It was in a virtual therapy session during the midst of my covid-19 lockdown that my therapist said ‘if it doesn’t make you happy then why are you worrying or even giving it space?’ I then then said ‘Sorry Kondo’ and she replied ‘exactly my point’ perhaps she didn’t want me to accuse her of copyright. The point, however, of her analysis was that if you look at the context of the worries – 9/10 they are caused by situations you could avoid. Forcing yourself to go out with people you do not want to go out with or perhaps worrying or consuming your mind with past events that should not be causing you worry now but somehow do. So, my point for you is this- why can we Kondo our kitchens, bedrooms or garages yet own lives we forget about and just put up with people or situations who do not spark joy? I think, a silver lining to this entire situation we’re living in during the time I write this of May- we should look into what actually brings us joy so when we return to our form of ‘normal’ we return to a fulfilling life.
Society is currently desperate to return some form of normality whether that be the commutes, their families or their Friday nights at the pub but perhaps this entire COVID-19 way of living may give us a new lease of life that Kondo would be pleased to hear about because it finally sparks some form of joy to our lives. A report published by The Guardian illustrated to us all, how one silver lining of the pandemic is that some of us are now finding new ways of ‘socialising’ in the comfort of their homes without consuming too much energy. Up to now, we’ve all been fully aware of the tools such as Facetime or even Zoom but had never taken advantage of these tools until now because they’re trendy like tie-dye or baking. A virtual quiz, why has this not been a thing? Virtual communication is definitely not the same as spending 1-1 face-face time but it does give that form of socialisation that most of us with chronic illness miss during relapses or our lowest times. A new found love of walking or cycling- now when I’m at my lowest in terms of physical health- I can’t think of anything worse than exercising but during my milder days a walk or some fresh air can be really beneficial to my mental space. It might just be me, but I find that when my mental state is clear or in a good place- my entire approach to dealing with the physical impacts is much better. Prior to now, society had been fixated on gym life- whether it be bulking weights or gym classes. I know, this because when I’m at the peak of B12 and mild symptoms I love the gym and do not take advantage of the outside space around me. I live 5 minutes away from the sea, vast amounts of greenery and yet have I taken advantage of these locations? No, never. Only if it’s a Christmas or Bank Holiday that sees the gym shut. There has been such an emphasis on the level of sweat or even endurance we put into a workout but perhaps we’re seeing that just being semi active and getting regular steps into our day is as – beneficial as spending 40 minutes in a hot, crammed and sweaty gym. I do believe, however that the reason for our sudden love of our outdoor activity is because we can do these but also because the weather has been amazing. We’ve had sun, warmth, clear skies but most importantly no rain. A possible silver lining to lockdown, perhaps had this been during the Winter it would’ve been much harder to find comfort in a gentle stroll.
As you know, I’ve been keen to detox from social media and done this through reducing time spent on social media. It’s been difficult, whilst working from home and being around comforts all week and day without day-day distractions. During lockdown, I set 1 hour restrictions on each social media application to prevent over doing and finding myself indulging into toxic habits. In the beginning, I got deeply frustrated with my friends lists commenting on others’ activities whether they were exercising too much or going to, too many supermarkets. I believe these were the individuals also part of the double standard culture of criticising others whilst partaking in the odd family visit. This toxic nature of social will never depart even during a Global pandemic- but what it has done is bought together many new relations and units that never thought of it. I’ve seen more and more fitness instructors or traditional fitness classes now being done through Zoom or lives via social media. These are wonderful and something I question why we’ve never done before. A yoga class or even a Bollywood dance class that I partake in, doesn’t necessarily require you or I to be a part of it face-face so why are we forcing ourselves to be around people when we’re not necessarily wanting to be when this wasn’t normal? I hope this can show fitness professionals a new way of teaching and a new way for people to indulge in exercise and fitness who perhaps find the gym intimidating or who find an exercise class to be quite nerve wracking.
Now, I’m not going to lie to you and say lockdown has been wonderful because this would be a lie. It’s been challenging being away from friends, family and normality. I like routine because it gives me a sense of control and currently, everything feels very out of my control. We all should, however, find some form of silver lining or even the new joy in these strange times. The times we’re living amongst currently, could perhaps spark some new joy into our lives that was missing before a Global pandemic hit us. I want to see zooming and facetiming becoming part of our lives more in the coming months as lockdown eases since; we all know that chronic illness lockdown does not have an end date for when restrictions will end.
Time for gratitude and one that sparks joy.