2020 Lockdown. A Global Pandemic. All of my wedding’s postponed until 2021. The Pentagon confirming aliens. Police brutality exposed to the world on a whole new scale. A Madeleine McCann new suspect. The president hiding in an underground bunker. Kanye West running for office. Australian wildfires.
I don’t even know where to start with this year???? I really wanted to take some positivity from it despite everything, and so I’ve made a conscious effort to look back on these past four months to take what lessons that I can from this.
Time out for yourself isn’t self-care; it’s essential. Time to slow down and just breathe is absolutely necessary. I don’t think I quite realised how fast and how much I push myself every single day, until all of my work was forced to be on hold. From a child I was taught that we have to slog it out day after day to get somewhere, and that isn’t actually a positive thing to be enforced. We are human beings, not machines. Being passionate and enthusiastic is good, but when you’re constantly going at 100mph, life is going to pass you by so quickly and you’re going to miss all of the little things. Schedule in you time. Recharge and rest. Sophie’s orders.
Live life for yourself
When it really and truly comes down to it, nobody cares about your life more than you do. You’ve always wanted to start a YouTube channel? Do it. You want to blog about your passion for crime novels? Do it. You’ve always wanted to start your own knitting business? Girl – go for it. Do not let other people’s opinions dictate how you run your life because I can promise you that you’ll spend more time worrying about what they think, than they will. Life is so short that you have to prioritise yourself and your well-being. If you have people in your life that take all of your energy and aren’t good influences on you, it’s ok to cut them out. You don’t need permission to put yourself first. Be selfish. You HAVE to take care of yourself because if you don’t, who else will? Don’t spend so much time worrying about everyone else that you forget to take care of yourself. Boundaries are vital.
Life is short
Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. Neither are your friends, or family. It’s scary but it’s true. It’s easy to say this as I’m curled up in bed writing, rather than up at 6am like I am tomorrow but try and appreciate the little things as well as the big things. Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you, send that text to your crush, tell your boss that you want to work one less day because you’ve finally decided to start that side hustle you’ve always dreamed of. Make the most of the time that you have and hug your loved ones a little tighter.
Think before spending
I think everyone did the lockdown spend where in the beginning you went a little crazy on yoga mats, home furnishings and snacks (oops). Then as time went on, we all got a bit worried about money and work and went completely frugal. Now I realise, how pointless some things that I bought were. Clothes that I didn’t wear, makeup that I didn’t need. In lockdown I was completely stripped back to basics… and I loved it. Now yes, at the moment I need to buy a whole new wardrobe because of weight loss and honestly I now just own tops at this rate but I’m going to be brutal. Do I need this? Will I wear this to death? Yes it’s pretty but is it comfortable? Is it sustainable? Why work so hard to spend your money on things that don’t bring you joy? I know for one I’ll never waste money on coffee shops anymore. I own a kettle, don’t you? I know it’s the atmosphere etc, that was just one example but it really has changed my spending habits. (Although lockdown has made me want to make our apartment a cozy haven so I’m not transformed just yet).
Family is everything
I wasn’t locked down with my family. It broke my heart (but I also think we’d have all gone crazy). Lockdown genuinely brought me and my family closer than ever. Family is the most important thing in the world, you only get one set. From Zoom quizzes to daily calls, it really showed me never ever to take them for granted and when I finally got to see them I’d never been so appreciative. Family over everything.
Some people will never change
I guess a negative lesson from lockdown is people’s reactions. Lockdown highlighted the good in people, and the bad. The second that lockdown happened I thought that it would change people. Make us all more appreciative of the every day life that we took for granted… I was very very wrong. People refusing to wear masks, treating shop assistants like shit, sharing hate and anger against Black Lives Matter protesters but then joining massive crowds at the beaches and doing live-streams at house parties. It’s been really really disappointing. I’d spent so long in lockdown avoiding everyone, my parents put their lives at risk working on the NHS frontline and then I’d go on Instagram and see people having raves with their friends. Some people will never change but that doesn’t mean that you have to stoop to their level. Surround yourself with good people who lift you up. The block button exists for a reason.
Support Small Businesses
When the owner of Wetherspoons was telling his staff to work at Tesco’s and refusing to pay them, or Amazon was selling hand sanitizers at 5 times the price, small businesses were going bust by the day. It’s heartbreaking. I went to purchase some bridal gifts as always last week to find that businesses I’d used for a year now had collapsed. I know it’s so much easier, cheaper and faster to buy on Amazon – I’m guilty of it, but by making the smallest changes we can help fund local and independent businesses and keep them afloat. Start small. Instead of buying from Domino’s, try the local pizza joint. (We have and it’s even better). You’ve ran out of milk? Nip to your corner shop instead of Tesco’s. You need a mask? Try Etsy instead of Amazon. I know in this world sometimes the only option is the cheapest but if you at least have a look first you might be surprised!
So, those are the lessons I’ve learned from this insane and hopefully once in a lifetime experience. Stay safe everyone!0