Lockdown has brought a multitude of challenges for all of us, and perhaps the most significant one is all the extra time stuck in the house. Whilst it’s easy to become overwhelmed and frustrated, many of us have found outlets in new hobbies, or in the revisiting of old ones. Whether it is spending time out of doors, or just making the time indoors more interesting, the small joys of everyday life have become more important than ever before. Here are four experiences of small enjoyments from our contributors. 

Experiencing ‘The Outdoor City’:
by Jessica Forsyth

I’ve found that despite the lack of travel and social interaction lockdown brings with it, a small pleasure I have been able to indulge in is walking. Walking outside in the fresh air allows me to become much more in tune with myself, as well as giving me the opportunity to take a step back from work and anything that might be stressful. Throughout lockdown it has been incredibly easy to allow yourself to stay inside (or even to stay in bed) all day without experiencing how beautiful the crisp autumn air is. 

I recently visited Greno Wood, an ancient wood within Sheffield that is full of pine and oak trees and after being inside all day, the walk really invigorated and inspired me. Getting outside and into nature has helped me to keep optimistic and motivated, saving me from an overwhelming slump. For a while, the chilly breeze and warm colours provide a distraction from any anxieties cropping up throughout this second lockdown. 

Some places I definitely recommend are: the Botanical Gardens, for somewhere with a huge variety of fauna and flora; Greno Woods, if you like to walk through ancient woodland; and Ecclesall Woods, for somewhere that feels like you are in the middle of nowhere. Getting out and into nature has improved my quality of life over lockdown and I hope this inspires you to get out in Sheffield, ‘The Outdoor City.’

Greno Woods. Photo courtesy of Jessica Forsyth.

 

Baking the best of a bad situation
by Liv Taylor:

I’ve found that despite the lack of travel and social interaction lockdown brings with it, a small pleasure I have been able to indulge in is walking. Walking outside in the fresh air allows me to become much more in tune with myself, as well as giving me the opportunity to take a step back from work and anything that might be stressful. Throughout lockdown it has been incredibly easy to allow yourself to stay inside (or even to stay in bed) all day without experiencing how beautiful the crisp autumn air is. 

I recently visited Greno Wood, an ancient wood within Sheffield that is full of pine and oak trees and after being inside all day, the walk really invigorated and inspired me. Getting outside and into nature has helped me to keep optimistic and motivated, saving me from an overwhelming slump. For a while, the chilly breeze and warm colours provide a distraction from any anxieties cropping up throughout this second lockdown. 

Some places I definitely recommend are: the Botanical Gardens, for somewhere with a huge variety of fauna and flora; Greno Woods, if you like to walk through ancient woodland; and Ecclesall Woods, for somewhere that feels like you are in the middle of nowhere. Getting out and into nature has improved my quality of life over lockdown and I hope this inspires you to get out in Sheffield, ‘The Outdoor City.’

The author’s homemade lemon and blueberry cheesecake. Photo provided by Liv Taylor.

 

Making the lockdown blues ‘jog on’:
by Matthew Barnes:

2020 will be regarded as one of the most momentous years in the history of humanity. How are you keeping sane during these crazy times, I hear you ask? My answer is very simple.

At the start of the first lockdown back in March, I decided to start running – something which I hoped would keep my mind and body occupied. I was initially sceptical about how long I could sustain the new-found hobby; it seemed like a monumental challenge as a beginner. However, after eight enjoyable months of running, I’m still at it, and I’m still loving it.

Since moving to Sheffield to study at the university, I have carried on with regular running, usually getting myself out every couple of days. Luckily for me, there are so many spectacular running routes all around Sheffield, from the picturesque Botanical Gardens to the delightful Weston Park. My personal favourite is Endcliffe Park, but perhaps I’m a little biased due to living just up the road from it.

I cannot recommend anything else that will change you for the better, and keep you focused and clear-headed, even when the world around you turns upside down, and becomes overwhelming. Running was the answer for me, and it might just be for you too. 

If you’re considering starting, then my best advice is just to get out and give it a go. You can start simply by easing yourself in with a combination of walks and runs. Once you feel ready, try gradually increasing your distance and time at a comfortable rate; the key is not to put too much pressure on yourself. I started this way, and although it was tough at times, the endless and joyful benefits that can be gained from the activity kept me going. 

The power of regular running is incredible – it has genuinely given me a new lease of life. With all this time at home, there really hasn’t been a better time to start running. All you have to do is try it, and trust me – you won’t regret it for one minute.

Photo courtesy of Matthew Barnes.

 

Using lockdown as an opportunity to listen back:
by Charlie Ridler

The internet has furthered a musical obsession with the here and now. Via instant news and trends, we are always on the lookout for that new band, album or single. Yet alongside this is a huge archive of musical history, accessible on demand for free.

During lockdown, I’ve been putting it to use by re-listening to music that I used to be unable to get out of my head.

Indie was a force to be reckoned with in the late 2000s and early 2010s. For many teenage fans, it was an important part of adolescent identity-shaping. Listening to the frustrated yelps of Bloc Party or the endearingly awkward dance-rock mix of Does It Offend You, Yeah? awoke memories of walking hurriedly down school corridors with other uniformed kids, wondering how to set myself apart. Seeing the irony that this made most indie-kids identical now puts a smile on my face.

Bombay Bicycle Club remains dear to me because their first four releases span the rough period between the forming of my first proper musical opinions and my first attendance at Reading Festival. There, a 16-year-old me was bombarded with sets from, among others, Queens of the Stone Age, Disclosure, Jungle, and Metronomy.

Then I went back to music I inherited from my parents. I can recall being driven around with home-made CDs blaring through car speakers. The White Stripes, Norah Jones, and Billy Bragg tracks were ripped from vinyl records, converted to digital format on a USB turntable we had bought for Christmas. Thin sound quality and background crackle haunt their Spotify counterparts.

Music’s relationship with memory is strong enough to treat amnesia, according to researchers from the University of Newcastle in Australia. It can become part of your identity. This makes it a good way to reflect on how your identity has changed. The prevalence of nostalgia has increased in popular culture and in many ways lockdowns are the climax of this trend. Whereas previously we were nostalgic for lost decades, now we are nostalgic for lost months.

If the past is currently all we have, what better time to explore it?

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