Last year there were lots of discussions, tweets and conversations about how we’re in a pandemic, you don’t need to do xyz it’s totally okay if all you did was survive.
The thing is, of course you don’t need to do anything new or different with your time. That statement has always been true. But if you want to and if you feel like you can, why not choose to do something new?
And even if you don’t feel like it, even if you’re anxious and overwhelmed maybe trying 10 minutes of aerobics or a breath work exercise might actually help.
I think learning or doing something new during a period where you have more free time than usual is a great idea.
The reason for this is whether you sit around passively watching YouTube all day or try out a couple of new recipes every week, the same amount of time has still gone by.
You don’t need to force yourself to do things you don’t want to do, pick something that you will enjoy.
And you don’t need to use up all your free time, it could be 20 minutes of meditation each day or a few hours a week doing an online course.
You don’t need to post about it online and it doesn’t make you better than others because you’ve now started a successful business or have perfected the crème brûlée.
The focus should be on how you feel about the way that you’re choosing to live and the way that you’re spending your time.
What will be left when it’s all over.
A few months ago I ventured out of my house and out of my local area. Everything felt normal until I found myself veering to the edge of the pavement as I saw 2 old ladies sat on a bench in front of me. On another occasion, as I waited for the bus I put on my mask in preparation.
Right now the pandemic isn’t over but ‘normal life’ has started up again (even if there are still 101 restrictions in place). Most of us are leaving our houses much more than we were 7 months ago.
But once the pandemic is declared over, social distancing and wearing masks will stay with us even without the rules in place, even if just for a little while.
When what you can do becomes limited you start finding pleasure in the smaller things. It’s not necessarily that these things meant nothing to you before but when you get caught up in the flurry of life it can be easy to over look the little things.
However, sometimes the case is that you’re so focused on spending time doing something considered big that you don’t even make time for things like a stroll at sunset.
But right now, when we aren’t able to do the big things, the little things will have to do. The thing is though, when all you can do is the little things, you’re likely to find that they’re actually pretty great.
The little things are overlooked because they’re simple and easy to do and so we tell ourselves that we need more. But we don’t, at least not as much as we think we so.
One of the best lessons to have learnt this year is how to make the best of challenging circumstances.
I’d be highly surprised to find that there is anyone who reads this blog that has not been affected by the pandemic.
People have lost their jobs, had family and friends pass, experienced financial difficulties, had holidays postponed, struggled to cope because they’re living alone, missed moments with the people they care about, had plans cancelled and so much more.
It’s easy to end up feeling as though life can be nothing more than bleak but it’s important to remember the joys of life.
No matter what is going on if you only focus on the ‘bad bits’ it will consume your whole outlook until you can’t see past it.
Of course you can’t ignore what is going on in the world but you can make time for things that bring you joy and make you feel good.
After reading an article about the effects of the pandemic in Nepal, I got thinking about how we are significantly more connected than we were 100 years ago and even 20 years ago.
We’re aware of what is happening in our own city, country and continent but also around the rest of the world too. We’re finding out things that maybe 50 years ago, we’d never have known about.
There are so many benefits to this increased connection.
Being more connected has changed the way we experience life. Physically travelling has become more and more accessible but we’re also more connected by technology (emails, internet and social media etc.). It’s this that allows you to know about what’s going on in Nepal even though it’s over 4000 miles away from where you live.
For a large group of people they’ve spent most at least 4 months of the year working from home. They’ve had to adjust and adapt to a new environment whilst still maintaining the same work output that would be delivered in the office.
Despite the difficulties I think everyone gains something working from home. For some people those gains actually outweigh the losses.
The main thing is that you have more control over how you spend your time.
It could be starting early and finishing early or starting and finishing late.
Spending your morning working on personal projects.
Organising your work time to give you a few hours of leisure in the late morning to early afternoon.
Perhaps it’s being able to dress however you want and cook meals instead of just buying something or heating something up in the microwave.
Maybe, you’ve gained more time to spend with the people you love because you no longer have to commute.
As much as it might be difficult, challenging and inconvenient to work from home, it’s worth acknowledging the good bits.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been reflecting on how what I write about has changed.
Firstly, I’ve found that a lot of my posts have been about the pandemic whether it is about working from home or the way our day to day lives have changed. Secondly, there is much less playfulness in the way I write because everything going on in the world is quite serious.
Overall I’ve been quite current, writing about things happening now. But at the same time I also want my posts to be evergreen so that they’ll still be useful to the person reading them 6 months from now.
However, the posts I’ve written about this pandemic are something I’ll probably be glad to look back on as a reflection on this current time. To know not necessarily how I was feeling but instead what I thought mattered at the time. That’s what I’ve been writing about.
Right now a lot of people are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the slow return to normalcy. Granted it’ll be a long time until things are back to how they were but as they say ‘slow progress is better than no progress’.
This normality will be positive for some and for others, something they are dreading.
There are people that have been furloughed from jobs they don’t want to back to.
There are people who have finally been able to live without feeling obligated to be social.
There are people who miss being in the presence of friends, family and lovers.
There are people who miss going to work.
But I think that what many are forgetting is that even when things go back to the normal, it won’t be same, too much has happened.
A pandemic is a pretty big deal.
It’s changed us.
Have you ever found yourself wishing that you had more time? If so, what circumstance did you think would arise to give you more time?
Was it quitting your job, winning the lottery or an inheritance from a great aunt?
Now that you have more free time than you used to, are you doing all the things you said you would do if you had more time?
Granted a pandemic is not the ideal scenario but there is no denying that you now have the time you once wished for.
In a few months or years things will be back to some kind of normal and you’ll have less free time to be bored. You might even look back on this time and wish you’d taken advantage of the opportunity to do the things you’d been putting off.
A while from now we’ll be living in a post pandemic world. Companies and businesses will have to make decisions about the way they will choose to work moving forward.
Presentations, discussions, conversations and updates are all being done remotely when normally they’d have required meetings.
Those meetings may have involved: a journey to another city by car or train, a large group when only a small few were needed or time wasted because it could have easily been a 10 minute conversation over the phone.
But when the world goes back to the office, back to the normal 9 to 5 lifestyle, I have no doubt that there will still be unnecessary meetings.
And so a question worth pondering on is, ‘Why do we meet when we know we don’t need to?’