When the lockdown was announced on March 24, I had already stocked up vegetables and essentials for the week. I had been working remotely since January, so staying indoors wouldn’t be much of a problem or so I thought. But who knew we were in for an exhaustive ride. Six months later, I look back over these months and review the experiences.
Although I spent most of my time indoors, I experienced a range of emotions, thought patterns, and challenges that made this period more than eventful. It changed my perception of a lot of things. Here are 10 things I learned throughout these months.
Most of us have some form of privilege in our lives. I know that I have been privileged in a lot of ways, yet, the notion of privilege didn’t weigh so heavily onto me until lockdown.
I was privileged to be able to choose to stay and work at home, I could buy groceries for a week and choose not to go outside daily. Even when the shops were closed, I had the privilege of choice to order my essentials from Swiggy or Zomato, despite the delivery fee.
Some didn’t have this privilege.
Let me admit something. I am a lazy person! If there were someone who would do all the household chores, I would probably spend my whole day reading or writing, without offering help. But sadly, I don’t have someone like that so I am responsible for cleaning the mess my lazy self makes.
And this transition from the lazy to organized, along with accomplishing my professional tasks makes me overwhelmed.
I had always tried using a To-Do but I couldn’t stick to it. Until lockdown happened. I cannot describe how helpful sticking to a To-Do list has been.
When I say out of your comfort zone, I am not talking about grand things like sky diving or jumping off a cliff or talking to strangers (unless the strangers are your local vegetable vendors).
I am talking about the small things that we deliberately postpone doing, like washing the clothes in the chair, posting a creative caption for Instagram, picking up something from the floor, showing up when we don’t feel like it, and many more things that require us to fight the resistance and just do it.
These things may seem small but when done daily, they help us be more disciplined and improve significantly.
When I am hesitant to do something, even though I have to do it, I procrastinate.
And when I procrastinate, I procrastinate in the name of seeking information.
I have noticed that I tend to seek ‘inspiration’ by reading new articles with the same information again and again and watching inspirational videos when I should be working with the amount of information I already have.
The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr says, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.”
How many times do we fret about things that aren’t in our control? What might he be thinking? I made a fool of myself in front of everybody. I wish my parents were more understanding. I wish I had more friends. And so on. And sometimes, we keep spiralling down these negative trains of thoughts and worrying endlessly.
A simple exercise is to pause, call yourself out, take a breath, and ask yourself one simple question- “Is this situation in my control?”
If it is in your control, take the required action. If it isn’t, then gently let it go.
This simple exercise has helped me understand the underlying issue behind my immediate emotions and feelings. This question also helps us understand that bad things are going to happen, but how we respond to those situations is in our control. This question has helped me understand more about myself and work on the issues causing negative emotions.
Takes practice, but is worth it.
Aren’t we all rudest with the people we love the most? The people we are comfortable with, are the ones who bear the brunt of our moods.
Maybe, we shouldn’t be treating people as punching bags. Maybe, we should get some headspace by going outside, taking a break from the situation, or anything that helps us get away from the situation until we settle. It’s important to give ourselves time to settle and understand what’s bothering us.
Maybe, all we need is a bit of self-care. But whatever it is, lashing out on people or cutting ties with friends whom we disagree with, is not the solution.
I didn’t want to admit this. But on days, when I couldn’t even go for a walk without being extra vigilant, shopping has greatly helped me reduce stress.
Buying something for myself felt like patting myself on the back for handling this situation without losing control and with responsibility. Whenever I go shopping (for buying monthly groceries), it feels like a reward for being responsible throughout these months.
Resultantly, I buy some extra chocolate or sweets for myself as a gift. A fun fact about adulting is, you gotta be your parent for the inner child in you.
I cannot stress this enough. Whenever I am overworking, I tend to get irritated with small things. Earlier I didn’t know this pattern, but working from home has helped me understand myself better, and understanding this has greatly helped.
Being a pleaser, I tend to overwork and overexert myself. And when you are always at home, it becomes easy to blur the lines between work and life and throw the balance quotient out of the window.
However, lockdown helped me understand the signs of overwhelm and now I always take a break when/before I find myself getting irritated with small things.
Resilience and consistency are two values that are extremely important to reach our goals. Unless we are consistent, we will never progress. Unless we are resilient, we will never bounce back after setbacks. I’ve tried to inculcate these two values in my life throughout these months and I’m progressing.
These were the lessons I learned since the lockdown began. It has been tough yet it has helped me become a more responsible person. My journey of self-discovery had started years back but the lockdown has helped me understand more aspects of myself and the society that I hadn’t reflected upon before.
Maybe, the lockdown has made me a better person. What about you?
The article was first published by Arpana Gautam on The Sikkim Chronicles.