Our lifestyle guru brings us his take on how to cope with the restrictions imposed on us in this very strange time – from baking sourdough bread to half an hour’s turbo-trainer cycling in the kitchen!
We are living through unprecedented times – with social-distancing rules and the effective “lockdown” that we are under as the nation battles the coronavirus outbreak causing huge emotional and economic strains. Despite this, there are some silver linings! Read on to discover five ways in which you can benefit from the lockdown.
Appreciate the Value of Time
Public holidays aside, there isn’t opportunity 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 for the next day, week, month, year, etc. Then, when the day’s duties are completed, 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. Mindfulness is a power that will not only help you get through these tightest of times, but it is 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 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
Life slowing down presents us with a unique opportunity to rediscover the beauty of a gentler pace 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 the time to make our bread from scratch.
There are few things more enjoyable and rewarding in life than taking the time to perfect the art of home breadmaking. It is something I have enjoyed for several months now (I started before all of this happened). There is something truly satisfying about creating food from beginning to end. It is something that reconnects us with ancient ways and not only puts healthy, nutritious food on our table, but also allows us to live in much closer harmony with the planet.
If baking is not your thing, why not explore growing your own herbs or vegetables?
Re-Evaluate Your Priorities
Around the world, many people have found themselves without 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: 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. If you are somebody who feels able to explore any or all of the above, however, give it a go and see where the journey takes you.
Article and images kindly provided by J. Allan Longshadow, Motiv8.me.