5 Powerful Life-Lessons That The Lockdown Taught Me

Asmita Karanje

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I am sure this lockdown has taught us several things ranging from something as small as ‘’how to wash our hands the right way’’ to something more significant like ‘’connecting with our loved ones virtually.’’ Some lessons are tactical or technical like knitting or creating content, but some are deeper and profound like ‘’adapting to change’’ and ‘’valuing relationships over money.’’

Here are my top 5 life-lessons.

Hope you can relate to a few of them and find some useful tips on a few suggestions & recommendations.

#1. Looking inward for happiness

It has to be the topmost life-lesson. With improved lifestyle, cheap international travel, and rampant promotion on social media, ‘’travel’’ had become the mainstay for many people in this millennium. Staying home was rather uncool.

However, the pandemic has helped us to break that cycle. It gave us an avenue to find pleasure in small things, such as learning to bake or connecting with our long-lost friends. It also aided in pursuing our long-lost passion — painting or cooking or taking that Guitar lesson.

Most important of all, staying home has helped me in developing a perspective — to find happiness in what you have and where you are.

Yoga and Meditation have long preached the importance of looking inward.

Let’s be honest — no matter how intellectual it sounds, we never practised it until the lockdown forced us to stay home.

You don’t see the indulgence or extravagance on your social media feed anymore. So you don’t get any FOMO. And there is no pressure to keep up with. It leveled the playing field.

We always wanted this break from the mad race of getting ahead in life.

We are all inside, and we are all cut the same deal.

So make the most of it while we still have time. With the ease in restrictions, this might reverse in no time, and we shall start planning our next travel soon. But don’t forget that Guitar or cooking wholesome meals or playing games with your kids.

#2. Focussed learning can be a game-changer

I am a forever learner. Even after my post-graduation, I have taken numerous certifications to keep myself upskilled with the industry standards. However, with varied interests pulling you in all different directions, it isn’t always easy to dedicate time.

When we went into the lockdown, most organizations invoked BCP — business continuity planning; however, they weren’t prepared for their workforce to be working from home. For my organization, that meant they had to quickly ramp up their resources (VPN, connectivity, network) and strategize on how to enable ‘’work-from-home’’ for all.

So while the leadership bothered with that, I thought to use this downtime to upskill myself. I had subscribed to Skillshare, Coursera, and Shawacademy previously. Now was the perfect time to utilize those subscriptions.

Learning a new skill can be daunting. So, don’t think of the mountain you need to climb. Think of just the first 1km that you want to complete today. I only planned to do one course on the fundamentals of Cloud computing. I am no techie and have no interest to pursue that career path.

However, in my role, I am required to work on a Technology project, for which I need to know the fundamentals of cloud development. It has immensely helped me in following technical conversations and providing the right inputs.

I achieved that through ‘focussed learning’ — taking uninterrupted lessons of 4 hours each for a week.

To learn something new, you need to be focussed and consistent. Being focussed will help you to get into the ‘’flow’’. To reach that state,

  • Dedicate at least 4 hours of uninterrupted time to do that.
  • Create your setting — where you sit, how you view the video — everything matters.
  • Take notes and pause the online courses several times to absorb the information.
  • Another great way of learning faster is to doodle — yes, create a doodle to link several concepts.

#3. Cooking can be therapeutic

Before the pandemic, we (my husband and I) will have at least one meal outside. I am sure this must be true for a million other couples like us who love to eat out and don’t have the time to cook all meals.

However, with the lockdown in place and being homebound, it meant there is no excuse for cooking. Cooking used to be this dreadful task for us but the pandemic has helped us in realizing cooking (all meals) isn’t all that complex if you plan them well. So if you felt the same way, here are a few things we changed in our kitchen.

  • Organize your kitchen to make it your experiment lab. When you have a fully functional kitchen with everything you need, it makes cooking relatively easy.
  • Plan your meals. I create a timetable on what we shall have for that week. It helps me in stocking all the right ingredients — if a few essentials are missing; it takes away the satisfaction quotient from your final product. So it is imperative to have all ingredients before you start cooking.
  • Read the recipe before-hand but do not touch it while cooking, you’ll save time. When you cook faster, you don’t feel it like a task.
  • Experiment — I love to cook something different. I follow @yourfoodlab as I love Indian fusion and @Pickuplimes for easy cooking ideas. Following the right food channels (YouTube or Instagram) will immensely help you discover what suits your palette and lifestyle.

#4. Prioritize health using the Seinfield technique

In all honesty, I was disoriented in the first two weeks of lockdown. Like most others, I was grappling with the newfound reality — working from home without a proper set-up, grocery supplies running out and statistics scared the hell out of me. There were chaos and unrest everywhere.

How do I workout without any access to the Gym? I was exploring the Gyms in the neighbourhood to subscribe. It had only been a month of searching when the lockdown was announced. I was disappointed, but I knew I had to find an alternative.

Oh boy, a million alternatives were waiting for me to embrace them. I had stored many an Instagram & YouTube workout posts. I tried them a couple of days when I got an invite from a friend for a virtual Zumba session on Zoom. I didn’t know how it would be virtually but trust me; it’s’s just the same as a physical class. I have now been doing that for the last month and totally love it.

Similarly, another workout that I discovered is cycling. Fortunately, we live right next to a 20 km long cycling trail. How can you not take advantage of that right? During quarantine, cycling has been a savior. When I am out cycling, I forget everything. While the uphill journey gets my heartbeat up, the beautiful sunset and light wind help relax my mind.

Lastly, with umpteen apps offering free workouts during this period, I also took advantage of one such app @Down dog to learn Yoga. I have never done Yoga regularly before except a few classes through Classpass a month prior. I cast the app on my full-screen TV, dim the lights and turn on the heater to create the ‘Hot Flow Yoga’ experience. I loved the ease of use and customization within the app that provides a complete workout experience.

All three combined — Zumba(Live Virtual session), Cycling(Outdoors), and Yoga (App based) have helped me immensely in building a workout regime that is sustainable, suits my needs, and costs very little.

It wouldn’t have been possible without the pandemic as I would have drifted to a gym subscription, as I mentioned earlier, I was scouring the market to find a Gym/Yoga class. Thanks to the lockdown, it gave me a chance to have a more enjoyable workout routine.

What kept me going was this technique which I learned a few months ago — the Seinfield’s technique. You simply maintain a calendar and track your activities on that calendar. You can check the day you worked out. It has immensely helped me in being consistent and pushing me to achieve the goal. You also get such calendar magnets in Ikea or Officeworks.

#5. Introspect to understand what’s truly essential

Nothing is permanent — our goals, the society, or our notions about society. Everything is fluid. What is true today might not be in a few months or years. Don’t hold on to your ideas. Be adaptive. Learn and evolve with the changing environment.

Have a little fun. Life is too short to waste it on seriousness. I got some time to reflect on the past. I missed out on the travel, which I had planned with my sister due to the pandemic. However, what helped me to overcome was memories from my previous trips.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reminiscing the photos from my New Zeland trip and posting on Instagram — something as simple as that I never got to do because I was often on the run.

Introspecting is powerful when done right. It helps in finding the real ‘’You.’’

You are unique in your thoughts, values, and life experiences. Unlock your uniqueness to discover your strengths. I know the happiest moments of my life when I was carefree and mesmerized. I want to relive them. I want to work toward that moment. It can be anything — the joy of the extended supine stretch in Yoga or serving a wholesome meal to your family or walking on snow for the first time.

Think of the best moments of your life. It could be significant life events like marriage or childbirth, but it could also be those little moments like that walk on the beach gazing at the stars or the moment when you laugh so hard that tears roll down your cheeks.

Cherish them but also think about how you can relive them.

Summary

We all deserved a much-needed break from our lives. We had no time to pause and unwind. We were running at a hundred miles per hour. The pandemic allowed us to look inward to find happiness — pursuing old hobbies or creating funny videos to connect with the world.

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Thinker, self-experimenter, and a newbie writer. I write about personal growth, socio-political issues, and career advice.

Dallas, TX
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