How are you all? It has now been almost 3 months since life changed very drastically for us all, and I guess it has sunk in that things will be different for a long time. At the beginning of this surreal period I posted an article where I shared a few ways hygge can help you get though the coronavirus outbreak which I hope helped you. Now, I thought I would do a little updated post reflecting back on the positive things I have discovered through this difficult and challenging time.
To make sure the days have not just all felt the same, I have found that trying to keep a daily routine through all of this has been important for me to stay sane. Like for instance waking up at a normal time even though I had nowhere to go and trying to act as I would normally do (even though some days that did not happen which is totally fine). Many of us have had less or no work these months which certainly makes the time pass slower, but filling our days with fun activities like doing a puzzle, building that tiny house or baking has helped a lot.
This week the shops, restaurants and parks have opened again here in Italy. We can now finally enjoy walks outside as long as we wear masks, and many of us have been able to catch up with family and friends who live nearby. Things are slowly going back to some sort of normality…it is like the country is in the process of waking up from its little pause. It is still a long way to go and we are all staying safe at home as much as we can, but this new sense of freedom is bringing much needed hope and happiness into our lives.
It can sometimes be hard to see the good in between all the worry, sadness and seriousness of this whole situation, but I do think that this period can also bring positive outcomes. If you feel down, I recommend to try to think of things that makes you feel happy as a result of it instead of focusing on the negative aspects. Maybe it can help to write these things down in a journal so you can look back at them when you need it. To help you get started, here is my list of reflections:
Positive things I discovered in lockdown
• Even though I have not been able to meet friends and family, somehow I have felt less lonely in many ways. The fact that my fiancé was also working from home and we could therefore eat lunch or have a coffee break together during the day meant that I actually spent less time alone than I normally would. I am very grateful that we got to spend quality time together like this, and in many ways it brought us closer. I am used to living away from my family in Norway, but this period meant we discovered the joy of doing virtual hangouts together (I can’t believe we have never done it before!) We set off a time during the week to have a glass of wine and a chat over zoom, and it has been a very nice way to feel more social even though we were apart. It has shown that we all need to be a bit creative when it comes to being social, and social media has also been big factor in staying connected even though we are apart.
• I have spent much less money. Here in Italy the rules regarding shopping has been quite strict, for instance when going to the grocery store the only things we were allowed to purchase was essentials like food. Most other shops were closed which meant I could not buy home decor, clothes or things like that, and they advised us to only order essentials to get delivered home. As a result I have basically only spent money on food and therefore saved money. And it has made me realise that there are so many things I don’t really need in life to be happy. This period has helped me to enjoy less, and appreciate those things I already have more.
• Fallen back in love with hygge. Hygge moments are those small everyday moments that makes you feel happy and warm inside. They are so important to cherish, especially in these uncertain times. And although I have always been a big hygge lover, I guess the lockdown has made me fall even more in love with it. I know hygge has played a big part in how I have been able to get through this, and I think many more people have discovered the joy of hygge these days. It truly can improve our mood when we focus on the small things that bring happiness to us each day.
• I have become more health conscious and started working out. This is a big one for me – I have actually stared exercising and enjoying doing it! Before this my main way of staying active was walking, something I love doing but I always had the plan of starting working out (like so many of us). So this lockdown was the kick that I needed to get started on my fitness journey, when I was no longer able to walk I was in a way ‘forced’ to start exercising at home. In the beginning it was hard, and it took me some time to find what I wanted to do and how, but now I am in a workout routine and feeling so much better both physically but also mentally. Finishing a workout session makes you feel so good, and on those grey days it helped me feel like I at least accomplished one thing.
• When it comes to the environmental impact of the lockdown, the world has in a way had some time to heal. Less cars on the roads means that there is less air pollution – which truly is a positive effect of this tragic situation. Milan is for instance now working on making the city more environmental friendly with less roads and more outdoor areas for people to cycle, walk and enjoy which I am so happy about. They also created a scheme where you get a bonus towards purchasing a bike if you love in a larger city, so last week I bought bike. It will help me get around, stay active but also will have a positive impact on the environment int he long run.
• This ‘new normal’ is for sure more calm than I am used to even though I am a homebody at heart, but it has also shown me that by eliminating some of the unnecessary everyday stress and focusing more on the little things I am actually feeling more happy. I have been embracing slow living to the fullest. I feel more focused on each task I set out, and I take time to relax with a coffee or a good book and just breathe. I really have been enjoying the quiet – no loud noises outside and instead just the sound of birds singing. This calmness is something I will truly miss.
• Staying home this much means I managed to tidying up clutter and organise my living space more. I have for instance finally tackled my bookshelf in the livingroom which was on my list of places to sort out, and now it has made me so happy to have it all neatly organised. Not only have I spent time tidying up my home, I have also spent time decluttering my digital life. I have sorted out the apps on my phone and organised the home screen to be more beneficial for my needs as well as visually pleasing, and also organised my files on the computer. I think a lot of the time our digital clutter can make us stressed, so finding time to sort out that aspect too is of great advantage. I guess I could make a whole article about this, so let me know if that is something you would find useful?
• This period I have had more time to reflect and simply focus on me. This little pause has given us all more time to revaluate what we want for our future. To think about whether we are happy with how things were and if there are things we want to change. It can mean trying out something new or perfecting what we already do, but it is a great way to push that ‘reset’ button in a way if there were things that needed to change. For me, finally starting my YouTube channel was my new step – and now I’m just trying to plan and see what kind of content I want to create over there.
Now, your turn! What things have made a positive impact on your life these last few months?
And for those who need to hear this: remember you are not stuck at home – you are SAFE at home.
// Photo credit: Ingrid Opstad