If in the past few weeks you have been isolating, social distancing and are fighting boredom in the comfort of your home, you are probably not feeling too full of hope. I have some good news for you. There have been a lot of positive changes. I have been in voluntary isolation for a couple of weeks, before the lockdown was enforced by the UK authorities. Sadly, my family in the north of Italy has been in full lockdown for the past month, so I feel like I am a veteran on the subject, having lived through the situation through them from a distance for the past month.
Here is the good news:
The overall level of pollution is decreasing. I notice it here in West London. I can enjoy the tranquillity that comes from the lack of planes heading to Heathrow. Satellite images from NASA of China show a significant decrease of smog. The water in the Venice canal has never been so clear for the past decade (no cruises on the horizon either). The world is breathing. This shall lead us all to rethink about our sustainability habits. And just because Amazon and other retailers are still delivering, we shouldn’t go crazy on shopping online from the sofa.
Here are a few good learnings and ideas I would like to share:
Use this time to reflect. What you enjoy about your ‘previous normal life’, what you are desperate to go back to, what doesn’t matter.
Ration your loo roll. The western world uses a lot of loo paper. Next time you reach for the roll, pay attention to the number of sheets you would normally reach for, and try to half that amount. You will cut on paper waste and save a few pennies.
Review your wardrobe. In a Marie Kondo’s style, get rid of all these clothes you never wear. Life is too short to keep unloved stuff. We are all guilty of this. Those jeans are not going to go back in fashion and the battered T-shirts that you are keeping to paint the fence…you only need one. Start a pile now, set aside the items that you can donate and pop to your charity shop when we are no longer quarantined.
Spring clean early. No explanation needed. When you do it, think about those in need and set aside things that someone else might need and want. Put an alert on Next Door or Freecycle.
It is wonderful to see people’s gratitude when they get something that they need for free.
Look at your beauty cabinet. Finish your beauty products and take note of what you need and want to refill. Same applies to toothpaste, hair products, soaps, shower gels. This is the time to finish all those Christmas presents we received through the years.
Plan your grocery shop carefully. Ask your neighbours if you can consolidate your list and get one slot – if you are lucky to get one – instead of three or more. Write a list, go through your cupboard, buy in bulk when it makes sense and to purchase from local shops and supplier to the restaurants. They are not stocking the restaurants but have the logistics and the supply chain in place, so many of them are happy to deliver to families.
Use this time to reflect.
Use this time to reset.
Use this time to plan for good change.
Don’t forget to stretch and move your body. Nobody is watching you.
Try something new. Listen to a lecture, watch a good TED talk. Here is one from Artscapes at Home that I thoroughly enjoyed and is very relevant for this time:
And don’t wait for the lockdown to be over. Start that change now.