It’s a scary and difficult time for us all at the moment amidst the Coronavirus outbreak. The UK is now in lock-down. As of 23rd March, we can only leave the house for essential supermarket visits or to exercise. If we go outside, we need to stay 2m away from others and we are not allowed to meet friends or family.
This is something I don’t think any of us ever imagined would happen in our lifetimes and it felt like it came out of the blue. It really does feel like we are living in a surreal film and the worrying thing is, we don’t know when it will end.
I know that many people are struggling and stressed at the moment, with businesses being forced to close and families struggling to work from home whilst also home schooling their children.
At the time of writing, thousands of people worldwide have lost their lives to Coronavirus, and whilst I don’t want to make light of the situation, part of me has enjoyed minor elements of lock-down.
Staying home helps to save lives and get rid of this virus quicker, but the lock-down period has helped me (and I’m sure many others) reflect and put a few things into perspective.
Instead of focusing on the negatives, I thought I would highlight 5 positive things that I have observed during the lock-down period so far.
5 positives we can take from lock-down
1. Time to slow down and relax
Even though it’s a stressful time, I feel a sense of freedom. There’s nowhere I need to be, I’m not missing out on anything as everywhere is closed and there’s no pressure to do anything or see anyone. I have more time for myself than I ever. This is a massive step change compared to the last two months, when I was marathon training and barely had time to do anything (other than marathon training…)
I am fortunate that I can work from home during this period and I appreciate that not everyone is so lucky. But just not having to commute has given me some time (and money!) back which I can use to catch up on my sleep and self care. The frantic pace of 9-5 life and marathon training has stopped. It’s like I have finally gotten off the treadmill. I can spend more time on cooking a nice meal, having a relaxing bath, reading a book or going for a run without any pressure. At times like these it’s so important to take care of your mental health as well as your physical health.
Being an introvert, I also secretly quite like how quiet it is everywhere, on the streets, roads and in the supermarkets. I’m finding it nice and peaceful going for a walk or run when it’s so quiet, although I am still getting used to stopping every time I see “people” to make sure I leave a safe amount of space.
2. Time to catch up with life / learn new skills
This is also a unique time to catch up with things that you’ve been meaning to do but can never find the time.
It’s the perfect time to do those things because (apart from the anxiety of Coronavirus) there are limited distractions. Nowhere to go and nobody putting pressure on you to do something, or spend money you don’t have. Personally, I am using this time to spend time developing and improving this blog, which is something I don’t usually have the time to do.
There are many things you can do though which also help with stress and anxiety too. For example taking up a new hobby such as learning a language or musical instrument, crafts/painting, house repairs, sorting out your garden, reading, couch to 5k, virtual workouts, yoga, meditation – the list goes on.
There are so many free workout videos on YouTube – one of my favourites at the minute is Yoga with Adrienne which really helps me to relax and unwind.
When will you truly get this chance to pause life again? Make the most of this time, use it wisely to better yourself and make long term improvements to your life.
3. A chance to re-connect with loved ones
Even though we cannot see friends and family face to face, I feel so fortunate that we have the technology to be able to stay in touch. I know in my own experience, this pandemic has certainly brought myself and my friends closer together. I have already had video chats and Whats App conversations with friends that I haven’t seen or spoken to in a while and despite the horrible circumstances, we cannot deny that it’s brought many people closer together.
I also love how inventive people are being in a bid to stay in contact and it’s interesting to see how people are adapting to being social ‘virtually.’ I’ve already been invited to several virtual quizzes for example.
We are so lucky that we are able to do these things and it’s a reminder that even though we may not be in the same building with friends and family, we are always connected and there are always fun things we can do.
It’s also nice to see children spending more time with their parents and families moving away from technology and engaging in crafts and playing board games together.
I do hope that, after all this is over, we remember some of the things we are doing now to stay in touch and come together. That we remember to pause now and again and reach out to old friends, schedule some time to play a board game with the family or drop by elderly relatives/neighbours to make sure that they are okay.
4. Community Spirit – “We’re all in this together”
One positive I have observed in all this, is the strong sense of community spirit. Community groups have been set up to help those who are isolated with their shopping and neighbours that never normally speak are reaching out and supporting each other.
Celebrities such as Joe Wicks and Carol Voderman are providing free school lessons for children, companies like Octopus energy are offering free resources for kids and many gyms are offering free online workout classes.
Despite the circumstances, it’s really lovely to see people and businesses coming together like this to help, motivate and support each other.
We may not be allowed to be close physically, but in many ways, people and communities have never been closer.
I think this video from The Social Co sums it up nicely.
I think this is the big one for me. This pandemic has provided a real sense of perspective. It’s made me, and I’m sure many others, realise what is important and how much (and who) we really do take for granted in our everyday lives.
Before all this, we wouldn’t think twice about going to the supermarket late at night to get some chocolate. We wouldn’t think twice about meeting friends in the pub or eating out at a restaurant. We certainly wouldn’t be worried about whether there would be enough food in the supermarkets.
I think this whole thing has made me appreciate what I have, things I’ve done in the past and my amazing friends and family a whole lot more. I think it’s also made everyone realise who the important people are in our society – the key workers keeping our country running. Without them, we would seriously be screwed!
Being forced to slow down and reflect has made me realise that living my life on full speed, as I was previously, is not good for me. I need to continue to look after myself and make time for me, even after this is all over.
How are you feeling during lock-down? Are there any positives you can take from the situation? Let me know in the comments below. 🙂