The changes we’ve had to make to our lives in lockdown have had some unexpected benefits – and I want to keep up a lot of these good habits as things begin to return to the way they were. Here are three things that I want to keep doing after lockdown.
Number 1 – Meal planning
In the land before lockdown, I’d usually manage to plan three or four days ahead for meals, and then wing it the rest of the time. But the restrictions on shopping and deliveries have made me plan much more carefully about what we can eat over a longer period. It has been so much less wasteful – of my time doing top-up shops and trying to think last minute about what we’ll eat tonight, as well as of the food we use. I don’t want to slip back into old ways because only thinking a few days ahead becomes convenient again.
Number 2 – Online get-togethers
I’ve loved doing this – using Zoom, Houseparty and other apps to see people, some of whom I haven’t spoken to in years, and even playing games together across the aether. To my wonder, this probably would never have happened without lockdown; but it would be great if getting together like this could become part of the “new normal”. Social media can help you keep in touch to an extent, but I feel it’s made me quite lazy about putting in the effort to talk, and I definitely don’t pick up the phone as often as I did 15 years ago. In our busy lives, there are so many reasons not to make time for physical get-togethers; but keeping in touch with people over video like this is just brilliant.
The same goes for professional gatherings. Doing it all online is the perfect way to add precious extra minutes to the time I have available for work – something that forms an important part of Good Habit No 3…
Number 3 – Organising my time – in my head
I’m definitely less stressed in lockdown. I’ve noticed I’m far less short-tempered with the boys, and I’m more accepting of their procrastinations, and inability to do anything at speed (apart from starting a Fortnite game, of course – they have probably achieved a new land speed record for the desk-to-playroom distance).
It’s got to be down to pace, and control. I am aware that I get crosser when I’m stressed, because I want to get on and sort the problem out. So if something comes up with work, I can have trouble putting that away in its own box in my head, putting it aside while I sort out the other things that need doing before I can get to it.
Life in lockdown has forced me to organise myself and my time better, just to make sure I’m giving my full attention and focus to the job in hand – whether it’s homeschooling, working, food shopping, or just getting some cleaning done. I’ve learned to put things into their mental boxes without worrying about them until their allotted time – and instead of making me feel worse about not doing them, I’ve surprised myself by feeling more relaxed about them.
It’s been such a strange time – so restrictive, but yet so liberating. There is a great deal I’ve enjoyed about lockdown, and some things that I’ve found frustrating and upsetting, of course, just like everyone else. But it has been an extraordinary opportunity to reset, understand what’s important, and organise everything else around that.