As we all know, it has been a rough year around the world so far, and this is not going to be over anytime soon. With Melbourne going back in lockdown for another six weeks, I am a lot more peaceful and optimistic this second time around. I guess we all learned valuables lessons from quarantine these past few months! So, here is what it taught me and that I will use in my daily life from now on.
Enjoy the little things
Whether it is a walk in the park, a nice cup of tea, or a big bowl of ice cream, I learned that small things in daily life can have a considerable impact on your mood. Especially when you are stuck at home, small treats can give you great comfort. With all the bad news coming all day from all over the world, you just have to look at the bright side of things. For example, I have taken a lot of pictures from my daily walks around my neighborhood, of things that I would never have noticed before (like a rainbow or some beautiful autumn trees). It’s probably something common to say, but if you look, you can find beauty everywhere!
Listen to your body
In terms of exercising, I feel like I’ve been more attentive to what my body was telling me. Let me explain: before being in lockdown, I used to have a kind of routine where I would do the same fitness class every week, or I would force myself to run even if I was tired. During isolation, I was working out almost every day, but actually doing it at my own pace. For example, I was doing Yoga or long stretch session whenever my body was feeling stressed, or on the contrary HITT workout whenever I wanted to unwind. This is something that I will keep in mind in the future: I will do a workout class because my body needs it, not because I have to.
The same thing goes for sleep. I tried to keep a consistent sleeping schedule, going to bed, and waking up pretty much every day at the same time. However, I was sometimes tired during the afternoon and would take the time to have a rest, and that’s something that I was rarely doing before. What a mistake, it is so good to feel energized even after a short nap!
Make peace with food
Snacking and emotional eating has always been a big problem for me, and I feel time in quarantine has actually helped me control it. Whenever I felt like eating, I would ask myself if I was really hungry, or just bored and not on my feet (so wanting to eat as a habit). If my answer was the second, I would make myself a big mug of tea and try to keep my hand and brain busy (by going for a short walk, for example).
In terms of meals, I learned to eat whenever I was hungry, and not to impose myself a schedule. For example, I was often skipping breakfast as I was not particularly craving for food in the morning, but ended up eating my lunch early. I also read a lot of blog posts and articles about intuitive eating and started to put it into practice. The goal is a healthier relationship to food and body image. I am working on it, as this is definitely something that I want to keep doing when getting back to a “normal life”.
Time is precious
Ok, I have to admit that I am a bit of a procrastinator. I can easily get distracted by the TV or my phone. In fact, before this lockdown, I was always complaining that I didn’t have time to do anything. On the first days of quarantine, I think I relaxed a bit too much and didn’t do much. However, I quickly realized that this was the perfect time to create this blog (something that I was thinking about for a long time), to bake some cakes (as everybody did), or to practise my brush lettering skills. I created a kind of routine where I’ll be “ready to go” early in the morning to begin my day and start doing everything I wanted to accomplish. I am definitely willing to keep this routine where instead of spending the morning in my pyjamas during my weekend and wasting my time, I’ll be prepared to achieve my goals!
Enjoy your loved ones
I am not going to lie, I was quite apprehensive at the beginning of the lockdown thinking that I will have to be with my partner 24/7, clearly without any break when one of us could go out with a friend. And I am glad to say that I couldn’t have asked for a better companion during this time. He has been really supportive, we did a lot of activities together, and (surprisingly) we argued very rarely. This time has brought us closer than ever. There is another thing that I did a lot during this time: calling people and communicate “for real” with my loved ones. Whether it was with my family in France or old friends that I didn’t talk to recently, actually having a real conversation (and not just texting) was feeling super good. I am not sure how this will turn up when everybody will go back to their normal routine, but that is definitely something I would like to keep doing. Instead of just sending a message, just take five minutes to call the people you care about.
Don’t take anything for granted
This might be the biggest lesson for everybody: don’t take anything for granted. I won’t be able to visit my family this year either, with borders more or less closed in every part of the world. I never thought that traveling could be taken away from us as quickly as that. The simplicity of booking a ticket and hop in a plane is never going to be the same in the foreseeable future, unfortunately, and that is something which is hard to believe. Another plan that falls apart: I would have loved to travel to California this year since I am dreaming to go to San Francisco (as I told you in my travel bucket list). However, this is not going to happen, and probably not for a while. This is one valuable lesson that I will carry my whole life from now on: If you have the means and the will to realize your dreams, don’t wait and just do it while you can.
We (or at least me) are quick to complain and think that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. As a matter of fact, during lockdowns, my tasks are changing at work and my first reaction was to be pessimistic about it. However, I quickly realized that millions of people around the world lost their jobs while some are literally out of income and don’t have any government support. This makes me think that I am amongst the luckiest ones and that my travel plans being canceled this year are nothing compared to what some people are going through around the globe. Hence my last lesson: be more grateful for what you have.
I hope this article will give you a more optimistic point of view as this is a hard time to endure and I sometimes get the feeling that the world is going mad. Hopefully, it will get better, but for the time being, just take care of yourself and your loved ones.
What about you? Did you learn any valuable lessons from quarantine life?