[Ad] It feels very much like this year may well be the single most defining of my life – in part because we’ve kind of had no choice but to slow down, have we? And – for me at least – that has also equated to evaluating a lot of stuff. While it’s been an incredibly difficult time in many ways, it’s also facilitated me making several positive changes…
Positive Changes I’ve Made Since Lockdown – and You Can Too
Here’s how I’ve changed since lockdown:
1. Stopped Wearing Make Up
If you’d suggested to me a year ago that I should stop wearing make-up on a daily basis I’d most likely have laughed. I certainly wouldn’t been able to consider it seriously.
And that’s in spite of the fact that I’m raising two daughters who I want, more than almost anything else, to feel comfortable in their own skin. And I know that the best way to promote this is through modelling it myself, yet with my own personal hangups, it was always going to be a very tricky situation for me to navigate.
…Or so I thought. Because nobody is more surprised than me that over lockdown, I almost completely stopped wearing make-up.
And even more surprising is that I’ve not gone back to it.
Other than a little cover up to hide my dark circles and any blemishes, I now go au naturel – and while I prefer a more polished appearance for myself, it’s been a revelation!
2. Chosen Comfort Over Style More Often
On a similar theme, I’ve found myself refusing to buy into beauty standards which cause me pain.
I now reach for my comfortable clothes more often, only wear soft bras (no underwires!), and I can’t remember the last time I wore heels! Of course there’s nothing at all wrong with dressing up, making the best of yourself, wearing make up, doing your hair or painting your nails.
…It’s also very liberating to do this not out of a feeling of obligation, a desire to conform, or the need for approval – but because it brings you joy.
Filling your cup should be the only reason you ever do these things.
3. Rediscovered Exercise
For me, life before children involved a lot of exercise. I was still working out in the gym towards the end of my pregnancy, and swam right up until the end.
Once Pixie was born – more than six year ago now, where’s the time gone?! – I consciously stepped back. It was an inevitability which I made peace with before she arrived. And for the longest time I said ‘I’ll get back to it eventually, when the time’s right’…
Except life got extremely busy, and I found every spare moment was spent working. Time for myself just didn’t take priority. And so it wasn’t until we were locked down with nothing else to do and – crucially – there was another adult around every day to help me with childcare, that I finally got back to it.
I now work out almost every day, and it’s become a (positive) habit once again.
4. Learned to Enjoy My Own Company
Life was always hectic before lockdown, but in the hours I had one or both children to care for, I would try to make regular plans to touch base with friends. It kept them occupied and me sane.
Since we’ve been locked down, and then living with restrictions, and then locked down again, and now in tier 3 (eurghhh), it’s become normal to spend more time alone. I’ve slowed down as a result.
And while I do miss my friends, I also find myself very content in my own company.
Being okay on your own is a very valuable skill to develop. It may seem odd to refer to it as a skill, but it is – many of us have to practice to become comfortable being alone. And it’s never been more important than during a pandemic, because there’s often no other option.
It’s worth remembering that being alone is not the same as being lonely, which you may feel even when surrounded by others.
But if you’re able to enjoy your own company then you can keep loneliness at bay.
This is a problem that can particularly affect older generations who are more likely to be living alone, and may be experiencing health difficulties or bereavements, for example. If you are an older person struggling with loneliness or any other issues, it may be worth seeking help from a professional such as BetterHelp.
…And last but not least:
5. Fully Appreciated Family
Not that I didn’t before, but being forced to embrace a more simple life has in turn meant more time at home with loved ones. There’s been a shift towards a slower pace, more wholesome activities, and more quality time together with close family.
Really, it’s a fresh mindset, brought about by a new way of living.
I’m sure that without lockdown none of these things would have happened in the same way. So while I’m not ecstatic about the limitations to my liberty, and more so the plans for my daughters that have been thwarted again and again, I’m choosing to focus on the positive.
These are all positive changes, and they’re changes we can all make for the better.