The past year or so has been challenging that it can be hard to see the positives that have come out of living during these chaotic times. Lockdown 3.0, in particular, seems to be proving the most difficult as the months of isolation, grey skies and cold weather drag on. I know it sounds cliché but finding the positives when there’s so much negativity around can be really valuable and is brilliant for your mental wellbeing. So here are a few things that I’ll be taking into the “new normal” post Covid-19.
Pushing my boundaries and getting out of my comfort zone:
Being furloughed between March and July 2020 was horrible. My head was all over the place: I felt useless, unfulfilled, stressed out and bored. Then I felt really guilty for being bored! So I used that time to do things that I’ve never had the time or confidence to do before. In lockdown 1 I said yes to co-authoring a book chapter on girlhood, started researching for a book idea I’ve had for years and began sharing my writing via House 21 to help build my portfolio. Once back at work, I spoke at two (online) museum conferences and have taken on big work projects that I would’ve shied away from before. And so far, touch wood, all of these new ventures have been successful. Leaving the Covid-era with more confidence and courage to do things out of my comfort zone is definitely a bonus!
Remembering what my hobbies are and doing them more:
Reading – I have never read so much for fun in my life and I love it! In the past, I would choose watching TV or scrolling through social media over reading mainly out of ease and less need to concentrate but having the time to read properly has reminded me how much I enjoy learning and getting stuck into a good book. The same with photography. Taking photos on my daily walks and trying desperately to remember my A-Level photography skills has actually been really fun. Knowing that I can utilise these skills for work and producing articles is also spurring me on. Anyone who knows me knows I love dancing and although I hate to admit it, realistically, my days of going out out are over (*sobs into my princess bomb)*. But doing online dance classes (shout-out to Oti Mabuse’s YouTube channel) has softened the blow! I’ve loved learning new moves and keeping fit all from the comfort of my bedroom and I look forward to continuing all of these passions in the post-Covid world.
How important the little things are in friendships:
The past year has really made me think about friendship and how it’s defined. The amount of time you spend with your mates and what memories you can make has changed completely. But it’s reminded me that it’s the little things that mean the most in friendship. Sending a message, tagging them in a funny video, going for a (socially-distanced) walk or even posting a small gift can mean so much and reminds them that you’re thinking of them. That’s not to say I don’t miss brunching, pub fun and weekends away (I’m counting down the days until we can do these things again!) but it’s good to remember that friendship is also made up of little things and small gestures and this shouldn’t stop once this is all over.
Being more grateful for what I have:
Something that I have constantly reminded myself of throughout all of this, is just how lucky I am despite all the awfulness going on. I have a roof over my head, I still have my job(s), I have access to the internet and green spaces nearby to get out in the fresh air. Not everyone is that lucky and there are so many people being affected by this pandemic in devastating ways. Of course, there have been times when I’ve cried about the unfairness of not going on holiday or complained about missing the pub but taking a step back and reflecting has helped me to gain perspective. It’s reminded me that I have the ability to help and support others who are in need. Donating to domestic violence and homelessness charities, supporting food banks or lobbying politicians to support those worse affected can ensure that others have the support they need to survive this better. Being more grateful and using my means to help others as best I can as we venture into the “new normal” is definitely a priority for me.
I hope others can use this time to think about what they want to take into the ‘new normal’ and get excited for what is to come (hopefully very soon)!