Never in a million year would I have imagined we would still be in lock-down a year on!
I genuinely thought that by summer 2020 we would be back on track. Alas I was wrong and it is only now 12 months on, that we seeing a light at the end of the tunnel!
Just over a year ago in March 2020, the pandemic started to move closer to home. In Europe cases where on the increase and worldwide the situation started to create concern. We were advised to keep a safe distance and follow general hygiene rules. Wearing a mask seemed like something we might not even be doing here.
Up until March in my part of the world everything seemed relatively calm. There were no cases yet announced and life was carrying on almost as normal. We even thought that by some stroke of luck, the pandemic might just pass us by. Despite the scary scenes on the news, I noticed so many different reactions from people. We started to applaud the front liners and appreciate the work they put in. Activities like pub quizzes, musicals and shows went online. ‘Zoom’ became a favorite way to socialize.
When the first cases were announced the air started to become tense. Businesses had to close down. People with established careers suddenly had to change jobs. Events and weddings got postponed indefinitely. And worst of all friends lost their loved ones. Any plans made, went out of the window as everyone tried to adapt and deal with the uncertainty we all felt at the time.
During this time, I admired the strength and resilience of all of the people on the front line. I felt enormous gratitude not only the medical workers but also the essential workers in shops and on our streets. They are the ones that really put their life out there and kept the wheels turning.
Day by day we watched as the pandemic unfolded. Always being hopeful that the some form of normality was in sight with the promise of the vaccine. All the while being patient and waiting for better days to come. But sometimes it is the journey that allows us to grow and gain the most insight.
As with every period of difficulty coming to a close, now is the time to put everything into perspective. What will you take out of all of this to move forward? In my effort to make sense of all that has happened in the past year I found that most of the changes I was forced to make turned out to be enriching. I definitely do not want to go back to my old ways!
In a time when the kindest thing to do was to distance ourselves from others, I learnt to enjoy my own company and that of the people in my bubble. Having no plans for the weekend and just going with the flow gave a new found sense of freedom. Often working for oneself you tend to ‘forget’ to take time off, working through the weekend and holidays. This can turn out to be counterproductive especially if you work in the creative field. It can easily led to burn out. In the long run taking time off away from devices will lead to a happier and healthier work/life balance.
The Minimalist Mindset
With all the non-essentials shops closed and financial uncertainty looming I thought this the opportune moment to re-think my spending habits. I started to think twice about what I ‘had to’ buy and didn’t purchase anything on a whim. This lead me to rethink my wardrobe and turn it into more of a capsule collection. As for the home I decided to only buy the essentials and de-clutter as best I could. Looking at other ways in which I can utilize a ‘less is more’ approach I came across ‘Project 333‘ for my wardrobe and ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up‘ for home essentially. Both books offer an excellent introduction into living a simpler way of life with lots of tools to help you along the way.
Sustainability and the Environment
Watching documentaries on Netflix like ‘David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet‘ and ‘Seaspiracy‘ lead me to think about certain choices I was making in my day to day. How does this affect the world we live in? What can I do differently to be more sustainable? There are so many brilliant people raising awareness and showing us ways in which we can be active. One great example is the benefit we all felt under lock-down when people shifted to working from home. The reduction in emissions caused by traffic and noise pollution brought about such a peaceful ambient. Not only does the daily commute affect the environment it also causes a lot of stress from being stuck in traffic for hours every day. Let’s hope that once lock-down is lifted businesses will consider a flexible approach when it comes to the work place.
Well-being for Mind and Body
Spending more time exploring the surroundings and long walks in the countryside made me appreciate the beautiful outdoors as I used to before life took over. I have always loved walking and find that it helps to clear my head if I’m feeling overwhelmed. Obviously the past months of uncertainty have not been easy for anyone. In stressful situations it is more important than ever to take care of your well-being. Keeping in check with your mental health as well as your physical is a top priority. I personally took to watching online webinars on how to deal with stress which I found extremely helpful. Also with gyms closed I discovered some excellent workouts I can do from home and I’ve shared them here.
Travel And Leisure Time
The travel and hospitality industry is one of the hardest hit. I miss travelling and all the excitement that it brings. My last trip was to Valencia in January of last year. A couple of months later and the airports shut down. I have never spent so much time on solid ground! Being stuck on an island made me feel somewhat claustrophobic. The only reassurance was that this is what had to be done to protect us all and the industry. Seeing that the smaller businesses where the most affected, when planning my next holiday I’ll be supporting local restaurants and the artisan shops. As for accommodation my first choice will be the ones that support eco-friendly initiatives and the local environment. I will also take the same approach when at home.
Whilst I do feel anxious I am also excited about coming out of lock-down and resuming some form of normality. I look forward to meeting up with friends, visiting exhibitions and enjoy a nice meal outside! But most of all I’ll enjoy being present.