Written by Lydia Ruston
Has your screen time increased to pretty much 8 hours a day during lockdown? Don’t worry, I think we’ve all been there.
Whether people have been posting more on social media out of boredom or simply just for fun, popular platforms have been inundated with content. One thing I have noticed on social media, though, is the amount of posts being produced recently around the topic of positivity and productivity.
Over the past few tough months, I have found it really beneficial to try and utilise this time and remain as optimistic as possible; posts such as these have helped me to remain motivated.
There have been three main lessons I have learnt from this lockdown:
1) Never take family for granted.
Before the lockdown was announced in March, I was a free-spirited university student enjoying the freedom of living away from home, making memories in the years that are supposedly ‘the best years of our lives’.
Fast forward a few months and, like many others across the country, my lifestyle changed rather dramatically in a short space of time. Before I knew it, I was finishing my second year in my bedroom at home.
Although the initial adjustment was tricky, I have learnt the importance of seeing family and friends more often; I know that, when life begins to transition back to ‘normality’, I will make the most of going out and having fun with friends! At university, the balance of going out to socialise and staying in to complete assignments is something I have struggled with, but it’s only now I realise how important it is to get out and make memories! This is something I will never take for granted again.
2) Keep learning.
Like many students, I have felt the pressure of what the job market will look like post-COVID. Although it is easy to end up falling down a spiral of worry and doubt, I tried to shift my mindset from constant stress to thinking, right now, what can I do about the situation? So, I used my time to learn.
This proved to be quite difficult in the beginning. Every time I logged on to platforms such as LinkedIn, the enjoyment of learning a new skill felt competitive. The mentality of ‘who can gain the most certificates over the next few months’ began to feel toxic, rather than motivational and I began to complete courses because I thought I ‘had to’, or else I would fall behind the competition.
Pushing past the ‘hustle culture’ mindset made me realise that employers probably aren’t even interested in the irrelevant courses I had completed. So, instead, I started seeking opportunities relevant to my career path and things that genuinely sparked my interest. There are plenty of resources available online that offer free courses on a variety of topics, such as LinkedIn Learning. I’m looking forward to continuing pushing myself and learning new things before university starts again.
Whilst, from the beginning of the lockdown, I knew I wanted to learn the skills I simply didn’t have the time for pre-COVID, the pressure to learn a new skill was ridiculous! Posts with messaging along the lines of ‘if you haven’t learnt a new skill during lockdown then you have wasted your time’ is toxic. Many people will have used the past few months to reconnect with their family, friends, and themselves. People will have utilised the lockdown period in different ways, so don’t get sucked into the competitive culture, and feel as though you must keep up with everyone else.
3) Self-love seems to be the hype right now, and I’m here for it.
Despite this topic already becoming a trend in the early months of 2020, I have certainly seen an increase in content surrounding ‘self-love’ during lockdown, and I am here for it. I found these messages of putting yourself first and taking care of yourself so important throughout the last few months.
With the structure of everyday life being taken away, it was easy to slip into the habit of working from home, in bed, in PJs. Self-love looks different for everyone and, for some, the above description may be your ideal ‘self-love day’, which can be important during stressful times such as these.
Some of the main self-love ‘trends’ I have put into practice include: continuing my work out routine, having more breaks when I’m working and keeping a good skincare routine.
Before the lockdown, I would have considered myself quite active. But with not walking to university and the gyms closing, keeping up with some kind of routine proved quite difficult. Again, the pressure to exercise and be healthy was overwhelming. With memes being made around weight gain and major transformation photos being posted a few months into quarantine, exercise has been a major topic of conversation.
To make sure I was still somewhat active, instead of trying to complete the quick fix workout routines, I focused on walking! I loved walking my dog outside (when the weather was nice) and listening to a podcast; some of my favourites have included:
– Grounded with Louis Theroux by Louis Theroux
– The High Low by Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton
– PLT Behind Closed Doors by Pretty Little Thing
Listening to funny and interesting podcasts made me look forward to going for a walk. I found getting some fresh air every day was super important for me and reduced my time sitting at my desk or on the sofa; I look forward to keeping this in my daily routine post-lockdown! Remember: self-care looks different for everyone.
Lockdown has been a strange and equally difficult time; there is no ‘correct’ way to have spent it, despite what you may have seen on social media. As long as you have stayed safe and are happy and healthy, that is all that matters! I have, though, picked up some great routines and skills which I look forward to continuing once we go back to some kind of ‘normal’.
Image credit: @alexbracken on unsplash