There’s no denying that the past few months have thrown most of the world into great uncertainty. Everything we have come to accept as normal in life has been uprooted, with our daily routines, work, socialising, shopping and eating, all affected as a result of the government’s response to Covid-19, with its enforced lockdown and social isolation.
Not traveling, not socialising, not going to leisure facilities like restaurants, pubs, theatres or clubs – and in some cases, not going to work, has given us a great deal more time for ourselves. There are many ways you can choose to spend your time – worrying, intently deciphering the government’s latest Coronavirus case statistics, or cherishing the moments of connection with close family.
What we are experiencing now might seem negative, but please don’t be fooled. Life shouldn’t be filled with the stress of heavy workloads, schedules and deadlines. Out of the initial panic, disbelief and concern of weeks ago, new routines are establishing, new ways to connect, work and live. However temporary this way of life might be, a new ‘normal’ has emerged – one in which we are forced to surrender control of our lives and ‘be’ in the present moment. What if we all decide to focus on the preciousness of life, and enjoy the present simple pleasures in life?
We normally miss out on so much ‘living’ because of meetings, mental chatter and work responsibilities – now is our chance to change our lives, and live differently. Uncomfortable and unfamiliar as it might feel, for the first time in a long time, we have to accept ‘down-time’. Without having to plan dinner dates with friends, drinks with colleagues, trips or holidays with loved ones, we are able to slow down and just ‘be.’ If we stop fixating on the negatives of this pandemic and longing for what we have lost in our lives, we can appreciate what we’ve gained – and enjoy the benefits of this new way of being.
Change for the better
For people who always felt guilty about spending time on themselves – you now have permission to do this. It’s even enforced. We have to make these lifestyle changes – and you will find that many are for the better.
We are so used to driving ourselves onwards, eyes fixed on the road ahead, just focused on getting to our next destination that we very rarely appreciate where we are now and what we have already. But these days, we have no choice but to release our hands from the wheel, pull up to the side, and sit in the now, taking time to admire the view in the present.
During this crisis, one thing that has become clear is this: what we used to fill our lives with, and believed to be important, were just distractions that prevented us from appreciating the true beauty of life. We might have told people we ‘lived for’ football or the pub, shopping or holidays. Now we are re-evaluating what is really important to us: spending time with the people who matter to us most, reconnecting with nature, prioritising our health and wellbeing. It’s likely that none of these realisations would have occurred without us being thrown into this crisis which forced us to let go of all those distractions that served us only superficially.
When our freedom is restricted, every moment of freedom we do have is precious. You might have been living just a stone’s throw away from a park, but before now, how many times did you actively take walks there, admiring the beauty of nature? Before now, how many of you had a diary or calendar that was totally free of appointments and things to do? Did you have time and space to focus on you and to familiarise yourself with who YOU actually are?
You now have a new reference point for what life could be like. What can you take forward, into life after lockdown? What habits, routines, ideas and different ways of being will you maintain? What things will you change, from here on?
This is an amazing time in history: when we can stop the clock and remember the purpose of life. This time should be used well – to reflect on the life choices you have made thus far and to determine what does and doesn’t serve you. Embrace the lessons you learn from this Covid-19 experience and use it to bring you back in tune with who you truly are.
Take this opportunity to realign yourself to your true journey. There’s no better time than now to re-establish yourself in a way that best serves you, cutting away everything and everyone that conflicts with your new perspective.
Don’t squander this precious time by worrying about what might happen. Use it as a period of transformation, so you emerge from this experience with a new direction, and greater clarity on where you’re heading and how to get there. Although the foundations of the material world may seem to be crumbling away, this huge shake-up has, in fact, brought a level of order to many lives, helping us to rekindle our neglected priorities, passions and purpose. We can only emerge from this transformed.