COVID-19 has been an undeniable catastrophe. I was inspired to create this post by witnessing the country I live in attempting to adopt the sense of normality we all knew before the entire world was halted by a virus invisible to even the naked eye. In addition to this, my personal experience during lockdown and returning to normalcy, along with the experience of my friends from around the world.
During lockdown, like many others, I was unable to physically see my family and friends which over time, I began to notice had a gradual effect on me. As a solitary soul by innate nature, I would have thought having human interaction limited for an extremely extended period of time would be manageable. However, I yearned the company of my loved ones and truly realised the depth of the love my being contains for them.
Lockdown also emphasised one true purpose in the life I am living: imparting my linguistic knowledge so others can unlock doors in their lives to which the English language is the key. Due to COVID-19, I stopped work for an elongated period of time. The result of not teaching was a feeling of constant restlessness and demotivation. I missed interacting with my learners and I empathised with their worry of progressing with their English learning.
The usual sense of routine was wholly disrupted and I know I, along with countless others lost sense of time and would simply watch and feel the days go by. My spirit was struggling and in turn, my mind was not performing at its optimal level.
I attempted to seek the goodness in it all. This is what I discovered:
- I am thankful for our Sun. She rises each morning to bask us in all Her warmth and light. Never does She fail to watch over us until we retreat to our beds.
- The birds refuse to remain silent. We are blessed with their singing from dawn until dusk. Only when the silence spilled out into the streets during lockdown did I really sit and listen to them. Their chirps were not drowned out by noisy vehicles. Their melodies were a reminder that not everything has ceased.
- “Your body is a temple.” Prior to lockdown, I was overworking myself. Less sleeping hours, less energy to cook fresh meals, and less energy to engage in physical exercise meant my body, this vessel, was not receiving the love and care that is necessary for it to perform and feel at its highest. During lockdown, I realised that prioritising one’s health – physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional – is something one should never fail to make time for, regardless of how much one is occupied with work and other happenings. Our health is never worth jeopardising. There is no justification for overworking our body or our mind. We owe them rest. Stress is disease and illness causing.
Engrossing myself in activities and rituals that only served to enhance my vessel’s experience, nourishing it with natural and fresh foods, and giving it the rest it was owed is what I gradually made into a habit during lockdown, one that I am grateful has accompanied me through the slow exit out of lockdown also.
- The physical space around us holds great importance with regards to influencing our mood. Transform your abode into a safe sanctuary. I finally found the time to decorate my home in ways I liked. I gave many plants a new home with me, lit different incense everyday, turned on the dim lights more often, cleaned with safe and non toxic products, played music at the required hertz for the different chakras, made sure the temperature was not too hot or too cold, softened textures, and introduced more colours. The results have looked and felt heavenly. I am content with my safe space.
- Nobody is more important than those who are mindful of respecting us and treating us with the love we deserve. Any individual who communicates with us in a way that makes evident their lack of awareness of our existence as a fellow human being with all our needs, emotions, and thoughts, does not deserve our attention, time, or energy. Setting boundaries and saying ‘no’ more really assisted me in gaining strength in relationships I had let engulf me in unhealthy ways. I believe I rediscovered the ability to stand up for myself more due to the increased methods of self care I was executing in all the spare time I was blessed with in lockdown.
- It is not necessary for us to physically meet our loved ones on a regular basis in order to maintain and sustain the relationship. Being unable to physically be present in the company of my family and friends during the lockdown period was a difficult pill to swallow at first. Initially I felt lonely but with the regular video calls and phone calls, I was left with a feeling of gratitude for even being blessed with such stellar individuals in my life. I realised it is completely okay to not speak to or see our chosen people everyday, rather we should find comfort in knowing these special individuals shall be ever present in our lives.
- My solitude embraced me once more and we had (and currently still have) a wonderful relationship. I am content with spending time alone more than I have ever been okay with it previously in my life. I believe this profound feeling has come about as a result of being more self aware and self sufficient, concepts I sought clarity on, adopted, and now regularly exercise only due to being granted the freedom to do so with the time and space gifted to me by lockdown.
All this and more has aided me in observing this world, and its residents, with a newly adopted perspective. My being is not what it was when lockdown began, and for that I give gratitude.
The discoveries of others:
“The ‘lockdown’ made me realise a lot of things. For one thing, we take it for granted that we can see our friends and family and go out wherever we want to. We also take it for granted that the people in our lives will always be there – COVID has taken thousands of lives and irreversibly changed countless families, and that’s just in the UK. Even my own granddad got taken to hospital, although it thankfully wasn’t because of the disease.
The pandemic has exposed contemporary society, which is divided into those who are selfish and those who are selfless. Some people complain about having to wear a mask, saying that it limits their freedom. They fail to realise that for some, freedom is the difference between living and dying. Freedom is being able to live your life without having it taken by disease.
The pandemic has also highlighted the class divide in Britain, and I will be blunt: the country is governed by upper-class, unmerited individuals who drain society with their incompetency and callous disregard to those they are supposed to protect. And yet, many of the latter still support them from one blundering mistake to another. The country has got a lot to learn.
In terms of positives, staying at home has given me more time to compose. In fact, it has been an incredibly productive period. I am happier staying at home to work without having to travel in, and I’m glad to be playing my part during this time. Still, I can’t wait to travel once more when it finally winds down. I miss my friends more than ever.”
– Ciaran, Manchester, UK.
“I don’t need external things or people to make me happy. I am content with what I already have. I am a survivor and I can cook for myself.”
– Raihana, Connecticut, USA.
“I experimented with and explored my skills in the kitchen. I realised I really like limes, halloumi, and chilli jam (not together though). I attempted to eat healthier and live better within my means and succeeded. I tried new recipes, including vegetarian ones. I got into a good routine for exercise. I cut down on my online shopping, reduced the carbon footprint and now do a lot more shopping instore because I yearn to be out more. Also, Marks and Spencer’s sell really good cookies.”
– Daniel, Preston, UK.
“The lockdown seems like a “big surprise” to all people in the world. Suddenly we have a lot of time to spend with our families at home. It gives us time to look at what we have and what we need to cherish. Be nice to ourselves and also the people around us. The world changes so rapidly, but why not slow down a little bit?”
– Lisa, Linfen, China.
“Lockdown gave me a chance to assess my relationships. I realised that I was being a doormat to everyone. At work, in friendships, with my family, etc. Since then, I’ve been asserting myself more and creating clear boundaries. I’m not as bitter anymore, since I only allow what I will allow.”
– Tasnim, Coventry, UK.
“I am thankful for my garden, attending 8 am lectures in bed and feeling completely confident leaving my house ugly as heck because of face masks. I also learned that society is dumb as fuck and don’t know anything at all about Science.”
– Gazal, North Carolina, USA.
“The positive things I noticed about myself is how much my family meant to me. I never realised how much time we don’t spend together even though we live in one house. Being conscious of one another and being patient around each other. The other thing I positively changed was my diet and how to eat healthily and be responsible for myself. I switched from non vegan to veganism and put on 10 lbs which is a good thing for me since it’s been a lifetime of being incredibly slim and underweight for me.
Listening to my body and spending time with my mum too. We’d cook and clean and do things together which was fun and nice. Going outdoors wasn’t the only way we could connect.”
– Anonymous, Stoke-on-Trent, UK.
“Physical distancing from friends and colleagues made me spin a new web of friends, certainly those closest to me physically. Mutually, we forged a new passion, hiking – which made me appreciate the touristic beauty of my environment. I read more, I discussed more, I learnt more. Lock-down actually made me realize how fast I can create a new social circle. Most importantly, I saw the motionless earth from the mountain top and realised that after our jobs and busy schedules come to a halt, we have no salvation in any inanimate object but ourselves. Humans derive joy, satisfaction and a sense of purpose from other humans.”
– Pam, Jos, Nigeria.
“My diet. I fully changed my diet to a healthier one. That was the main thing, and working out. I used to walk to the café everyday. When it closed due to lockdown, I wasn’t moving so I realised I needed to start moving and stay active. I realised how important movement is to everything.”
– Anonymous, Preston, UK.
“Some companies were reluctant to avoid people working from home but in this new normality, most of them had to change their politics which presented the opportunity to work from any place if you have internet. From my personal experience, I had the opportunity to move to a beach city and try new experiences. I work normally but at the same time, I’m able to visit new places and meet people. Before the pandemic reached Colombia, we had a bad situation in Bogota relating to Co2 emissions. We clearly noticed that the pollution diminished during the lockdown. We had beautiful days and we even saw big snowy mountains located 234 km away.”
– Steven, Bogota, Colombia.
“Lockdown made me slow down, and nothing could have been more positive.
It was already quite a transitional time in my life – I had spent a lot of time trying to figure out the next step, beating myself up about not having the motivation or drive to make that first step. Being forced to stay at home and really reflect and live with myself made me understand myself better than ever. I realised I am a creature of habit – I got up everyday at the same time and exercised, I perfected my daily skin care routine, I made the same meals every week. I realised that there will never be a time where I won’t be anxious or negative about myself, but the way I let it affect my choices and self-worth is minimal now.
It’s bizarre that I barely remember the time I spent in lockdown, but the impact it has had on how I treat myself will give me unexplainable strength.”
– Darcy, Manchester, UK.
I truly hope these revelations and realisations about ourselves and the world around us transcend time and space and remain with us for eternity. I hope we are granted more epiphanies like these (under better circumstances) and we gather and maintain the strength to cultivate them.
More than anything, I am grateful that so many of us chose to (and still continuously choose to) turn inward during this confusing time, reconnected with our creative hobbies, recognised the worth of our loved ones, questioned the morals and principles of our governments, contemplated the minutiae of our lives typically overlooked, understood the value our bodies hold, thoroughly educated ourselves on concepts we did not have the time to prior, and truly fathomed the importance and significance of things, along with people, we previously may have taken for granted.
To conclude this post, I have gathered some photographs from my time in lockdown that I feel captured the beauty in stillness, the gifts from our Mother Nature, my relationship with solitude, and the importance of time spent with my loved ones.
photographs outside/with other individuals were taken when specific lockdown rules were lifted.
I am curious. Where in the world did you spend/are you spending lockdown? What is something you learnt or realised about yourself, the people around you, or even the world we live in? How did you salvage your spirit?
Thank you for reading. I truly appreciate the time you have spent here.