Lockdown: a time when shops are shut, summer plans are cancelled, scholarships and semesters abroad whooshed away so fast that it’s hard to make sense of this strange new world of masks, avoidance on pavements and worry for the future. And yet, lockdown has also given me the time for me to learn to slow down, stop, and reflect.
I began to find home workouts such as Pamela Reif’s YouTube programme with weekly 45-minute programmes on Instagram. I realised I could keep this up, feel fit and not need to be rushing myself to the gym every day when things return to normal.
Isolating with my boyfriend’s family, I also feel I’ve begun to solve issues with eating that stem well back into my mid-teen years. I have finally begun eating bread and potatoes again and drinking a glass of wine without feeling guilt at calories or needing to exercise and punish myself the next day to compensate to maintain a correct weight. Living with new routines and coming across different life perspectives and wisdoms has really made me re-evaluate my relationship with food and given me a healthier routine and mental state that I am pleased to be carrying forward into our soon-to-be reinstated world.
After my semester abroad was cancelled, going into my third year of studying German, I am similarly facing larger challenges as I do not even know where I will be living in September or which university will teach me. However, despite this I have begun to realise just to take each day as it comes and really appreciate the small beauties we still have and which we can always be grateful for. Lockdown is not something I wanted to waste and so I have been video-calling four German speakers a week, helping them with their English in return for keeping up my speaking skills. I do not think I would have reached out and achieved doing this had it not been for the current craziness; I even started attempting to read my first German book, as well as watching at least five Disney+ princess films in German – who knew Netflix almost totally limits itself to French and Spanish language options?
Being one of those personalities that need things to stimulate me and move me forwards, a few weeks of post-university relaxation had me struggling to find a purpose. It was then I stumbled upon a discounted TEFL online course, teaching English as a foreign language, and now I am a qualified teacher ready to travel in the future to teach English or tutor online during the pandemic (when I do an extension course or get around to applying!). I thoroughly recommend this course, especially to those from a language and linguistics degree or background as it has truly kept me occupied, given me a sense of purpose and means I feel I have gained something concrete and useful from lockdown.
Making films for university and doing student Q and A’s for virtual open days has also helped with forgetting the world and gaining a sense of purpose, as has limiting news and social media intake.
Finding balance to sunbathe and do small local trips and video-call friends with quizzes is still something I am developing, but this has been my journey and experience of lockdown and I will be very interested to hear of others!
Image: Christy Brinnehl