This pandemic has turned our lives upside down and although we hope to return to some version of normality later in the year, it is quite possible, even probably, that nothing will ever be the same again.
Whilst this thought may horrify many. If we take a step back and really look at our existence right now, there will by some surprising ways lockdown has changed our lives…for the better…
Forgive me for trying to find some positives amidst this crazy.
Here’s MY top 5 surprising benefits of lockdown.
Food has always been important to me. Every day I try to cook from scratch and get my family to sit down for a meal together. However, when life is in full swing it’s often less about enjoyment and more about shovelling quick food into children that are on the verge of a meltdown after one too many school clubs.
Since lockdown (apart from Alex who’s still working 16-hour days – more on that here), the children and I have not only managed to eat regularly together, but also prepare our food together. We’ve experimented with different recipes and made do with strange items found at the back of larder cupboard. We’ve even grown lettuce!!
After a salad was recommended by a friend (thanks Mandy), our daughter painstakingly fried a whole batch of courgettes, declaring that she liked this vegetable for the first time.
Our son got familiar with my herb garden and is now very good at concocting salad dressings. And I’ve never been so excited to find a sourdough bread starter I’d forgotten about in the freezer.
I’ve always tried to teach them to cook, but these last few weeks have given us the time to truly achieve and appreciate this!
NB/ We’re still enjoying the odd takeaway to support our favourite locals – Dosa Park and Lulu’s Ethiopian.
2. To HELL with Appearances
I’m still in my pyjamas at midday but nobody notices. I wake up with a spot on my face and haven’t washed my hair since last Friday, who cares? No one’s seeing me, and I love this. We’re spending less money on unnecessary clothes items and wearing whatever we fancy. Today we’re superhero’s tomorrow gymnasts and ballerinas.
So, the children want to dye their hair purple – let’s go for it. We’re adorned with temporary tattoos and brightly coloured nail polish. Even Alex is getting into the spirit, taking the occasional conference call with only his top half dressed. Don’t tell anyone. It feels liberating to care so little about our appearance.
Though we’ll need to get the children’s feet measured soon. Inconveniently they won’t stop growing! At least it’s almost Summer and we can go barefoot.
Nature seems to be flourishing and we can’t help noticing. During my early morning exercise through the Lye Valley I stumble into very relaxed Muntjac deer. As I run alongside Oxford’s blossoming canals the birds are in abundance. The exercise that used to be a chore is now the highlight of my day.
In the garden the children stop to examine caterpillars crawling along our paving stones and we let out large bumblebee’s who have accidentally flown in through our wide-open windows. Bird watching has become a favourite kitchen pastime as we enjoy a long leisurely breakfast.
These are the simple joys of nature in our home and close surrounding area. I can only imagine what’s going on in other countries similarly in lockdown. Apparently, Indians can see the Himalayas through the once smog filled sky for the first time in decades. Knowing we’re all using the car less and unable to fly makes me feel positive about global warming and the impact we can have on the world if we try.
Yes, being locked down with your nearest and dearest is enough to drive anyone insane. And yes, there has been some tension and shouting, plus the children have systematically destroyed our house. But there have been many moments of beauty and creativity.
We’ve made soap, slime, other scientific experiments including potions in the garden. We’ve read numerous books, completed all the jigsaws, dug out board games we’d forgotten about, and danced round the kitchen like no one’s watching.
We’ve become a good team, where we practice compassion. We notice that something needs doing around the house, or someone needs to be heard or given a cuddle. In fact, through the chaos we’ve become attuned to one another. I feel a bond that I have never had before, and that bond comes from really getting to know someone. My daughter and I will often say the same thing at the same time, it’s like we’ve formed a telepathic communication.
Yes, I still occasionally want to kill them. But we’re finding our groove with each other. Despite the age gap (9 and 4), they are developing games that they happily play together and will disappear upstairs to build a den. It’s warming my heart.
Finally, and probably most significantly, the solidarity developing in the community is magical. We’re reverting to how it used to be before our lives became too busy. There are WhatsApp groups for each road to keep an eye on vulnerable or sick people. Community members pick up food and supplies for each other from the shops. People are offered online emotional support if they’re on their own. Nobody goes without.
We’re becoming a self-care community again. One that speaks and connects with each other and finds solutions to everyday problems.
I’m proud of us all!
And on a bigger scale I see the Holistic community coming together with the Conventional. After all, we’re all in the same boat. We can look back into time and history to see what worked before. But now it’s all trial and error. Research from scratch. Keeping an open mind when looking for a solution.
The Conventional community (like my husband Dr Alex Mentzer) are researching hard to find a workable cure for the very sick; those in dying in hospital. They are also busy developing a vaccine so we can prevent this from recurring in the future.
The Holistic community are also doing their research to help support and protect workers on the front line. Everyone is aware that this virus attacks the vulnerable. In this way it’s about supporting the body and its vital immune system. The more resilient we are the better we can cope (more on this very soon).
And you at home realise this too! Sales of vitamin supplements have soared, and everyone is focusing on keeping their mind, body and spirit healthy with good food, plenty of sleep, exercise and conscious ways to help reduce anxiety.
We are UNITING – Synergy at its best!
Our dream is coming true, and I’m alive to witness it.
So, it is with hope, that I look forward to the future. To continue to appreciate the small things in life; the ‘micro pleasures’. Like insects populating the garden, the smell of a BBQ, friendships and community spirit, children’s laughter as they finally find a game they enjoy playing together.
In the months to come, as we slowly return to normality, I’m hoping we won’t forget some of the valuable lessons we’ve learned.
Together we can get through this. Stay well.
We need to find some positivity amidst this chaos. Have you experienced any surprising benefits of lockdown?