As we find ourselves in the midst of a second full lockdown here in the UK, Instagram is rife with home workouts, banana bread and reminders to ‘use our time wisely’ during these four-week restrictions.
While I truly take my hat off to the people who used the first lockdown to get into fitness or learn a new skill worthy of Instagram bragging rights, it’s unproductive to believe that everyone is capable using their time in such a way, when for some, just getting out of bed during difficult times is hard enough.
Of course, it’s human nature for us to compare ourselves to the glamorous lives portrayed on Instagram, but in a climate where people are losing jobs and loved ones – and mental health problems are at an all-time high – sometimes just surviving really is the greatest achievement.
So, while us ‘non-productive’ folk embark on another month of comparing ourselves with the completely unattainable, these are the small victories that we should be celebrating, because we bloody deserve a pat on the back.
First up – you remembered to brush teeth before noon:
Whether you’re the type of person to roll straight out of bed minutes before opening your laptop to work from home, or you’re unable to work at the moment and so mornings are now spent lying in bed watching Holly and Phil on This Morning, there’s something about lockdown that makes even the most hygienic among us forget to do basic tasks like brushing our teeth.
I can probably count on both hands the number of times I’ve remembered to brush my teeth before my WFH shift, rather than on my lunch break instead. So, if you’re one of the few who hygiene kings or queens, you have my utmost respect. Collect 10 lockdown points and move on.
Likewise, you had a shower/brushed your hair/washed your face:
Look, I know there’s some people who will be wrinkling their nose and thinking, how on Earth does anyone forget to hop in the shower in the morning, but when your day consists of moving from the bed, to the dining table, to the couch – it kind of makes you think, ‘what is the point?’
I don’t have a single friend who can say they haven’t skipped a hair-washing day, so I can say with some confidence that we’ve all been there. In fact, most of us would probably say it is the biggest perk of being able to work from home entirely. But, with this being the ‘new normal’ that everyone keeps banging on about, these basic tasks now come with a new sense of achievement, and it feels bloody fantastic.
You completed a series on Netflix (or any other streaming service):
There’s no getting away from the fact that *virtually* all of us are watching more TV than ever before, and with more time slumped on the couch instead of at the pub with your mates, you can finally get round to binge-watching that show you’ve been meaning to watch for ages. Under any other circumstances, people see watching loads of TV as a bad thing. I mean, we’ve all got that friend/colleague/housemate who makes you feel like watching Netflix is a waste of time when we could be reading intellectual books and listening to Radio 4.
But thanks to lockdown, you have a God-given right to watch as much – or as little – TV as you want! Hurray for lockdown series-bingeing! If you finally got round to seeing what all the Breaking Bad fuss was about, or you’re knee-deep in true crime documentaries, good for you. Nobody, and I mean nobody, can make you feel bad about it.
You spent time away from your phone:
On the flipside, the vast majority of us have found ourselves setting new records when it comes to how much of our day is spent mindlessly scrolling on our phones. And when you take a second to realise what you’re doing, it can be difficult to actually put them down.
But, while I stand by celebrating your mammoth 24-hour long Netflix-binge, I’m also a huge advocate of stepping away from social media from time to time, because, you know, how many more banana breads can we actually scroll past on Instagram before wanting to throw our phones out the window?!
If you’ve managed to actively put your phone down at any point in the day, whether it’s to read a book, listen to a podcast or the radio, or just to enjoy a cuppa while staring at the pattern on your wallpaper, then well done you. You’ve just earned some serious lockdown points.
You turned off the news when it made you feel bad:
Obviously, to some degree we need to be up-to-date with what’s going on in the world at the moment, primarily so we’re aware of what we are and aren’t allowed to do under current restrictions. But while the old saying is ‘knowledge is power’, knowing when you’ve heard enough and turning off the constant flow of negative news for the sake of your mental health is, in my humble opinion, far more powerful.
For real. Limiting your news intake for your own sanity is a God-given skill and I salute you.
You’ve put on weight, but you don’t feel guilty about it:
I mean, unless you’re one of the lockdown fitness gurus, we’ve all put on weight. The gyms are shut, we’re moving less and spending more time inside than ever before. But, the key is not to feel guilty about it. We are quite literally in the middle of a pandemic, and if the odd takeaway or a crisp-binge makes you feel even slightly better, then you deserve it.
If you’ve been able to look past the extra tight jeans (I mean, who needs to wear jeans right now, anyway?!) and forgive yourself for the extra pounds, then bravo. That seriously is a victory worth celebrating. In fact, I think you’ve earned yourself some fish and chips at the weekend.
Seriously. You haven’t ‘failed’ lockdown if you haven’t completed a fitness challenge, launched a new business or gained 10,000 Instagram followers. If you’ve achieved even one of these lockdown victories then you deserve a pat on the back. Proud of you.
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