As we near an entire twelve months under restrictions, I have reflected on five lessons learned from lockdown. Some lessons have been forced upon me, and others I have learned by reflecting upon my personal pandemic experience. The following list is by no means exhaustive, but I hope it can provide some level of comfort to readers that we truly are in this together.
1. Put on your own mask first
During the pre-flight safety announcement, the captain will always tell passengers to put on their own oxygen masks before assisting anyone else. The reason? So that your body can function normally. The same concept applies in life, as self-care is so important. Many people can get so involved in caring for others, they forget to look after themselves. This can have detrimental effects on your own wellbeing, as well as the quality of assistance you can provide for others.
2. Control the controllables
We have a tendency to waste valuable time and energy worrying about events and circumstances we have no power to change. Focus instead on the elements of your life you have control over: for example, your diet, sleep schedule and exercise levels. Ensure you drink plenty of water, and avoid excessive caffeine intake.
3. Make time for others
Before the pandemic, I was guilty of not checking in often enough on my friends and family. Within a busy schedule, it is often too easy to shelve a planned phone call or text. Ensure you keep in touch regularly with those closest to you - even just a quick "how are you doing?" may make an enormous difference to their day.
4. Be kind
The past year has emphasised the importance of kindness. Whilst it might be a cliché, "do as you would be done by" rings truer than ever right now. Whatever our personal circumstances, the world needs more kindness, possibly more than it ever has done before. Whilst it might be difficult behind a mask, a smile or a small greeting to a stranger may have
5. People make the world go round
Even in the darkest times, people are incredible. Over the past year there have been numerous examples of individuals doing their best to make a difference, often for a cause greater than themselves. One only need to look at the late Sir Captain Tom, who managed to raise over £30m for the NHS by walking laps of his garden. An incredible contribution from an incredible man.