There is no doubt about it, lockdown can be soul destroying. Every day the news tells us of hundreds more than expected deaths, the lack of personal protective equipment and the devastation which is hitting millions of people up and down the country.
Now we are told to expect a recession, which of course is inevitable. So, the question is: what are we supposed to do to keep ourselves calm and balanced in a world which is so busy reacting to the current crisis? I mean, most have completely forgotten about the huge issue of climate change, and let’s not mention Brexit.
We have all seen how the earth’s air pollution cleared in a matter of weeks when the world went into lockdown. And do you remember the rivers in Italy? Clear and clean. This got me me wondering how we can revive our own inner spirit during lockdown, when the world is going through a crisis, but we have to get on with everyday.
Just another thing to complain about or an opportunity to grow?
Every time I switch on the TV, it seems all I hear about are all the things we don’t have, rather than how lucky we are to be alive and still have our freedom (although slightly minimised). There seem to be far too many people offended by orders to stay at home as an affront to their personal freedom. It honestly is an order to keep us safe, and if you can make your home a loving, warm, safe place, then it’s really not so bad.
It is complicated, but it is not the only global virus to hit us, and by all accounts, it won’t be the last. Now that we know that COVID-19 is far more serious than was thought initially, I thought it was a good time to reset my thinking on my opinions about lockdown. We are learning more each day, and if we don’t learn, we will simply continue to repeat the mistake which have caused over 50,000 excess deaths since the end of February according the FT – that is just 2 1/2 months, or about 10 weeks. If lockdown lasts another 10 weeks, that is time enough to make some serious life changes and develop some healthier habits, rather than simply complain about all the things we can’t do.
We will all adapt to life at home a little differently, but for me, I have added some rituals before going to bed, besides the usual things I always do. I always have a deep cleanse, but now I take more time to use extra skin prepping steps before my night cream. I can get up slightly later in the morning, so I spend a bit more time writing out my gratitude list before bed, stating what I’m grateful for and what made me happy today. I also write my worries down, too.
I write a plan out for the following day, even though I’m not really going anywhere and not seeing people. Just making that time to plan makes me feel better.
Remind myself to appreciate nature and the great outdoors
One of the things I really miss is being able to head out to national parks, walks in the lake district, camping in Wales. Just being out on weekend trips where you have the freedom to visit beauty spots, pubs and restaurants … dreamy.
Either way, the weather is getting nicer now during lockdown, andI have decided it is worth getting flowers for myself every week or so. It gives me the same happy feeling as walking through the countryside, coming into one of the rooms in my home and seeing beautiful lightly scented colourful blooms.
To me, they signal that life is full of joy. Whether I keep them or send them on as a gift to make someone else smile, to me flowers remind me that life is to be loved and cherished every day. Plus, they look super pretty and classic in any home!
I’ve also discovered that I can gently separate the petals and dry them out to make my own potpourri when it is time to take them down. So if you ever feel that pain when it comes to throwing away rotting flowers, rememver that just before they start to die, you can do this trick to get much more use from them! I’m going to have a go at practising this hack a little more and if I start creating some lovely porpourri, I might even save some to give away as gifts later this year.
Develop inner peace through online classes
One thing I have found really interesting, and totally unexpectedly, is that many of the things I really wanted to do before lockdown are now available to me right in my own living room. Not quite in the same way, but I have enjoyed watching live DJ sets on YouTube, or artists performing live from their homes. Backstreet Boys doing a live video sing a long was one of my favourite lockdown moments!
I am also grateful that because of the pandemic spiritual retreats and those skilled in helping people find inner peace have made their wisdom and insight available online. My Instagram feed is filled with live meditation, yoga and pilates, and I’m enjoying learning them while being on my own in my bedroom. It makes me even more determined to get there in personand visit an abroad yoga retreat, rather than just dreaming about doing it, when travel restrictions are lifted.
I find the time developing my spiritual core helps me feel a little more grounded, and at the same time helps reduce the stress and anxiety. One thing yoga and pilates has helped me out with is to keep my back and spine more flexible, because all that sitting down working from home has not be favourable for my back!
To me, the important thing is to find something which helps you feel calm, relaxed and grateful. I spent the first week or so glued to the news and constantly scrolling social media for updates. Now, I learn new recipes, give myself more time for self pampering, and even try to meditate everyday!
Focus on fitness and health
At the beginning of lockdown, I had high hopes of using the time indoors to do HIIT classes online and go for runs around the block. But yes, I too succumbed to the guilty pleasure of eating the wrong kinds of food and binge watching everything I could see! I’ve developed a strong liking for wine tasting, and I stay up far too late, enjoying a dessert after most of my main meals. I mean, was it even a zoom meeting if you didn’t have a glass of fizz/wine in your hand?
Now, we know that lockdown is going to last much longer than expected. Even though restrictions are eased, we’re still kinda in the same boat. Even when it is properly lifted, it will not actually be “safe” to go out. So in the meantime, I’ve had to realise that it is my responsibility and my responsibility alone to make my chances of getting through this as healthily as possible. I can enjoy a bit of junk food, but also have to be wary that I’m exercising daily and getting my vitamins from food.
Luckily I love cooking – I do 99% of it in our home. So I’ve been loading up with all sorts of ingredients, vegetables, meats, and fish, and being quite creative with healthy cooking. Every other day I go on an hour walk with my boyfriend, and the days I don’t, I try and do 10 minutes of arm work outs or a dance class online.
Whether lockdown finishes at the end of May properly or the end of September, I am certain that I want to keep developing healthy habits, so that I can enjoy things like opening a bottle of wine and baking desserts without feeling guilty. I’m loving having fresh flowers in my home and taking the time to make my house look super lovely.
Remember this is our time. We can make of it what we can, and staying home doesn’t have to feel like we’re disadvantaged.