With restrictions starting to lift after months of lockdown in the fight against COVID-19, I realise that I haven’t been in lockdown at all. In fact, I’ve been so busy with freelance work and volunteer commitments – all from the comfort of my home office – I can honestly say I haven’t been affected in any significant way.

While others have struggled and experienced loss in unimaginable ways, it has been mostly business as usual for me. I’ve been editing a fantastic fiction manuscript and keeping up with Toastmasters commitments, and other than going outside for a walk, most everything has been online.

That’s where I found several lists in various media about people’s experiences before, during and after lockdown, all of which got me thinking about how I’ve made lockdown work for me.

  • Exercise – I have been using areas in my house to get a bit of extra exercise – going up and down stairs more often, using those stairs for stretching and strength building, dancing to and from the kitchen for a break and for coffee – and I make sure to take the long way round to the shops and the park whenever I go outside.
  • Desk – my standing desk is also a form of exercise, in a way. It allows me to dance and stretch and act out whatever I’m editing and writing, is easier for moving around, makes sure I don’t stand still at all, let alone for any length of time, and encourages me to take a break whenever I need it.
  • Hair – a few years back, to save money and make my hair easier to maintain, I embraced my natural colour, cut it short, and learned to style it myself. While that means no lockdown hair for me, it also means I won’t be making an appointment at Vain Hair Studios anytime soon, although maybe some of you will? They are great!
  • Coffee – as a freelancer, I love coffee houses – the perfect opportunity to indulge in a flat white, work in the company of others, and support my favourite local spots. I now appreciate the value of homemade coffee, but I still don’t think I’ll stay away from Thom Bargen, Café Postal, High Tea Bakery or Miss Browns for too long.
  • Food – fortunately my partner loves to cook and is very good at it. Better still, he loves to shop (blah!) and try out new recipes. So, that means not only is there just one of us out there clogging up grocery store aisles when absolutely necessary, but also plenty of delicious treats and eats on the menu right here at home.
  • Work – my work is always changing in one way or another, but lockdown has convinced me there are some things I want and need to do differently. Exactly where that will take me remains to be seen, but suffice to say it will involve a lot – and I mean A LOT – of writing.
  • TV – I don’t generally have time to sit and watch TV, but because I’m doing more writing now, when I do have the time, I watch films and shows in a completely different way. In fact, I’ve come to appreciate my TV as a colleague of sorts, offering lots of advice, support, encouragement and ideas, all at the touch of a button.
  • Essentials – it was difficult at first to not go out, attend, participate in and celebrate events and activities as usual, but I’ve realised that many of the things I was doing weren’t quite as essential as I thought they were. And while I will support the arts and businesses as much as possible, I’m also content to focus on other things for a while.
  • Miscellanea – for various reasons, I’ve been using lockdown to do and start some unexpected and long-overdue things – writing with my left hand, sewing, spring cleaning, reaching out to others, practising kindness, cutting back on social media, playing the piano, blogging, and spending time updating my website. Gosh, that all feels so good!
  • Online – given I spend most of my day at the computer, I’m surprised I haven’t used video and audio conferencing before now. I do enjoy in-person meetings, but I’ve been able to attend them online – up to 7 a week – without leaving home. And that has inspired me to reach out and connect with my family more often and in new ways.

And that’s how I’ve been making lockdown and beyond work for me. With restrictions gradually being lifted, I completely understand why businesses want and need to open up again. And because there are already many people who need and want to support those businesses, I am content to stay put for a while longer as we navigate this strange new world. I will get back out there eventually, but I have a job to do here first, a business that needs my full attention. And if lockdown has taught me anything, it’s that patience is a virtue that will benefit everyone in the long run.