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Simplifying life in the Corona virus era

A unique time

I think it’s safe to say that not only is this corona situation we’re all in unsettling, it’s also an interesting time nevertheless. Watching each country and how they’re being affected and the losses of life and economy are something the world has never experienced before. Our kids will be telling their grandkids about what we’re going through as our grandparents talked about the Great Depression and WW2 and as we talk about 9/11.

These are all watershed moments of huge consequence. Some of us will be traumatised by the experience and some will get through relatively unscathed. Calls for people to come together, to act with kindness and be community minded are daily occurrences whether they’re on the telly or Facebook or via Zoom meetings. Acts of generosity and inner strength remind us of how great it feels to be of service to others!

And I also think, this will have profound effects on our post-Rona lives. We have been reminded that we don’t need to go shopping, over spending and eating out all the time It’s made us stop and reflect. It’s made us spend more time at home with our families. This can only be a good thing. My husband and kids and I have come to enjoy the extra time we’ve had together and the lack of running around to various sporting things has been rather blissful if I’m honest. It’s shown me that we can pivot and adapt to abrupt changes pretty well. Even the home schooling hasn’t killed us (as trying as it was at times!).

Time for reflection and appreciation

It’s a time to take stock – not just of our things, but how we live….what we actually need and how we’d like to live. Time of reflection and planning for ‘after’. I know I’ll enjoy going to the shops again rather than ordering necessities online. But I’m also bracing myself for the cathcup I’m anticipating – at work, at the kids’ schooling and sporting activities. I have a feeling we will almost burst out when we’re allowed to. But for now, it’s nice to just stop.

One of the greatest reminders during this time is that the most important things in life are health and time – both of which can let us live richer lives enjoying the company of our loved ones. The corona virus has shown us how brutal it can be. It takes no prisoners and it can kill so quickly. For some there has been no time to plan for death and no opportunity to say goodbye. So we can learn from this and let our loved ones know now (& often) how precious they are to us.

Gratitude around the small things is another thing I’ve been thinking about. I’ve noticed thoughts of appreciation popping into my mind about the beautiful weather we’ve been having, how I’m enjoying this slower pace and how I’m reaching out to friends more than usual which has been lovely.

And there have been bigger, macro benefits to this virus. Pollution has tumbled which is fantastic. And oil companies are literally paying people to take their oil. That is the first time ever! How incredible is that! And with any luck, there’ll be a re-evaluation about wet markets and eating and hunting endangered species.

We also seem to have a greater global outlook too. People are observing how other countries are faring and wishing them well. We’re also learning from their mistakes and in Australia, we’ve been so lucky to have had these lessons as our situation is far better than most.

But back to a personal level. We can use this lockdown as a time to assess what we have. An opportunity to declutter. We can use the time going through cupboards and deep cleaning as we go. If you have kids, get them involved so they are part of the decision-making process AND at the same time, teach them great life skills while you’re at it!

By reviewing what we have and where we’ve come from we’ll have a better idea of where we want to go. It’s an opportunity to travel lighter on this earth. Gentler with ourselves, with others and with the planet.

What about the post virus era?

I’ve started thinking about post-Rona and how our shopping and gathering behaviours might have changed for good. I know that going forward, I’ll be even more mindful about consumption – I don’t often impulse buy, but I know even that will be less. Over the last few years, I’ve bought fewer better quality items that are timeless, more expressive of who I am and that will last longer. And I only ever buy things if they spark joy. I’ve been doing that for years. When the sparks stop – because they nearly always do – off they go!

When I’m shopping I also think about that item’s exit strategy. I have a plan for what I’ll do with it once it has served its purpose. I would always prefer that it can be donated and serve someone else rather than throw to landfill. The thought of things going to landfill makes me feel a bit sick, so I try to buy natural fibres and less plastic.

One thing that does my head in is when you buy something, get it home but then realise that you’re not sure where you’ll store it! So, I’ve now got into a habit of planning where it will live before I even buy it! It’s stopped me buying seasonal decorations, toys and Manchester. I’ve literally been at the checkout, realised I had nowhere to store it and changed my mind by not buying it. And the weird thing is, that that has always ended up with a feeling of relief! Has that ever happened to you?

I’ve been going through room by room and really thinking about how we’re using that space. How does it feel. Do I love it and does it function and look great? If not, how can it be improved? As families grow, our needs for various spaces evolve and now is a great time to reevaluate that. Whether you use the KonMari method of categorising, and thanking each item and folding things to within an inch of its life or you’re a cupboard by cupboard person, it’s fine. Every person has their own decluttering style that works best. As long as you’re heading in the right direction and making progress, that’s fantastic.

So, even thought this is a unique period with a lot of challenges, it is also a time of introspection and improvement. The shock to the system that will result in change – hopefully of a good kind. And if we can hang onto that mindfulness of others, our environment and of ourselves as we emerge out the other end, then we will have benefitted. Oh, and the final thing will be that we’ll never experience a toilet paper drought of such magnitude again!

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