I have become used to this quarantine life. I guess this can be both a bad thing and a good thing. A good thing because certain situations can be manageable and adaptable which means you can navigate your environment with flexibility . You can adopt new and good habits to make the most out of a situation that can be difficult at times. And it can be a bad thing because we know it will not last forever and many of us will have regular jobs to return to and make a run to our favourite shops in a new consumerism wave.
We probably won’t ever have as much free time as we have now until retirement. I know, depressing. I don’t know about you but I cannot wait to book a holiday abroad and experience the bliss of freedom and free time again after this is over because the day is only looming ahead before we are back at it in our 9-5’s. I guess some people may actually be excited to come back to the ‘normality’ because you may miss your job and colleagues. You might actually be doing something you’re passionate about. But some of us may have not seen our loved ones for a very long time and maybe missed special and important occasions and I feel for those who have been struck very hard with this and have not enjoyed it whatsoever. I hope it gets better, and it will. Or maybe you look forward to the end of lockdown as you thrive on routine and having more structure. I get you. I like routine too but I am one of those people who prefers her own routine, not a routine I have to make flexible around my work.
There are some things I have learned during this time that could be easily forgotten lessons when I return to my job and get caught up in the rushed commute and general way of life, juggling time at work, friends, a relationship, family time, time to myself to relax, and time for myself to be productive. That is a lot of balls to juggle in a one week period and I have no idea how some people make it seems so easy when it is virtually impossible for many of us. And when it is possible, it inevitably comes with a lot of stress and it takes the fun out of it when you know you can only spend a certain amount of time before you start thinking about what is next. Time seems to be running out. I hope I am not the only one feeling this way. And that is why, in a way, I will cherish these quarantine times as it has made me slow down and appreciate things more which brings me to the first lesson:
- To slow down.
Waking up whenever you want, not having any commitments, barely any plans,no specific time to make for the bus anymore, makes you relax and slow down a little. At least it did me. I wake up without the overwhelming sense of anxiety that I have a little less than an hour to shower, get ready, and make it in time for the bus outside. All before 7:30am in the morning. In quarantine, there is no adhering to a schedule, yet I wake up at 7:30 or 8am to start my day and do things slowly because really there is never a rush. At the end we are just rushing towards the inevitable, so to slow time you should enjoy the present moment and do things slowly, stress-free.
2. Relationships are super important
I don’t just mean our romantic relationships. Some of us may be single. Although if you’re in a good romantic relationship, you have probably enjoyed spending more time with your partner either physically or by always keeping in touch if you were not quarantining together. And because there is no other commitments to juggle, the time was probably more enjoyed as you could savour each moment. I know I was reminded that family and friends are really valuable to me. With no time limit, I could enjoy more ‘social distanced’ time with one of my friends, and catching up on zoom calls or video chats with others. I’ve talked and spent more time with my family than ever before, especially recently. It is important not to take others for granted and always make time for them as you will never regret not spending more time on social media, or working more. You will regret not showing others how important they are to you and how much you love them.
3. Be productive but also do things for fun
In the beginning of lockdown, I was at my highest productivity. I would study Italian for at least 30min (sometimes for 3 hours) exercise, read, and start writing blog posts. I definitely had down time too but sometimes I would feel guilty if I wasn’t doing anything productive for some time. I am happy that I have spent my time wisely, and have done things that are good for me and my self-improvement, but I was also reminded that there is nothing wrong with doing something that is not productive but simply pleasurable like playing a game on the phone, drawing, and a bit of Netflix. However, in most cases I make sure to do some of the productive things earlier in the day to enjoy doing the higher dopamine activities later 😉
4. Cooking and baking is meditation
I like cooking. I love cooking with my partner, but cooking alone is on another level of peaceful. When I cook alone nowadays, I make sure to give myself more time to do it, for example if a dish takes 30 min to make, I give myself 45 min-1 hour so I can fully enjoy it and not rush. I had a fair share of food deliveries over this time but I mainly focused on cooking my meals to save money, be in control of what I put in the dishes and simply because it is enjoyable. And cooking develops over time and I have learned a few new recipes so I don’t have to go online as much for ideas on what to make because I am constantly learning what goes well together and what I enjoy.
5. Set aside ‘you’ time
When life gets busy, it is easy to neglect time for yourself. And I mean quality time not just Netflix and chill all evening! Quality time can be taking a relaxing bath, giving yourself a massage, reading a good book, taking your time doing your make up and nails, going for a bike ride or a walk alone, anything that allows you to just be yourself and take care of yourself. For me, yoga is the answer. Before I find myself in a rabbit hole on social media wondering what other people have done and are up to, I focus on myself first because that is the priority. You have you for life so become best friends with yourself and give yourself some self-love and quality time.
Life is all about learning, then learning the same things again, and learning again and looking at things from another perspective. I mean how many times have we learned a lesson that ‘eating healthy is good for you’ and you set out to be a bit healthier and you learn about different vitamins and nutrients in certain foods and then at some point you forget this information and your habit slips? (Guilty). So then you research again, you learn again, and you adopt healthy lifestyle habits again. Learning never stops. Re-learning the same things, or learning new things. Let’s just hope that some of those lessons stick 🙂