Slower Pace of Life: Is this the silver lining to the lockdown?
The pandemic has, without doubt, changed our lives, and how we live, for most of us. The tragedy it has brought with it is absolutely heartbreaking and for many, lives will never quite go back to what it was prior to COVID-19. It is difficult, thinking of the many people who have lost their lives and their loved ones, to try to see a silver lining in the current situation. However, the recent changes we’ve all been forced to embrace has resulted in a slower pace of life which, in some cases, has proven to have positive changes to both body and mind.
Getting more sleep
You might think that the current situation which is causing stress and anxiety would result in people to sleep less. However, surprisingly, recent data from fitness and sleep trackers such as FitBit shows that the duration and quality of many people’s sleep have improved during the lockdown. The explanation is most likely down to working from home and not having to commute to an office. Packed trains and traffic jams can be stressful and soul-destroying for the most seasoned commuter and by cutting it out of our day, it leaves, not only more time for people to spend at home but also less stress that comes with it. It also means we can sleep in and get up later, closer to the ideal time to wake up, which according to sleep expert Dr Paul Kelley from Oxford University is 8.10 am for those in our thirties (10.30 am if you are in your twenties). Dr Kelly goes one step further and claims starting work (in an office) before 10.30 am is torture for the human body. So by following our natural body clock by getting up later, which most of us are able to do, whilst in lockdown seems to have a positive effect on our sleep.
Upskilling in the kitchen
A slower pace of life has resulted in more time being spent in our homes. People have reclaimed the kitchen hobs throwing themselves into all sorts of cooking trying out new recipes they, a few months ago, would never have dared to attempt. Not even the ovens are safe, apparently, baking has never been so popular. And with recipes now frequently appearing in media (a substitute to the usual travel news), there’s no shortage of inspiration. With working from home resulting in no commuting time many of us now have time (and inspiration) to prepare dinners from scratch to be enjoyed together with the family. Not only is it healthier for our bodies to consume fresh and home-cooked food over-processed and ready-made meals, but there are also social, and mental benefits to eating with others.
More focus on self-care
Self-care comes in many forms. From taking the time to check-in with ourselves on a daily basis to meditation and breathwork for mental clarity. Having more time to ourselves and less social interaction than usual this can be a wonderful time to re-set our minds. This can, of course, be challenging at times. All of a sudden we are confronted with ourselves and our current situation which may call for forgiveness, reflection and inner strength. As daunting as this might be, it will without a doubt eventually lead to a positive personal development for most of us.
Self-care is also taking care of our external body in the form of soothing baths, face masks, massages, hair treatments, rich hand creams and anything that makes your body feel loved and cared for. And we have plenty of time to do it. With hair and beauty salons being closed, we are now spending more time on DIY-beauty treatments at home. We can allow ourselves to be a bit braver trying out new products, remedies and treatments (it’s easier to hide behind a zoom-screen than in an office if anything would go south). Also, with the reduced level of air pollution as a result of fewer cars on the road and by staying at home, many might have seen an improvement in their skin.
Re-connecting with loved ones
Lastly, being physically cut-off from our families, friends have, for many, proven to actually strengthen the bonds we have with our loved ones. We realise how much we love those closest to us. Although the road to recovery from COVID-19, both medically and financially, is long, there seem to be a few positives emerging from the lockdown. Perhaps we will after the lockdown is lifted, continue to embrace some of the aspects of a slower way of life. And as John Milton’s 1634 poem “Comus” suggests, there might be a silver lining after all.