small things that can make it better and how you treat yourself in different scenarios. My favourite quote/motto at the moment is: “Taking care of yourself is productive” and it’s going to be one to live by in lockdown 2.0.
10. Embrace a New Way of Thinking
Over the last 11 months, my perspective has definitely changed. Potentially more pessimistic about the overall picture than I was before but to be more positive towards the smaller things. I think we might all see the world differently to before, lifestyles might not go back to how they were before and it’s a shift in perspective to adjust to that.
11. Celebrate The Positives
THE SMALL WINS. They’re there amongst the negatives – individual to yourself and your situation. But you’ve got this.