This past year and a half have been very life-changing for most of us. From being in confined spaces with people for so long to not being allowed to meet up with our friends. I don’t know about you, but I’m done with pandemic times! What I am not ready to do, and you shouldn’t either, is give up the things that helped you through those through times. I’m not talking about the sanitiser baths and potato chips… Although, you can definitely keep those if that’s your fancy. What I’m referring to are the things that kept us sane, emotionally.
As much as the world is moving to a new normal, we have grown so much as individuals and should learn from our experiences. Every experience, including the year that we cancelled.
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You should never give up your alone time
Whether you lived in a tiny one-bedroom apartment by yourself or with a family, spending quality time alone is something I am certain you learnt to do. In my case, it was a necessity as my days were filled with diapers, masculine chuckles, and a huge mess. Looking back, I have no idea how I survived having had my personal space snatched away from me so quickly. But we always tend to make do with the cards we are dealt.
Many people I know unfortunately had to experience hard lockdown in complete isolation. Life for them wasn’t easy, as talking to the walls definitely has its limits. But one thing that came out of such an experience is being able to cherish alone time. Being able to fill it with self-care, self-development, etc.
Despite life moving back to normal, spending time alone is a necessity that we should all respect. Being alone allows you to truly understand yourself and your feelings. It also gives you a moment to regroup without external influences. In fact, it is essential for our mental health and is definitely one of those things you should never give up, regardless of the situation.
I may not be sticking to my level 5 lockdown fitness routine (goodbye abs) with the new norm but I will never give up alone time.
Related: Life skills that 2020 taught us
Don’t stop showing kindness towards others
At the start of the pandemic, I saw how humans can become generous beings. Many of my colleagues and friends would take trips into the poorer areas of Johannesburg, distributing food and other essentials. Some strangers began an initiative to distribute free masks We also had the sense of responsibility to stay away from anyone who would be ‘high risk’… What a beauty!
But as time went on, the eagerness to stop the spread of the virus was tainted by videos of people walking around maskless. I even saw a video of a bunch of girls refusing to wear their masks in an Uber then proceeding to cough on the driver when he raised it. Is this what we have become?
Just because we see things differently from others doesn’t mean that we should stop showing respect. Just because the governments have decided that business must go on doesn’t mean that we should stop giving. And just because we now have a vaccine doesn’t mean that we should stop showing compassion to those that are struggling.
Did your country ban restaurants from selling hot food? Oh, they didn’t? Lucky you because mine did. They literally made my city a ghost town where only grocery stores thrived. Level 5 was rough for me because takeout is my jam… Lock me up in a tiny room and I won’t complain as long you give me food and wifi.
So what does a foodie do when she is deprived of takeout? She cooks!
My husband and I saw a nutritionist just a few weeks before lockdown and decided to stick with the meal plans she gave us. We ate more veggies than I’ve seen on a farm. We baked bread and made our own versions of our favourite foods. That is, until the lockdown life became one big blur.
If you were one of those to try a new eating plan or start a new workout during lockdown, don’t stop. And if you did eventually trade your broccoli for pizza, get back on the bandwagon! Just because we can dine out, drink in bars, or pick up a meal from the food stand doesn’t mean we need to make up for lost time. Believe it or not, these indulgences really aren’t meant to be the norm.
Flexibility is still important
Pre-pandemic, my mom life was structured to the ‘t’. I knew exactly what time I had to leave for work to beat traffic. I also knew that if I were to get a workout in, I needed to wake up at 4:30 each morning, take 10 minutes to get ready, and leave for the gym. And, my husband and I always had a date scheduled on Friday nights. One year and a pandemic later, I resent the idea of having such a rigid structure, but can’t seem to shake off the laziness.
I think quite a few of us let the structure out the window in the early days of the pandemic. I mean, where were we going right? Unless you count a date with your tub or drinks with your phone as plans, then you have to agree that pandemic life was very flexbixible. And guess what – that’s not such a bad thing!
Of course, we need some sort of structure to thrive. However, that doesn’t mean that we need to have every minute of our lives planned. Being flexible will allow you to just live in the moment and do what makes you happy. Leaving hours in a day where you just spend time doing whatever you feel like – that’s the flexibility your mental health needs!
What are some other pandemic things that you should never give up?
Pssst! Let’s hang on social media!