It’s not all yoga and banana bread. Since life shut down and routine went out the window, I’ve found it far too easy to pick up bad habits that I wouldn’t be able to get away with if I were still at university. Although I hope that I can get back to my life before lockdown as soon as possible, I still have to learn to forgive myself for daily failures and track down my missing motivation.
I haven’t been going to gym classes on Zoom led by bright-eyes instructors. I haven’t been running 5k every morning. I haven’t been learning a new language (I should be learning languages. I’m doing a French & Spanish degree. Please don’t ask me about it). I sleep late, and my day doesn’t often start until noon and I binged all of It’s Always Sunny in an unholy period of time. It might not be good enough for Instagram, but it’s good enough for me.
Inspiration is a tricky thing to nail down. It comes and goes when it pleases, and we have to rush to catch up with it. Since March, inspiration has evaded me, and with it, the motivation to take on any new projects or hobbies. The best piece of advice I can offer is to not worry about doing things perfectly. I try my best to write every day – it might not be up to my usual standards, but it keeps me in practice. Perfectionism in quarantine is next to impossible, we can only try to keep creating despite the difficulties.
Social media, in the way it always can be, has been a curse. That famous tweet announcing that if you don’t come out of lockdown with new skills, projects and knowledge then ‘you don’t lack time, you lack discipline’ provokes sighs and eye rolls every time it crosses my path. Yes, everyone on Instagram may brag about their marathon training and new businesses, but the less attractive reality of lockdown is that most of us have to work hard just to get through the day. Maybe you have family responsibilities, work from home commitments or a metal illness that has wiped out your inspiration – we’re going through an enormous global event that has wreaked havoc on our lives, so if you want to leave the big achievements until later, you have every right to do so.
If you don’t come out of lockdown living a picture-perfect life, it’s not because you lack time. And it’s not because you lack disciple – it’s because you are human. Lockdown doesn’t have a schedule: how could it? We didn’t know it was coming and we can’t say for sure when it’s going to end, so how on earth could we have planned for it? We have a whole life after lockdown to look forward to, so don’t try to rush everything right now.
Photo by Prateek Katyal