We’ve just marked the first anniversary of the start of lockdown in the UK, and we’re seeing lots of posts online about what people have learned from this period.
I see a lot of posts from a time when we were all optimistic and eager to say at home: Remember when you thought it was all a bit of a novelty and only for a few weeks!?
Most people share how strong and resilient we are and how we recognize the importance of mental health. We learned that exercise and fresh air make us feel alive and that local green spaces are a lifeline during difficult times. We learned how much we love nature, appreciate the safety of our homes, love our local communities, and miss seeing our friends and family.
Yes, that’s all about this! But now everything is becoming a little more common.
I think I already knew about this, but now I appreciate it all even more.
So I thought I’d actually share what I’ve learned from a year of living in lockdown. Mainly to prove to myself that lockdown wasn’t all bad!
#1. I’ve learnt to bake!
It’s kind of crazy to think I’d never baked a cake before lockdown because I bake all the time now. I bake a lot, but I’ve also learned how to bake in fancy and unusual ways, like this chocolate and beetroot cake or this 6-layer rainbow cake for him!
I used to make Betty Crocker cupcakes, but now I’m a real adult who even measures out all the ingredients.
#2. I’ve learnt to paddleboard
Well…now you can now stand on the board without falling!
If you want to know more about buying and learning paddleboards, I wrote a little bit about it on Instagram.
#3. I’ve learnt that my kids are happiest when we don’t do a lot
This was really interesting to me because I’ve always been one of those moms who plans lots of activities. Dates, zoos, petting farms, soft play, parks, hikes, adventures. I loved it and was proud to be a busy, hands-on mom.
But when lockdown started, I found my kids were just as happy to build forts under the kitchen table as they were on these fancy day trips. They seem to love the comfort and familiarity of home, and are more likely to indulge in imaginative play when they’re home.
#4. But I’m happiest when I have lots to do
Unfortunately, I cannot say the same. I’ve tried to embrace the whole lockdown vibe of ‘just sit back, relax, do nothing and have fun’ but I can’t do that. Sitting around and doing nothing is not relaxing for me!
I love having projects, goals, to-do lists, and tasks, even if it means making a damson gin with all my damsons!
For a while, I began to think of myself as one of those people who can’t sit still and think. People online were claiming that it’s bad to be dissatisfied with doing nothing. But I don’t think so. I like to think about myself when I’m hiking or gardening, but not when I’m sitting around doing nothing.
#5. I’ve learnt to share my feelings in my own way
I think we all know by now that talking about how you feel is very important. But that doesn’t necessarily mean sitting down, having a heart-to-heart, and venting your feelings.
Sometimes it’s a simple text message like, “I’ve had a really bad day today.” Bring some wine with you on your way home!’
That’s really true.
#6. Toxic positivity is a thing
When I came across the term “toxic positivity” I immediately rolled my eyes and groaned that I couldn’t even put on a happy face anymore!
However, I was intrigued and read more about toxic positivity and realized that it is very important to be aware of it.
Toxic positivity is putting on a happy face and pretending that everything is fine without admitting that you are feeling sad. It is a place where you push all sad emotions aside because you feel like you are not allowed to feel them.
Lockdowns have led to a huge increase in toxic positive thinking as people say “well, we’re lucky, but it could be worse, everyone else is worse off…” I think I did…’
I’m very lucky, at least for myself. But just because I’m lucky doesn’t mean I’ve had to deal with lockdown, isolation, having 3 kids at home and almost being overwhelmed, homeschooling a reluctant kid, and overnight the whole business and everything. It’s not that I’m not sad about losing a customer.
Yes, there are many people who are in much worse situations, but that doesn’t mean you have to pretend everything is okay for fear of offending people who are worse off than you. Not.
Don’t feel like you have to be a happy bunny all the time, embrace sad thoughts.
#7. I’ve learnt to garden
Let’s get back to more light-hearted topics. I learned gardening. I haven’t put much of what I learned into practice yet, but I’ve done a ton of research. Just researching about gardening is a lot of fun.
#8. I’ve learnt to stop impulse shopping
Before the lockdown started, I used to buy something from Amazon Prime and other online sites almost every day. The moment I thought, “Oh, I need this!” It would have been nice if I could order and have it delivered within 24 hours. I rarely stopped to think about whether I really needed it.
However, as I lost most of my jobs during the lockdown, I had to be careful with my spending and did very little online shopping (except for food.
And you know what? The world isn’t over yet, and I realized I didn’t need half the things I thought I’d need delivered to my door right away!
#9. I’ve learnt to do online food shops
Before the lockdown, online grocery shopping was confusing. I tried a few times, but it took so long and I forgot almost everything, so I found it much easier to drive to the store. But now I’m an online food shopping ninja. I also do all the meal planning!
#10. I’ve learnt I can do a lot less than I thought
It contradicts my saying that I like to be busy, but I’ve learned that I don’t have to do everything. I haven’t worked much for a year now, but my business hasn’t completely collapsed and I’ve realized that each chore can wait until I’m ready. No one cares if I change beds today, tomorrow, or next week, so I don’t have to rush around all the time like a headless chicken.
#11. I’ve learnt to share my messy, weird, imperfect world
Before lockdown, I didn’t share much about my life at home online. I have always been busy sharing my travels. The trip was perfectly planned and organized and each photo was staged and executed to perfection.
I didn’t share my home life because I was afraid it would be boring, messy, and incomplete, but sharing my daily life was a big turning point for me as a blogger. It’s great for me to share these everyday moments and find people who can empathize, help and share similar things. And my daily posts get far more views and engagement because they’re all things people can relate to.
Last week I shared a post about my garden and it got far more views than my previous travel posts. And I chat online about how to make bottle juice, and more people talk to me about it than any other holiday!
#12. I’ve learnt that excessive organising helps me feel calm – and that’s OK!
Whenever I feel stressed, my Filofax comes out!
It took me a really long time to realize this. And it takes even longer to accept it!
I go through phases where I have an overwhelming urge to declutter, declutter, and organize. I usually try to get a new planner and write lists and mark dates to get really organized.
During lockdown, I realized that this is what I do when I feel out of control.
It’s like a pregnant woman’s nest. Before a baby is born, we often want to declutter, clean, and organize in preparation for the baby’s arrival, but doing so also gives us a sense of control over situations that are out of our control. You can do it!
#13. We still live in a very racist world
Amidst the online chats about lockdown and coronavirus, there was a lot of online chat about racism. And I’ll hold my hand up and admit that it wasn’t that long ago that I thought the world wasn’t so racist anymore. Since I’m not a racist, I assumed others weren’t either.
This is an uncomfortable truth, but we still live in a very racist world dominated by white people. Social media is a great platform to give a voice to marginalized people, and it is our responsibility to listen and take action.
#14. I’ve learnt to find an identity that didn’t revolve around travel
Ever since I started backpacking as a fresh-faced 21-year-old, my life has revolved around travel. It was my hobby, my love, my job, and everything I did revolved around traveling.
Then travel slipped away from me and I had a real identity crisis. If I wasn’t a traveler, who would I be?
Although it was a difficult time, I no longer felt like travel defined me as a person. I mean, I still don’t know who I am as a person, but I know it doesn’t revolve 100% around travel. I found alternative hobbies and things to occupy my mind. I found a non-travel related job, but I can see how my life would progress if travel wasn’t at the center of everything I do.
#15. I’ve learnt which social media accounts make me happy
I think we’ve all spent too much time scrolling through social media over the past year. I quickly realized that some accounts made me feel really awful and others gave me instant joy.
I know everyone accesses social media for different purposes, but during the lockdown, I’ve been using it to fill the void I felt missing from face-to-face interactions. I loved following people who overshared online and seemed authentic and honest. It felt like a friend sharing snippets of their daily lives, and I really needed that during the lonely months of lockdown.