Ever since this pandemic hit, I don’t understand why some people seem to be in such a huge rush to return to “normality”, to re-open schools and colleges, to go back to the office or their places of work, back to long commutes, annoying colleagues, less free time, stress, deadlines and just the general ‘busyness’ of life. I absolutely get that we need people back at work to shore up the economy and prevent a Great Depression similar to the 1930s, which appears to be on the cards, at least if you believe the IMF, but at least from my perspective, the way humans have been living up until now, really wasn’t all that great in the first place with our obsession with consumerism, status, material acquisitions and constantly striving for more, rather than being happy with less. It certainly wasn’t sustainable, good for our physical or mental health, the environment or our societies. And if I’ve learned anything over the last four weeks in lockdown, it’s that we really don’t need all that much to be happy.
1. Consider for instance gym membership-considered necessary by some in the pre-Corona world. Turns out there’s absolutely no need for it…..who knew? With the plethora of excellent, FREE online classes on YouTube and on various apps, you can exercise in the comfort and convenience of your own home. The Coronavirus must have been a golden goose for people like Joe Wicks who have seen the massive opportunity it presented and who have increased their following exponentially by providing free PE lessons for kids stuck at home. In addition to online classes, people are now getting outdoors and connecting with nature a whole lot more than they probably used to. Every time I go out for my socially distanced walk or run within the 2km confines of where I live, I see individuals and families jogging, cycling, walking, flying kites, throwing frisbees around and generally just enjoying the outdoors. It has noticeably increased since the lockdown as it is one of our last remaining freedoms at present. Instead of going to restaurants or pubs for ‘date nights’, their anniversaries or special occasions, I see photos of couples going on cycles together, re-connecting in ways that they might never have done before this lockdown hit. The benefits of all that fresh air and exercise for our national psyche can’t be underestimated and speaking purely for myself, I’ve never felt healthier. And yes, the irony of that statement during a pandemic is not lost on me! I’m aware I’m very fortunate to be in good health and that my family and friends are also well and healthy.It has noticeably increased since the lockdown as it is one of our last remaining freedoms at present.
2. Turns out I don’t need to go to the cinema, restaurant, pub or theatre or spend money on beauty treatments that I can easily do myself at home. I’ve got Netflix and plenty of reading material on my phone and Kindl and with all the money I’m saving from having nowhere to go (apart from the supermarket and pharmacy!;-)) and not having to commute to work, I’ve treated myself to some fancy fitness gear for my at-home workouts and outdoor walks. All we really need when it boils down to it is food and a roof over our heads and once those fundamental needs are met, everything else is simply an indulgence. I love the way the nation seems to be baking itself out of this pandemic and even Colm O’Gorman seems to have re-invented himself as a chef with his daily Instagram cookery posts. The nation also seems to have developed an obsession with banana bread and sourdough bread, for reasons I don’t understand!
3. Working remotely is perfectly feasible and if recent weeks have proved anything, it’s that many jobs can be done remotely and that there really is no need for many of us to be commuting long distances for work. I feel I’ve been given a precious gift- the gift of time- and one which I intend to enjoy to the utmost! Before COVID 19, I spent approximately 3 hours of every day simply getting to and from work and was getting up at 06:30 a.m every day to get to work on time. I was constantly exhausted and never felt I had any energy in the evenings. I would get home and like many others I suspect, spend most of the evening online or on the sofa watching TV and didn’t do a whole lot of exercise during the week, which had knock-on effects such as constantly feeling anxious and stressed and having trouble sleeping. Now I’m learning to knit (surprisingly relaxing!), working on college assignments, I’ve taken up the ukulele from scratch and am practising my French and Spanish. I’m also trying to do a daily workout and spend time in nature every single day. Mealtimes are a source of pleasure and a highlight of my day, particularly breakfast, as I ‘m not gulping down cereal before running out the door to catch the train, I’ve been eating my home-made granola, making French toast and scrambled eggs on toast and generally enjoying my food. To be fair, since I’m not at work at the moment, Breakfast has been replaced by brunch, which I generally eat between 09:30 and 10:30! Don’t judge me!
I’ve always suspected that what I really wanted was a simpler life and in a way, this pandemic has proven that. The only things I really miss are seeing family and friends in person, travel abroad and having the freedom to go wherever I want. Oh, and the ease of being able to ‘pop into’ the shops at a moment’s notice, rather than having to queue 2m apart from other people to get into the supermarket for a litre of milk! Other than that, there’s really very little else from my Pre-Coronavirus life that I miss…..
How are the rest of you finding life under lockdown? Feel free to comment and let me know ….