This isn’t a post about the so-called ‘upside’ to the global health crisis of the Corona Virus pandemic. It’s a horrendous situation and one we’re still in the midst of – in my opinion it’s too early to be talking about any good that may or may not come of it. People are losing their lives, livelihoods, loved ones. It’s shit and it’s not over yet. BUT.
I have been thinking. Perhaps with such sweeping change thrust upon us it’s human nature to get to philosophising, or at least ruminating, on our lifestyle as it was before Corona (‘BC’ if you will). I’ve been thinking about whether any of the new little habits or changes I’ve adopted during lockdown would be worth trying to continue afterwards. Not the big stuff that we’re all painfully aware of – appreciating the NHS, protecting the vulnerable, enjoying the simple freedoms we took for granted – I’m thinking of things that could easily get forgotten about once we rush, giddy with possibilities, out in to the world to resume our post-lockdown lives. Is anything from lockdown life worth holding on to? Maybe. Yes. I hope so.. Whilst not exactly a set of resolutions, there are a few things I’d like to think I’ll keep doing after Corona – here are five:
1. Video calling – why have I only ever used conference calls or group video chats for work, when I could be using it to see the lovely little faces of family and friends? Sure it’s awkward at first but after the first few not so slick attempts I started to have a lot of fun. There’s nothing like half hour of nonsense and laughter with your besties to lift you up – I hope I remember that next time I’m feeling a little far from friends or in need of a quick hit of silliness and sorority.
2. Love your food. Love your freezer. Love your dried herbs and spices. Know what you have, what you need, and what you can make with what you have – but equally be prepared to improvise. I’m a fairly good Ready-Steady-Cooker already, but it has forced me to shop more mindfully. Many of you will have known this for a while – and you can scoff – but I thought that being able to pop back to Tesco any time meant I was free to spend less time on shopping and meal plans, but this experience, being forced to do a ‘big shop’ as infrequently as possible, has changed my mind. It’s saved me time (duh, right?!) and I’ve enjoyed not needing to even think about going back to the shops at all during the next week or two.
3. This isn’t so much a habit as a realisation: don’t assume anyone’s job, employment status, income or financial position is ‘safer’ than the next. So many different people – the self-employed, high level salaried, charities, business owners and landlords for example – have been hit hard by the knock on effects of the pandemic. People’s presumptions about who is secure have been shattered. We’re seeing the domino effects of the virus take twists and turns that most of us didn’t expect. Big isn’t always safe, ownership is fragile, fortunes are fickle and anyone can find themselves capsized and at the mercy of others in just a few short weeks. In other words, the grass may be greener today but that doesn’t mean it will be tomorrow. I hope that knowledge will help us to ward off envy and prejudices, but also encourage us to stay agile, creative and humble to bolster our chances against the strange surprises that will no doubt come our way.
4. Go outside, and not just for an actual reason. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have time for a walk or run or the weather isn’t great – you don’t even have to put your shoes on – sticking your head outside for a few minutes, looking at something green, listening for a bird, and just breathing the outdoor air is the fastest, easiest mood booster. It just works. I hope I always appreciate this when ‘normality’ returns and fills our heads and schedules and I again need the remedy that’s quite literally on my doorstep.
5. Again not a habit but a mental shift – kindness isn’t a thought, a feeling or a sentiment. Kindness is an action. A practicality. A deliberate mobilisation of self in the service of another. And we all have the power to commit acts of kindness if we choose – we’ve proven that to ourselves and each other. I believe it’s important to make this time count, and not forget about the simple ways we can be there for others in our rush to resume our own busy lives.