Five things I have learnt in four weeks of lockdown
The UK has now been in lockdown for four weeks. On the 23rd March, Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation to inform us that we were only allowed to leave the house when necessary. These reasons may include going to work if you are a key worker, buying food or medicine, or to exercise (however this is only permitted once a day).
On this day I had planned to visit my boyfriend for what we knew would be the last time in a while, as we had a strong suspicion that this lockdown was imminent. The news was expected, yet still upsetting. This was certainly not how we imagined 2020 to pan out. We had plans to retire from competitive dancing, go on our first holiday and explore who we were as individuals and as a couple.
Although we didn’t get the World Championships, the retirement, the holiday, the theatre trips or the date nights that we had envisioned, I have learnt a lot about myself as an individual and who I wish to be.
1. Skincare is self care
Since the age of 20 I have struggled with poor skin, which came as quite a shock as I was never a particularly spot prone youngster. I have tried, especially for the last two years, to improve my skin through medicines, creams, face washes, increasing my water intake, taking my make up off properly when I sleep and exercising without make up on. Some things worked and some things didn’t but nothing seemed to make them go away completely. I decided that during lockdown I would research and invest in a proper skincare regime. I have used The Ordinary before and they were great - however I have to say Revolution Skincare has got to be the best so far. My skin is now pretty much blemish free and feels smooth to the touch. although the great weather we have been having in the UK and lack of make up and tan on my face will be helping too, I have no doubt! If one thing has come from lockdown, it has been that I seem to have found a skincare brand that, for now at least, works for me! This is obviously wonderful for my skin, but it has helped to improve my confidence astronomically and has increased my willingness to take make-up free selfies and Facetime family and friends without make up on.
2. The 'one day at a time' system
Yesterday, Dominic Raab announced that the UK lockdown will be extended for ‘at least’ another three weeks. This means that in total it will be at least seven weeks without seeing close family members, my boyfriend or my friends. My family, in particular, are very close and I often see my cousins on a weekly basis in our local village pub. Likewise, I am used to seeing my dancing friends four times a week, my boyfriend every weekend and my friends at least once a month (even if that is just for tea or to go to the cinema). I live a sociable life and I thrive when I spend time with those who replenish me emotionally and mentally.
I think if you would have told me four weeks ago how long this was going to go on for, I probably would have spent most of my days in bed, let my business slide and my exercise regime dwindle, or go 180 degrees the other way and worked myself into insanity. Neither is a positive option. Instead, by tackling one day at a time I have been able to keep a slight hold on my mental health and not push myself into either one of these extremes. I currently do roughly 5 or 6 hours a day of work, 2 hours a day of exercise and spend the rest of my time on FaceTime, watching the TV, reading, playing with our puppy Bernie, catching up on sleep and watching Netflix (the Tiger King was my latest binge watch). I have tried to separate the weekdays from the weekends by only drinking alcohol at the weekend (which hasn’t been easy in such beautiful weather), limiting my working hours of a weekend, taking a rest day from exercise and using the weekend to spend more time with my family.
It turns out, when thrown into a worldwide crisis, I am a lot more resilient than I gave myself credit for.
3. Self belief will take you further than you could possibly imagine
I have been reading Girl, Stop Apologising by Rachel Hollis and although I am only near the start, I have noticed things which relate to both myself and my business. I always thought the one thing that would hold my business back would be the fact that I am a perfectionist, my lack of time during the dancing season or the fact that no one would believe in my capabilities - partly because I look about twelve years old. However, it isn’t that my clients or future clients do not believe in my capabilities, but rather, I am more likely to. I am not saying that I don’t believe I know what I talking about, I know I do. I know I am a lot more capable than I often give myself credit for, but I do not give myself or ALN Marketing the opportunity to grow. I am more likely to believe that although I can do it, that others can do things better and henceforth not approach someone who may need help or offer my services. But in actual fact, I probably know more than or at least equal to a lot of other Social Media Managers or VA’s, I have just convinced myself that I don’t.
One thing I am definitely going to take from lockdown is to have a bit more self belief in myself as a business owner and in my marketing capabilities. I have such wonderful feedback from clients but I am always so reluctant to share it with the world and be proud of what I have achieved. From now on, expect a more confident and self assured business owner.
4. What will you be thankful for?
We have all spent a lot of time thinking about what we are missing out on or what we will do when these restrictions are loosened and eventually lifted. Yes, I did say lifted because one day it will come! So I decided to think about all the things that I will look back on and wish I still had. My daily runs with my dad, who normally works away during the week. Our afternoons in the sun with a cocktail in hand reminiscing about our childhood and family holidays. The time spent training Bernie from a curious puppy into a well behaved dog (hopefully!). Weeks on end without stepping foot on a train or a bus. The lack of traffic. Working for the pure reason that I love what I do. One day we will not have all of these little luxuries. But for now we do. Be thankful.
5. Nothing compares to human touch.
But as much as I appreciate all these little things, and no matter how good technology gets, nothing will be able to compare to real human touch. I dream of the days when I can see my family members in real life again, when I can kiss my boyfriend and hug my friends (although I may be so excited I might kiss them as well!). I am thankful that this happened to me in a time when technology can bring us together for the weekly family quiz and Zoom film nights and Group FaceTime’s. I am thankful, but more than ready for a hug.
As we end working week four of the lockdown, I pray you are all keeping safe.
Read. Exercise. Talk. Meditate. Pray.
Do whatever makes the days easy and allows you to rest easy of a night.
Sending you all my love and mountains of positivity.