I viewed lockdown one as a bit of an opportunity, but didn’t really do all the positive things I’d planned because the weather was so nice, so I just spent time indoors. Since then I’ve felt that it’s more important to take care of myself rather than than have any high minded ideas about the ‘perfect lockdown’. There have been some unexpected benefits though including escaping early morning starts for a while. So what are my positives.
- More sleep. I know that this won’t have worked so well for everyone, but I have slept better. I’ve been managing a good 8 hours or more each night. When my son was little he used to wake me a lot at night and then became an early riser. He’s in his teens now so isn’t waking me. I’ve felt I’ve been in sleep deficit for years, so it’s been good to get a decent amount of sleep again. It’s supposed to be good for health, weight loss and so many other things too.
- More reading. I have loads of books I want to read. Reading has always been a great joy, but I haven’t always had the time. Now there’s a lot more time for reading and I’ve read and enjoyed so many books over the last few months. I’ve read a wide range of things from classics like Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of a Plague Year to up to date modern fiction like Isabel Allende’s A Long Petal of the Sea. Most of my reading has been my usual crime fiction, but there’s been some non-fiction too and a few wild cards.
- More languages. I’ve always enjoyed learning languages and I’ve found a bit more time for that in lockdown. Not masses, but some. I’ve spread it out over German (my best language), French, Welsh and a new starter Norwegian (I got inspired to learn that after watching a Norwegian crime drama). I haven’t done lots and a lot of it has been on Duolingo, but I have done some most days which is a real improvement.
- Better knowledge of my local area. I’ve done a lot of walking right from my door and I’ve got to know my local neighbourhood a bit better. I’ve lived here pretty well all my life, but I have found some new spots to explore. It’s amazing how much is all around us.
- Improved fitness. This isn’t quite a linear thing. I haven’t been able to swim for great chucks of time which has had a negative impact and I’ve done less yoga than I should. I did do quite a lot of Joe Wicks’ PE classes in lockdown 1 and beyond. I can do a lot of squats now without feeling the burn. It’s been a bit up and down on the fitness front: more walking, less swimming, less yoga, more gardening.
- A nicer garden. The advantage of more time and wanting to spend it outside has meant a nicer garden for me. I’ve had more time to work on it. Over the last year I’ve invested in it a bit more. I bought a lovely parasol that I hope to use for years to come. I bought bedding plants and had a lovely floral display: much better than I’ve managed in previous years. I did more work on the vegetable beds and ate more of my own produce. I’ve invested in a bit more for the coming year: more seeds, some more raspberry canes and a wider range of seed potatoes.
Lockdowns can be positive and they don’t need to be supercharged with to do list to make steps forward.