On my social media feeds, I have noticed that more and more people are beginning to note some positive aspects from all of our lockdown activity, or lack thereof depending on how you look at it and/or what your experience has been thus far.
I am sure that most of you have seen many of the viral videos out and about of: loved ones paying visits to one another through glass partitions, homemade signs thanking or celebrating others, noise being made or candles being lit at a certain hour to honour all of the frontline workers, businesses manufacturing hand sanitizers instead of their usual products, individual citizens sewing masks to pass along, and the list goes on. It is certainly nice to see people pull together in times like this to try to make a difference or to simply share in a smile or a laugh or two. On a more personal level, individuals have also shared things that they are now doing, or perhaps not doing, in self-isolation that have surprised them in a good way. So today, I thought that I would list five things which have come from all of this for me over the past few weeks that I am grateful for. Maybe you will relate to some of the items on my list or maybe you have a list of your own.
- Saving money. Aside from groceries, toiletries and the little bit of gas that I am buying at rock bottom prices, I am not spending nearly as much money as I would normally. By not going out as much, I am simply not making any impulse purchases and things that I used to ‘want’ don’t seem to matter as much. It now has me questioning how necessary all of the extra stuff from days passed really was. I am thinking that some of it, I can continue to do without. It’s a good feeling. I do feel compelled to clarify though that as soon as we are cleared for travel (fingers crossed), we are out of here! Indeed, we will be spending some of our savings on trips to our favourite vacation destinations that we have been missing dearly. Meanwhile, we are accumulating airmiles and travel bucks which means that we will have more to put toward memory making and fun for later on. A plus in our books for sure!
- Cooking more. I’ve always loved to bake similar to my mom, but cooking?! Nah, not really. However, a combination of extra time on my hands and not wanting to grocery shop as often has left me thinking more about our meals to come and possible recipes that we might like to try. Don’t get me wrong… there are no Martha Stewart kinds of thing happening over at our house, but it is satisfying to cook up nourishing, tasty food while experimenting with the odd new thing. My husband, who is still working outside of the house, and I have both joked that I have become more ‘wifely’ with respect to meal preparations. I hear a few loud gasps now… don’t worry, the joke lies in that he is the one who has done the majority of the cooking throughout our decade-long partnership. The fact of the matter is that I have the time to take on more of the cooking duties as of late and my efforts are noticed and appreciated by him. As an aside, it also feels great that I am able to help out more now that I am further along in my recovery from ankle surgery last summer. I am happy that I can move about and pick up where he left off in the kitchen :-).
- Little TV time. For the past three weeks almost, I have taken to shutting off the TV during the day. I may turn it on to watch the occasional taped sitcom rerun here or there in mid-afternoon, but for the most part I’ve found that the ‘noise’ of it all was bothering me. Not just as of late either. My husband and I have commented regularly over the past few years that the quality of programming has really declined, for our personal tastes anyway, and Netflix and the like isn’t any better it seems. (No offence intended to those steadfast watchers.) It’s really become a waste of time for us minus the mindless aspects of it that we tend to seek out of it post-dinnertime. Even then, it becomes more of a background image than anything, often with the volume muted or the pause button on. We can’t be bothered. We’ve never been dedicated news watchers either and we like it that way. With less tube time, I have noticed that my mind is more peaceful throughout the day and I am now eating my lunch at our kitchen island instead of in my living-room chair like I used to. Interestingly enough, I have come to really like that part of my day. I’m not sure why exactly, but I would guess that it has something to do with the fact that my mealtime feels like more of an experience now, rather than just another thing to check off of my daytime list. Does that make sense?
- Music. Shortly after I get up, part of my morning routine involves turning on my favourite radio station. It plays throughout the house as I go about my business during the day. I like the mild-mannered announcers, the mix of soft music that they play as well as the very short news and weather updates. Of course, you can’t get away from the ongoing, repetitive ads, but it is a form of media; at least it beats all of the fear-mongering and negativity of TV-land. I tried to stream one of our well-liked Hawaiian stations to listen to, but apparently it is not up and running during the COVID-19 outbreak. Ah well, it will be all the better when we are there to listen to the familiar, soothing music in person, right?
- Yoga, Walking and Other Spring Activities. In addition to my usual physiotherapy routines scattered throughout my morning, afternoon and evening times, I am now able and have time to do my beloved yoga poses twice daily in addition to practicing my outside walking on our now-cleared up driveway. I love doing both! So refreshing. Don’t you always feel so much better after a round of exercise? It’s an immediate sense of accomplisment and it’s good for the mind, body and spirit which we all need a little extra of these days. I hope that you are all finding some time to exercise and take in a bit of the outdoors now that spring has sprung in many places. Soon, it will be gardening season here as well which is another love of mine. There’s nothing quite as fulfilling as growing your very own food to eat and working away in the soil, well minus having to weed that is. I also cannot wait for the berries to come on. Yum! With any luck in the upcoming months, we are hoping to partake in some camping which we completely missed out on last summer because of my surgery. Either way, it’s nice to have some outdoor things to finally look forward to doing amidst all of this otherwise inside time.
What is one thing that has pleasantly surprised you over the past while? Is there something that you have really enjoyed doing or rather not doing for a change? Do you have a story to share of something neat or even unexpected that has happened to you or a loved one lately–a random act of kindness maybe? I’d love to hear it.