I have been living back at my family home for a grand total of fourteen weeks now, and I am yet to bake banana bread, run a 5k, or even unpack my bags from university. Some may call this laziness (perhaps), or even denial (quite possible), but I prefer to see it as an act of defiance, resisting the idea cultivated by social media that productivity must look a certain way. Reflecting on the past few months, I undoubtedly could have achieved more, but that’s not something that I am going to dwell on. Here’s a round up of what I have learnt whilst confined to the four walls of my house.

Finding new ways to connect with friends
I challenge you to find someone who hasn’t been roped in to at least one ‘virtual pub quiz’ during lock down. It’s a great way to spend the evening: catching up with friends whilst exposing your lack of general knowledge. Being in lockdown has forced us to explore new ways of connecting virtually with those we do not live with, and it has certainly encouraged me to reach out to those I care about. My friends and I decided to take it in turns to write our own quizzes, with topics ranging from the content of our degrees, to embarrassing stories that we have collected over the past few years. We also dabbled in online Bingo, Pictionary, and, of course, the classic video call. Sadly, I didn’t win any of the quizzes that I took part in (frankly, I didn’t even come close), but it provided me with a refreshing sense of ‘normality’; a nod to student life. 

A growing appreciation of outdoor space
Never has the prospect of going for a walk with your family been more exciting than over the past few months. When you are rationed to one form of outdoor exercise for thirty minutes a day, you really begin to appreciate any and all outdoor space, whether that be a local park, canal path, or even just a sunny spot in the garden. Since the lockdown has been eased and the weather has been getting warmer, the park has been more alive than ever with people and activity. Having a catch up with friends over a picnic or a few drinks, sat on picnic blankets in a once under-appreciated, desolate field, is currently my favourite way to spend an evening, and I have certainly learnt the value of spending time outdoors. 

The revival of old hobbies
Many of those finding themselves with more free time have dedicated hours to learning a new hobby. Discussing this recently over a video call, there is a huge range in the kinds of things that my friends have been partaking in, from woodwork and knitting to learning a new language (which I am sure will come in handy when we are allowed to travel again). It has also been a great time to put more effort into being active, engaging in sports such as running (or, in my case, what could maybe pass as a ‘light jog’) and cycling. It has been particularly rewarding to revive my interest in hobbies that I have not had enough time for over the years, such as artwork and photography, and investing my time in these projects has helped me to grow more comfortable in my own company. The end of lockdown is in sight and I don’t particularly feel as though I have acquired any new skills, but it has been valuable to spend time choosing to do the things that interest me, which we so often miss out on when the rush of day to day life gets to you. 

My lockdown experience has not been full of life changing epiphanies or particularly impressive achievements. The year so far has presented many unique challenges; a mixed bag of some stressful and many dull moments, which I am sure the majority of people will be able to relate to. However, there is a great deal that I am thankful for, and reflecting on the past few months has emphasised to me that this time has not been completely wasted. I hope that I can continue to build upon my new outlook as life eases back into the new normal.

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