Ah, the lockdown

Hey guys, if you’re not from my neck of the woods, I have some news: we’re in lockdown here. Yep, again. I can see your unimpressed face. I know, it’s a topic that barely surprises anyone.

I’ll skip the part where I talk about how it sucks to be in lockdown and how we should count our blessings and to make lemonade out of this huge pile of lemons that we’ve been gifted with. You know what I’m talking about, if you’ve read my post. That, of course, was over a year ago, so I thought you may wonder what has changed since. Here’s a quick update: I’m still working from home, still in the same job (barely), still in lockdown (a new one). What’s new? Let me see. Well, a lot of things have happened in my life. Some bad, some good, some bad and some pretty bad.

So, lockdown, hey? What can we do during lockdown, something that has not already been mentioned on all the blogs around the world? There are still new ideas out there. It’s incredible how resourceful you become after being indoors for a while if you want to avoid going nuts.

Of course, the main three obvious things to do are 1) sitting on the couch, 2) watching Netflix and 3) eating. Been there, done that. Next.

Exercise is another popular one. I’m sure you’ve heard it all. Don’t get me wrong, I do respect (and envy) the people who have the discipline to do it and have their regular routines; good on you, guys. Sadly, I have never been big on exercising. Not even when I lived in the Middle East in a compound with free gym open 24/7. I did go, several times, however reluctantly, but that’s about it.

And just to be clear, I’m in no way trying to advocate for couch potato-ing either. But let’s be honest. We’re at home, we work from home, times are tough, we’re stressed, the kitchen is right there, and so is the TV. Chances are we’ve all put on a bit of weight without even knowing, because we’re in sweatpants all day.

I remember people saying, what’s the big deal with the lockdown? All you’re asked to do is stay inside. You’ve got food, internet, what are you complaining about. Well, as it turns out, food and internet are no longer enough after several lockdowns.

So, let’s talk and share.

I’ve recently bought a new exercise bike to lose weight. (You know, like when you buy a soccer ball for your child hoping he would become the next Ronaldo and you can retire early.) Surprisingly, it turned out to be a good idea. At first, unenthusiastically yet full of hope, I gave it a couple of tries. It felt more like a chore. (You know, like eating broccoli because it’s good for you, although the taste… blech.) The minutes were incredibly long. Until I remembered that the bike had a tablet stand, and that, um, I owned a tablet. So, I could pedal and watch something at the same time. Well, hello, brand new world! Guess what, I completed two online courses on Udemy while pedalling away. I also watched most of Schitt’s Creek while exercising (if you’re unfamiliar, there are 6 seasons altogether, so quite a workout). So to recap: Netflix, getting smarter, entertained and staying fit, all at the same time? If that’s not awesome multitasking I don’t know what is. It’s pretty cool, you should try it.

Another good thing you can do for yourself during lockdown is something creative. I’ve met people who said they’re not creative so they wouldn’t pick up a brush (again), or a set of knitting needles or try a new recipe. If you’re like them, I suggest you give it another try. And then another one. Unless you’re super-talented, mastering a craft takes time and persistence. Doing something creative is doing something for your wellbeing. You may say that watching a sitcom does the same thing. Maybe, but there comes a time when you get sick of screens. Laptop during work hours, mobile phone during … all hours, tablet while exercising, and then watch some TV before bed – too much. Plus, I get affected by sensory overload, so I can’t binge watch TV.

Doing something creative is a completely different experience. Your entire being is focused on that activity and without even knowing, your mind and your body become relaxed. Especially if you don’t worry about the result; just focus on the doing and the learning. You think I’m saying this because I like all sorts of arts and crafts. Well, guess what? My first try at macramé was a flop. So was my first weaving attempt. But that didn’t stop me from trying again. Practice does not make perfect, it makes better. You see all these fabulous creations on Instagram, and you think, gosh, I suck compared to this. Stop comparing yourself to others. You don’t know how many times they failed because you don’t see those failed attempts. So, you have to at least give it a reasonable try before you quit. And preferably you shouldn’t quit at all unless it is to pick another creative outlet.

In the meantime, keep pedalling. Hang in there. We can do this. Together.

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