• Bijal Patel

Straight Outta Lockdown – Where Have I Been?

I really miss blogging but it’s nice to write for myself or for you guys without the academic pressure. Blogging whether it’s on a website or social media is like an online journal and over the past few months, I’ve been spilling so much ink into my journal pages without sharing it with the world.

Drake lyrics have been stolen for this post. Don't worry, I asked for his permission.

Coming out of endless lockdowns has changed everyone in our own individual ways and I’ve been too busy to notice how much I’ve done in the past months. So, here’s what I’ve been up to and how I’ve transformed my life (kind of):

1. Less screen time

More walks, podcasts, reading, sleeping, talking to loved ones. I noticed that I turn on my TV less and it’s not intentional, it has naturally happened and I’m not mad about it. I probably get 2 hours of TV screen time a day and it’s so refreshing and I’m much more productive. Slouching around in bed all day and binge watching on Netflix is not the one for me anymore especially when the sun is out – I’d rather be outside. And that’s not to say I don’t watch trash TV or keep up with a Netflix series – I do, just in moderation. Once Love Island finishes at 10pm, it’s lights out and go to sleep or read a book until I fall asleep. Late nights are not it.

Podcasts I've been listening to:

2. Wearing less & going out more

I’d be contradicting that last line because I have had late nights, spending more time with my friends and going on friendship dates has made me appreciate them. We’re so used to complaining about uni or work or boys and forget to just enjoy life. I feel as though we forget how young we are and are so goal/career-focused and are forgetting to have fun. Just pick up a cocktail or 10 every weekend and let go. Don’t worry about the hangovers – deal with them when they come.

3. Working, working, working ain’t ya, you ain’t got no time to lay up

I hated being on furlough and although working in retail isn’t the one, being at work makes me feel more productive. It gives structure to my days and I actually talk to people in my day-to-day life. I started an internship over the summer so working 6 days a week (5 at home and weekends in retail) makes me feel like I’m getting somewhere in life. That post-graduation depression I got in 2020 hit me and a lot of people I know so it’s nice to see myself excelling in my career and actually going somewhere, no matter how long it takes. On the topic of working, I finished all of my modules for uni and only have my master’s dissertation left! Just one smaaaallll stretch left – I lost motivation because I was burnt out after completing my modules but I’m slowly picking myself up again.

4. Reading less

I’m not reading as much as I used to and that’s okay because I’m occupied with doing other things. I don’t want to force myself to read because I won’t enjoy it so when I’m in the mood to pick up a book, I do it. Reading actually takes a lot mentally, it’s not something I can do when I’m stressed or tired, so I don’t pressure myself to read 2 books a month anymore. I’m taking things at my own pace. To help myself with this, I give myself reading options:

· Have a ‘to-be-read’ pile to choose from so you can select a book that you’re in the mood for.

· Have genre selections – non-fiction, fiction, spirituality, fantasy, auto-biography – don’t limit yourself to reading one type of book.

· Try and have a dedicated reading time, mine is usually just before sleeping & if you’re not in the mood to read at that time then don’t force it because you won’t enjoy it.

5. Laugh now, cry later

I’ve been focusing on what I’m doing now rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. I’ve learnt that life is too short to be anxious all the time and enjoying in the moment is more fulfilling. I often get anxious thinking about my future in terms of career, good grades, my non-existent love life but I’m learning to appreciate the now. And you should too. I’ve been researching meditation and it’s a really useful practice to focus on the present. Our minds often wander when we’re really busy and meditation puts your life on pause and allows you to take a break and relax for a moment rather than over-thinking all the time.

Happy reading, speak to you soon x

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