Why revisiting the rituals that helped you through lockdown could help recharge your batteries now
With our lives getting back to being as busy as they were in February 2020, we're all starting to forget the lazy lockdown days where the only thing we had to worry about was which of the 5 usual routes to take for our daily walks (if we were lucky enough to be locked away working from home, that is!) Personally, I really enjoyed that part of it, even though it was coupled with crippling Covid anxiety for myself, my loved ones and pretty much the entire world.
Taking the time to make a loaf of bread, knit a scarf, walk 10k, or experiment with 10 different recipes until you made the perfectly fudgey-yet-crisp brownie. They were all ways to pass the time. But think about this: wasn't the reason you thought to do those things on the slower days, simply because you had the time? And if that's how you chose to spend your time, isn't that a sign of what you truly want when all the other noise is turned down to minimum?
Now, you may never want to see another sourdough starter again. But, if you're staring at that jar longingly as you join your 10th Zoom call of the day, wishing that you had the time to make Just. One. More. Loaf. Well, maybe that's a sign that returning to at least some of the old/new/whatever-the-hell-they-are ways could do your mental state some good.
If you're feeling totally depleted, even to the point where you feel you need to take a mental health day off work, then it may be tempting to just sit and wallow all day because 'that's what sick people are supposed to do'. But ask yourself 'Is this helping my mental health?' and I can almost guarantee the answer will be no. For some, a duvet day is exactly what the Doctor ordered, especially if you haven't been sleeping well. But for those of you who feel like their mental exhaustion came before the physical, looking back to that lockdown list of wholesome activities might be the key to recharging.
For me, it's walking. My fiancé and I went for plenty of walks during all lockdowns, but in January 2020 we walked every single day, through rain and snow. I still think back fondly to the laughs (and slips!) we had when I retrace those steps, and it really hits home just how much those walks kept me going. I actually used the analogy during that time, that I felt as though I was paddling through a lake, and those walks were all that was keeping my head above the water and stopping me from drowning. If you have something like that in your life, then cling onto it and make it a priority for the sake of your own wellbeing.
Give this a go: Try making a list of all the things you did during lockdown and, next to each one, how at peace it made you feel with yourself- 1 being no difference, and 10 being the most positive difference to your mental state. No task is too small- even taking the time to hang your washing outside rather than flinging it all in the dryer. It might seem like an everyday thing, but if it gave you some headspace or a moment of calm, then it's worth thinking about bringing it back into your routine.