The lockdown is over and things are starting to slowly relax back into a ‘normal’ way of life. We’ve taken our first tentative steps back to a bit of normality with a few visits to shops, garden centres and parks, plus the girls are back at nursery – although I wonder, will life truly be the same again? I’m sure when everyone wrote our new years resolutions back in January we never could have predicted that the entire 2020 would be taken over by a global pandemic, it turned out life for everyone around the globe was about to change in a big way.
When the lockdown first started, I was fraught with anxiety. I genuinely feared for our lives and of those around us. I’m not sure I could have cleaned and scrubbed the door handles and light switches any further or they’d have been washed away. It was stressful to say the least. But as the weeks went on (although obviously the worry of coronavirus is still very real and this isn’t to belittle the severity of everything going on), I learned to live with our new pace of life and I’m shocked to even say this – I even started to enjoy it.
I’ve learned to enjoy a slower pace of life
Ok, lockdown with toddlers isn’t exactly a slow pace of life, but we certainly got used to our new rhythm at home. If we still weren’t up and dressed at 11am, it wasn’t a problem, we’d just potter around and do what felt right for us at the time. The girls loved playing in the garden, watching plants and veggies grow and just spending lots of time together. We also watched a LOT of TV, Disney+ and the new Trolls movie have been our saviour, and that’s totally okay. In the evenings I started to give myself time out to play on my Nintendo Switch or watch trashy movies and TV box sets too. We also bought a hot tub which I use every night before bed – pure bliss!
No pressure to do things socially
This has been the biggest change for me. I realised how stressful I’d been finding certain social situations before lockdown. It’s not until that pressure was removed I realised how much stress and anxiety large social events can cause me. Suddenly with my diary clear, it felt like a weight off my shoulders. I haven’t missed parties, gatherings, events or noisy bars in the slightest, in fact the thought of it now fills me with dread. I’ve learned I much prefer a quieter life, give me a nice meal out with a friend any night, but a party – no thank you.
Kindness and community
Before lockdown I only knew a couple of my neighbours, but now I know mostly everyone in our street. We have a community Whatsapp group where we’ve been trading free stuff, shopping for those in isolation, helping each other and getting to know one another. I’ve learned a lot about the importance of our community and want to do more to change the local village where we live to be a better place. I have also made a conscious effort to call and text those around me more often, I’ve sent a surprise bunch of flowers and made a monthly photobook for my Nan which has brought a smile to her face every time it arrived! People have also been so kind to us – our neighbours have been getting us oat milk for Pearl and helping us pump up our tyres and even rescue a frog hopping around our garage!
Learned to bake bread
My new lockdown hobby is baking bread – I’ve really enjoyed learning to create loaves of bread starting from the very basics of soda bread and working my way up to growing and nurturing a sourdough starter. There is something really relaxing about baking bread, it’s more than just baking – I find kneading and watching the dough shape and form is so therapeutic. Watching it rise and proof is so rewarding too. It’s like magic! Plus, eating freshly cooked bread from the oven first thing on a Saturday morning is just heavenly. This will be a hobby that stays with me long term, I make a couple of loaves of sourdough a week and want to try sourdough pizza bases next!
We all know that trying to order food shopping during lockdown was a full-time job. I did everything to secure my slot, from staying up until midnight to checking the apps 50 times a day, but sometimes that just didn’t guarantee a slot. This was the push I needed to discover some of the local shops around me and to support our local high street instead. We’ve had brilliant food deliveries from local greengrocers, DIY bits from our homeware shop and even a local pick-and-mix delivery (priorities!). It’s made me realise I need to step away from the big supermarkets a bit more and support our local high street, it always feels so much better to shop small.
More tolerant as a parent
Before the lockdown, a couple of days stuck at home would have me tearing my hair out! If someone would have told me I’d manage 12 weeks solidly of staying at home with the girls I would have cried….. but we did it! Sure, there have been some highs and lows, but we all made it and we’ve had some brilliant times too! I look back fondly over all the lovely activities we’ve done, from hot days playing in the paddling pool to drizzly days splashing in the muddy puddles and everything in between. The girls have grown and changed so much – I feel privileged to have had a front-row seat in watching them develop during this time.
Enjoy the little moments
The girls have run me ragged and they’ve been hard work, but being there for them 24/7 has been the thing that’s got me through when times get rough. One smile or a cuddle and all the stress of the world is forgotten. They’ve been such fun to be around, I couldn’t ask for sweeter companions and overall as a family we have just got closer. I don’t plan to rush back to the fast-paced stress of life as it was before, I’m happy just as we are.
How has your lockdown been? Has it changed you?
Photo credit: Nicola Jackson Photography