Life&Style Writer Hannah Robinson argues that the lockdown has given her a new-found appreciation of the everyday
We are now a few weeks into quarantine, which has completely upturned our ‘normal’ way of life. With wearing facemasks becoming the norm, and being confined to the house due to strict social distancing rules, all the while hearing the devastating effects of coronavirus on the news, it is a strange and disturbing time. However, even in the midst of a global pandemic, there are still many things to be grateful for. I have compiled a list of five things I am grateful for, and I encourage others to do the same in order to stay positive.
1. Friends and Family
Being stuck in quarantine has made me extremely grateful for my friends and family. I am in a household with my parents and younger brother, and fortunately the largest argument we have had so far is over which movie to watch on TV. As we spend a large amount of time away from home at university with busy schedules, it can be easy to neglect those closest to us. I’ve enjoyed the extra time I’ve been spending with my family, enabling me to reconnect with them as we communicate more openly and support each. Daily walks together give us lots more time to catch up with each other and check-in, whilst movie nights and board games are now a daily pastime for all of us, giving us joy in each other’s company.
Lots of us are separated from close friends and family who are not in our household, and this is what I am personally finding the hardest. Although, quarantine is proving that distance really does make the heart grow fonder. Being a first year, I am so grateful for the friendships I’ve made during the first two terms and being separated from them when we’d made so many plans for the summer is hard, as well as friends from home who I already hadn’t seen for weeks. However, the time apart makes you realise how important these people are and I know when we are reunited it will be even more special.
I was fortunate enough to spend my 19th birthday in quarantine and having assumed my birthday would be semi-forgotten about this year, I was surprised to receive cards, cake and even flowers from my closest friends. These small gestures brought a smile to my face and made me so grateful that I have people around me who wanted my birthday to still be special.
Quarantine has made me grateful for the technology available to us in the modern day. Despite the physical distance, there are so many ways to communicate online that friends and family never seem too far away. The app, Zoom, has become increasingly popular for conference meetings, online education, and just for a friendly catch-up. Recently, a group of friends and I had an online quiz night and despite my shameful loss in the quiz, it was a really fun idea.
The online challenges which have been circulating social media have provided light entertainment and a distraction during these tough times. From downing a pint of beer to running 5k in aid of the NHS, it shows how people are coming together to support each other through the online world. The home workouts and yoga sessions made accessible to us online have been helping me keep sane despite being confined to the house, which is so important for both our physical and mental health. Although the news can be a source of anxiety and it is not recommended to be looked at too much at the moment, the instant access to updates regarding coronavirus helps us stay informed and updated on the everchanging situation, which has not always been the case during past pandemics.
The unknown length of time which spreads out before us has slowed life down for everyone, giving us lots of spare time to engage ourselves with hobbies and activities we enjoy, as well as giving ourselves some much deserved me-time. Despite being an English Literature student, due to the demands of university life and the set reading lists, I normally have little time for reading for pleasure and have relished the opportunity to regain my love of this.
Baking has been another favourite pastime of mine recently, with my favourite recipe being brownies, and I have also challenged myself to learn the guitar, now being able to play one song! These activities may not appeal to everyone, but whether it’s binge watching your favourite series on Netflix or partaking in yoga, such things are often neglected during our hectic lives. Quarantine offers us the chance to do some of the things we love most or even try something new which we have never got round to.
I am very lucky in that I have a relatively large garden and live right next to walking routes surrounded by fields, which gives me comfort during quarantine. I ensure that I go on a daily walk with my mum as I find the fresh air clears my head and makes me feel so much more energised and productive, otherwise I would be going stir crazy by now. I have loved being able to sunbathe in my garden as well as have BBQ’s due to the sunny weather we’ve been experiencing, which I find instantly lifts my mood and I would definitely be finding quarantine a lot harder without it. Despite the chaos in the world, nature continues to be a source of comfort and joy.
5. Removal of everyday pressures
Being confined to the house, stripped of all commitments and everyday pressures has actually made me feel a lot more relaxed. With social gatherings being prohibited and unessential shops being shut down, these is no chance of FOMO as everyone will similarly be lounging around their houses. Not being at university, although I do miss it very much, means my life feels a lot less hectic and less stressful. I’m no longer functioning on little sleep, hangovers and more plans than I can stick to and am enjoying the slower pace of quarantine lifestyle.
Despite being someone who loves their fashion and getting ready for a night out, there’s no longer the need to stress over appearance as we’re only going out for exercise or to the supermarket. I haven’t worn makeup for weeks and my daily outfits consist of a different pair of trackies and sweaters most days, which has actually been quite freeing, making me a lot more comfortable with my natural appearance.
Don’t get me wrong, I am more than ready for quarantine to be over and once again experience the joys of ‘normal’ life, however, the time to reflect has shown me I still have many things to be grateful for and enabled me to gain appreciation for the smaller things in life. Within our fast-paced, demanding modern world, quarantine might be able to teach us all a lesson and change our way of life, even once it is over.
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