Picking up the pieces after lockdown

After many months of staying home, life is slowly returning to what the media are now calling ‘the new normal’.

Schools are starting a phased re-opening; local shops are welcoming back the public and we can finally reunite with our much-loved hairdressers to get our roots touched up!

Yet I have a weird feeling of disorientation when I go outside these days. It’s like waking from a very long sleep to find the world irreversibly changed. As I strolled down my local high street this morning, things felt far from normal. Maybe it was folk donning their latest facial accessory, the newly boarded up shop fronts that were once thriving businesses or maybe the long queues outside Tesco and the strong smell of sanitiser in the air as you enter.

But the fact is, life isn’t ever going to return to normal. We’ve come too far. We can’t go through something as colossal as Covid-19, and not be fundamentally changed on some level. Reality has been sharply bought into focus. For some, these past few months has been a welcome relief, a chance to step off the relentless treadmill of life and for others, it has been a time of utter misery and trepidation.

Either way, we’ve all grown – we’ve all changed on some level.

And whilst we might yearn for things to return to ‘normal’, to be able to peruse the clothes rails again, fly off at will to some far-flung destination at a discounted price or eat unsavoury grub at our favourite chain restaurant – do we honestly want to go back to how things were? The utter disregard for our beautiful planet, the scandalous inequality of our fellow man or the shear corruption within our governments – is this really what we call normal? Is this really what we want to go back to?

This is our wake-up call. The pause button has been pressed.

And this is our chance.

One things Covid-19 has highlighted is that change is needed. And change is coming fast whether we advocate it or not.

But this article isn’t a political rant, but more a spiritual calling – to bring your attention to what needs to change, not only on a wider global scale, but more importantly, in your own back yard!

The truth is – all change starts with you.

For me personally, lockdown has profoundly change me and my family for the better. Yet, I realise I am one of the lucky ones.

I’ve grown my own vegetables; carrots, salad, onions, herbs – something I’ve been talking about doing for years and never had time for. I’ve rediscovered the joy of cycling and the feeling of wind in my hair. As a family, we’ve danced more, walked more, talked more, learnt more, played more, ate way more, slept more and hung more lines of washing out than ever before! But most of all, I’ve enjoyed having my husband home. After 23 years of commuting three hours a day he is now working from home, and this means for the first time ever he can do the school run, walk the dogs with us at lunchtime and join us for dinner at 6pm. This in itself has been life-changing for us all.

And yet, like a lot of people during this time, I’ve cried (and prayed) more as I’ve witnessed the pain and destruction this virus has reaped on the world.

But for all the pain and destruction, I foresee lots of progressive change unfolding over the next decade.

Many of us will re-address our working lives – we will spend more time working from home, we will fly less and holiday more at home, we will shop locally and take more interest in our community. Our workplaces will put a bigger emphasis on wellbeing and mental health and education will have a more blended learning approach for both adults and children alike. The way we work, live and play is drastically about to change and it’s certainly going to be an interesting few years for us all.

So, looking forward, I’d like to direct your attention to what changes need to be made in YOUR own life. Is it time to change career, grow your own veg, get involved in a community project, learn to belly dance or simply spend more time riding your bike?

Never has the words of Ghandi rung truer – “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Our future really is in our hands.

Here are my three big life-changing ‘post-lockdown’ tips to help you make positive changes in your own life.

  1. Educate yourself – lockdown threw all my career plans for 2020 out the window, but instead of moping around the house I decided I would use my time wisely by upskilling and stretching my mind, from leadership skills, mindfulness practises, to exploring emotional intelligence, not only has this kept me focused, I’ve come out of lockdown a more knowledgeable and happier human being. What would you really like to learn before the end of the year? Check out thenewskillsacademy.co.uk or Udemy.com for inspiration. Use this time to grow and learn something new.
  2. Address the balance – 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. This is a shocking statistic! Whilst lockdown has been stressful in itself (especially in those early weeks), it has also taught us about slower living. Often boredom sparks creativity and many of us have had to find new ways to entertain ourselves from getting our hands in the soil to learning yoga and in doing so, we’ve found we’re less anxious and frazzled. Once lockdown does eventually lift, don’t allow yourself to drop back into old destructive patterns. Re-address the balance in both love and life and decide on what says and what needs to go.
  3. Work on your plan B – The work landscape has changed profoundly since March and many still don’t know when they’ll return to the office. For others, their job situation is unknown – and will there be a job to return too? Now is a good time to consider all your options. Could this be an opportunity to change jobs or even career? Think outside the box, you are never too old to reinvent yourself. Why not check out ucas.com for career ideas or think about turning your passion into a business.

Until next time,

With love

Louise x

Bio: Louise is a corporate wellbeing expert, professional coach, speaker and internationally published author. For more inspiration and guidance visit www.thegameoflife.co.uk