Framed photograph that reads: Stay Safe, Stay Home, Save Lives. Potted plant and a candle are in the foreground of the image.

What I’ve learnt during lockdown

Despite the past couple of months being slightly crazy, I’ve actually come to appreciate the lockdown. Yes, it’s annoying not being able to see my friends or my family, but I’ve had so much more time to work on myself.

As silly as this may sound, giving myself time to reflect on my priorities has really helped me to cast out bad habits and negative lifestyle choices, that really didn’t contribute to my life at all. Lockdown has certainly given me a new perspective on lots of aspects of my life.

1. Diet

When living in student accommodation, it’s easy to fall into bad habits with your diet. For me, a takeaway was too tempting, and a milkshake on the way home from work just seemed to cheer me up after a long day. Once lockdown began and takeaways shut down, I found my self having to eat the things in my fridge…crazy, I know. Now don’t get me wrong, I do cook. But it’s usually frozen meals, or something quick because, with my crazy schedule, it’s hard to find time to eat healthy, home-cooked meals. Takeaways just seemed so much easier, but once that option was removed, I realised there are so many ways to get around that issue of time.

Meal prepping was an absolute lifesaver. I started cooking pasta bakes and they would last me a good few days. I bought cook-from-frozen chicken so that I could easily make basic and healthy meals that didn’t take me long to prepare. Another thing I came to appreciate was a good salad. At first, my flatmates introduced me to the idea of a decent salad for lunch, and obviously, I was skeptical – I mean, who wants to eat leaves for fun? But with the right dressing and a bit of meat (or meat substitute) mixed in with the salad, I actually really enjoyed it. It made eating in this hot weather far more bearable, as a light lunch seemed to put me in an energetic mood, rather than simply heating up last night’s leftovers. I highly recommend leaving the takeaways for cheat days, instead of just bad days like I did. It cleared my head and made me feel motivated each day to get up, and do something fun.

2. Social Media

It is times like this, when friendships are really tested. I wish that before lockdown I could have seen how disconnected I was from my friends, and the lives they live. Sometimes, these lessons are the hardest to come to terms with, but I know now that I have some amazing friends, that I share a mutually beneficial relationships with.

Before the lockdown, I had a tendency to not go on social media. It’s not that I don’t like it, I just think when you attach yourself too much to social media, it can negatively impact your life. However, since lockdown began, social media has been my only form of communication with the people closest to me. Now, I still don’t become attached to my phone or spend hours on Facebook, but I do look at my friend’s stories, and I see what they’re up to; I spark up conversations in reply to their daily routines and outings. It’s made me realise that I wasn’t truly connected with my closest friends, because I didn’t take the time to take an interest in what they were doing. What lockdown has taught me from this, is that social media isn’t negative, it’s positive; it links you to the people you are closest to and creates bonds that otherwise may never have been made.

3. Gossip

On the other hand, lockdown has also taught me not to believe everything I read on social media, just because it’s been shared 10,000 times. I think avoiding gossip has been one thing that has really inspired me to be positive throughout this whole experience. By doing so, I’ve been able to stay informed with trustable sources (like gov.uk and the NHS website), whilst still enjoying my time with my household. Fake news is one thing that has created a lot of mass-hysteria recently, and it has made me realise that for the future, I need to focus on facts, as opposed to hearsay. It’s better for your mind and for your spirit.

Lockdown overall has made me more aware of my habits. It’s improved me as a person and I don’t look negatively on it whatsoever. I know that in just a couple more months, I’ll be back with the people I love, doing what I love, working again, and getting back to a routine. But I’ll be doing these things happier, wiser, and healthier; lockdown has taught me that I need to take care of myself, and hopefully, this article will inspire you to do so too.