We are currently living through unprecedented times, with huge emotional and economical strains resulting from social distancing rules and the effective “lockdowns” that many of us are under as the nation battles the coronavirus outbreak. Despite this, there are some silver linings. Read on to discover five ways in which “lockdown” can benefit you.
Appreciate the value of time
Public holidays aside, there is very little time in the modern world to escape the rat-race and have a chance to pause for thought. For most of us, the daily routine of school runs, work and everything else that comes with running a household leaves us little time to think, other than planning ahead for the next day, week, month, year, etc. Then, when the day’s duties are done we tend to collapse, exhausted, and fall prey to the simple escapism offered by online television such as Netflix.
Now, however, we have the unique opportunity of being able to enjoy the gift of time – a chance to stop and reflect without having to justify it to ourselves, without fear of being judged by others. As we rediscover the value of time, it is a great time to explore mindfulness, the undervalued art of living in the present – a power that will not only help you get through these tightest of times, but also something that will help you to succeed in the future no matter what that brings.
Reconnect with the people who matter
If there is one thing that this situation has taught us, it is which relationships actually matter to us. Social distancing and isolation have forced us to make decisions on who we choose to maintain contact with and also revealed which friendships are not meaningful. It has also challenged us to make a huge effort to invest in those friendships that matter and find new ways to communicate. You may have even found that old and neglected friendships have been rekindled.
The friendships and bonds that truly matter are those that reciprocate – a small circle of real friends is worth far more in life than a vast network of acquaintances.
Get back to basics
With the chance to slow down comes a beautiful opportunity to slow down and rediscover the beauty of slow living that our ancestors once enjoyed. One example is baking sourdough bread. In the hectic modern world, lifestyle constraints have forced most of us to buy our daily bread. This is not so much a lifestyle choice or even just for convenience alone – it is the product of need. We simply don’t have time to bake our own bread.
There are few things more enjoyable and rewarding in life than taking the time to perfect the art of home breadmaking. In fact, it is something I have enjoyed for several months now (I started before all of this happened). There is something truly transformational about the process of creating food from scratch, something that puts us back in touch with our ancient ways and not only puts healthy, nutritious food on our tables but also allows us to live on much closer harmony with the planet.
If baking is not your thing, why not explore growing your own herbs or vegetables, for example.
Re-evaluate your priorities
Around the world, many people have found themselves without their jobs or livelihoods as a result of the massive economic shock that this outbreak has triggered. Although the financial implications are daunting, it is also a tremendous opportunity to reevaluate what your priorities are.
Is now the time to follow that dream and make a bold career change? Is it time to step back from the nine to five in favour of a healthier work-life balance? Maybe now is the time to turn your passion into profit and start a venture of your own.
Work on your personal development
Whether there is simply a new skill or habit you’ve been yearning to develop or a specific area of learning that you have identified in the process of re-evaluating your priorities, the best time to start investing in your personal development is now. This could be investing in an online course with a tangible outcome, but may equally be something as simple as taking five minutes a day to practice mindfulness or meditation.
Remember, using books (ebooks and audiobooks included) to gain new knowledge and insight is also completely valid. I’ve been revisiting “7 habits of Highly Successful People” while doing my 30 minutes of turbo-trainer cycling in the kitchen. And therein lies one little trick to make the most of lockdown by doubling the value of your time. It’s one reason I find audiobooks particularly valuable.
A final word
Remember, the most important thing is survival – and that means looking after your physical and mental health during these difficult times. Don’t feel under pressure to come out of this with a new skill, a crystal clear plan or a life of perfect harmony. If you can simply get through this with your sanity intact you are doing pretty well. But if you are somebody who feels able to explore any or all of the above, give it a go and see where the journey takes you.