Tuesday 21 July 2020
2020, the start of a new beginning, a fresh start for many and a year thought to bring us hope and joy much like every other year. However, this year took a slight turn and since February things turned pretty sour.
When the World Health organisation had declared the Coronavirus to be a pandemic, the world was brought to a standstill.
As World leaders and governments fought over medical supplies and people fought over toilet paper and soap, things were starting to get out of control and a nationwide lockdown was enforced in late March. Since then our lives have considerably changed.
Amidst the uncertainty, this was the first time I and many others had the chance to take a step back & detach ourselves from reality. What was seen to be an inconvenience was in my eyes a blessing in disguise. Here are 7 things I’ve learned during my time in lockdown.
- Health is wealth. In the midst of a public health crisis, it is normal for one to be concerned about their health however this should be an eye-opener for one to take their health seriously. We only really get one set of organs, abusing them with alcohol or intoxicants is not worth it at all. One should treat their body like a temple, by ensuring what I put into my body is safe, clean and is most importantly healthy. I can’t stress how important it is to eat clean and to workout, by watching your diet and your lifestyle you can prevent many diseases and illnesses and will hopefully go on to live longer, look younger once you reach old age and are guaranteed to be happier. Now I’m not advocating you go full vegan but swap that chocolate bar for an apple, ensure you’re drinking 2 litres of water ( that’s only 4 regular water bottles) and eat more vegetables. We all love a sweet treat here and there and that’s perfectly fine just do so in moderation. Don’t jeopardise your health.
- It’s okay to be frustrated. You have just as much right to feel annoyed, angry or upset as anyone, and nobody can tell you any different. Many of us have unfortunately had to deal with the loss of a loved one to the virus and many are still having to come to terms with these somewhat extreme social distancing measures where certain family members are restricted from seeing one another. This pandemic has affected all of us in different ways and no two sufferings are the same. Your feelings matter and they are not to be overlooked. However I know that things will get better and at the end of this dark tunnel, there will be some light. I try not to dwell too much on those negative thoughts and start manifesting and working towards a brighter future for myself one that my loved ones would ultimately be proud of. Mental health is important and to not be overlooked, if you are feeling down know that there are people you can talk too.
- It’s the little things that matter. It’s very easy to overlook the little things, your mother’s cooking, eating together as a family, spending quality time with your siblings, going out for a meal with your friends and being with your partner are all just some of the things we pretty much take for granted on the daily. This lockdown has taught me to appreciate these things, appreciate the special people in your life be that your friends your family or your partner, those that make you laugh and smile. Make memories to look back on. The petty arguments with my sister and my mother’s lovely food and even getting a Starbucks with my best friend before class every day are just some of the little things I will cherish. Appreciate what you have.
- Embrace your faith. Throughout lockdown, many religious holidays had passed and with all places of worship closed, millions of worshippers were confined to worship at their homes. Christians were not able to attend churches for Easter, the Jewish community were unable to come together to celebrate Passover, Muslims were unable to gather for iftars and prayers during the holy month of Ramadan and Eid as mosques were closed and the Sikh community were unable to gather and celebrate the most important day in the Sikh calendar, Vaisakhi. As unfortunate as this was, this lockdown brought many closer to their faith including myself, spending Ramadan with my family at home allowed me to take in the blessings of the month and allowed me to make the most of the time I had to reconnect and embrace my relationship with God. Faith is a personal journey and lockdown has allowed many to revaluate their lives and find their true purpose.
- Cooking is fun. I’ve always enjoyed cooking but have never really had the chance to cook as much as I have during my time in lockdown. I have managed to make a range of foods some of which I learned from Tiktok and online recipes. Waking up to make a Dalgona coffee has been the highlight of my mornings in lockdown. From making different kinds of pasta, rice and beans, bean burgers, sweet potato wedges to baking cakes, cheesecakes and tiramisu my love for food has only gotten bigger. Not only has it been enjoyable making food it’s also a very wholesome feeling making food for my loved ones and being able to share moments over food.
- Nature is fun. During my time in lockdown I made an effort to go on walks and visit the park, it was a refreshing feeling and I felt uplifted being able to take in the beauty of nature and put my mind at ease. Sometimes you don’t need to travel on an aeroplane thousands of miles away to another country to witness scenic views when you can explore the country you are living in and stumble across magnificent views, sunsets and mountains. If there’s one thing lockdown has motivated me to do it would be to explore the UK more. Durdle Door, The Cotswolds and the Jurassic Coast are just some places definitely worth seeing for its natural beauty.
- Self-love is the best love. It’s easy to feel pressured to look perfect in a society obsessed with unrealistic beauty standards. Sometimes it can be very unhealthy and rather toxic. My time in lockdown has allowed me to detach away from all that, this is the first time many women including myself have gone without the need to wear any makeup and look perfect. I’ve been able to let my skin breathe and work on accepting myself wholeheartedly. When you feed your mind positive affirmations you learn to come to terms with yourself but most importantly you learn to love yourself for who you are. I hope everyone can learn to love themselves because it truly is the best form of love.
Nasra Shafie, 3rd Year International Relations and Development