As the lockdown eases here in the UK, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to keep from my quarantine lifestyle. If you had asked me what I liked about lockdown at the beginning of April, I probably would have laughed and said ‘not a lot’. Weirdly though, I have come to almost enjoy certain aspects of staying at home. Things which have helped me lead a more mindful and simpler lifestyle.
Spend More Time in the Garden
When I was a little girl I enjoyed being outside. My dad is very green fingered and I would often be out there with him, trying to help but actually just making more work for him. Since having my own gardens in various homes, it has felt more challenging to find the time to maintain a garden. In previous homes I have been lucky to have quite established gardens which didn’t need a lot of work, but my current garden is a project to say the least!
Since lockdown started, I have obviously had a lot more time of my hands. Now, there were no excuses to not spend time out there trying to make it a nicer place. After two months, I’ve started to see the fruits of my labours and have felt the benefit of spending time at the slower pace. I now have a functional veggie plot and I’m learning the art of patience through reseeding my lawn (something which has been stressing me out since we moved in).
So my plan going forward is to continue to dedicate some time each week to gardening. It has been a great therapy for my mental health and has even proved to be good exercise when working on bigger elements out there. This leads me on to the next point quite nicely.
Have People Over More
One of the biggest things I’ve realised through all of this is that I haven’t missed doing things with people, I’ve just missed the people.
I’ve always been the sort of person who felt that I needed to be doing an activity. Ask any of my friends and they will tell you I love a bit of organised fun. In fact, I’m surprised my nickname isn’t Monika really.
And although I still have a little bit of organised fun in my life (i’m probably the only person who hasn’t given up the weekly Skype quiz yet), its amazing how little I have actually missed going places and doing things. I have missed spending time with friends and family.
So instead of throwing money away at an activity I don’t need to do, I’m simply going to invite people over more so I can enjoy their company.
Spend Money More Wisely
As some of you may know from my VLOGS, I have been furloughed from my full time job since April 1st. This has come with a 20% pay cut. Im not looking for sympathy, I am still very lucky to have money coming in and I know there are people far worse off than me, but it makes you think about what it was you were spending that big chunk of money on.
Combine that with not being able to eat out, go to the pub, shop and do all those other lovely things which are banned during a lockdown, it’s quite eye-opening to see how much money I was throwing away.
When quarantine started, I started budgeting. We had a spreadsheet which we would glance at once a month before all of this, but I wanted to see exactly what I was spending my money on. Turns out: a lot of my money went on things that I didn’t really need. I guess I knew it deep down, but now it’s in black and white.
So once my salary is restored (soon I hope!) I will be thinking more closely about what I spend my money on, do I really need to buy more clothes? Or can I save that money for a rainy day? Maybe it’ll mean I’ll have less clutter in the house too…. (lol)
Do More To Look After My Brain
Whilst I did do more than some people to look after my brain prior to lockdown, most of it was more fire-fighting than prevention. Since closing my door back in March to the world and not having the regular day to day stressors I have been able to practice what I preach a bit more and have actually written in my journal, recognised what I am grateful for each day and spent time each day being Mindful in various different ways.
I’m hoping that now I have a bit of a head start and have got into some good habits, I will be able to keep them up and will be in a stronger place as things start to ease. I know things might be slip from time to time as I have more commitments, but it’ll still be more than I was doing before. I have loved the new habits I have picked up and honestly I have never been in a better place with my mental health.
Embrace The Changes
These past few months have been a great, albeit enforced, opportunity to reflect on my lifestyle both past and present. I have learned to appreciate a slower pace and certainly know I have said goodbye to some more expensive habits (weekly pub sessions) for at least the foreseeable future.
I have learnt a lot about myself and I don’t think I’m alone in this. How many of you have realised after a compulsory 12 week detox that actually you don’t need certain things in life to be happy?
So I am going to enjoy the “new normal” (even though I really hate that phrase) and all the things I have learnt about myself during this time. I really want to keep up the slower pace and I’m certainly going to be more appreciative of other peoples company from now on!
What have you learnt from lockdown? Are you going back to old ways or changing things up? Come and chat to me on Instagram and let me know!