After 18 months of restrictions and lockdowns and anxiety, it's starting to feel like we're starting to get back to a bit of normality (even though somehow it's already autumn). And no matter how the last year and a half has been for us, we're changed, the world has changed, and it's hard to imagine life going back to how it was before.
And while I am so so so glad things are getting back to normal, there are a few things I did during lockdown - to entertain me, to calm me, to help me to cope, that I actually want to carry on doing.
Here are some of my lockdown habits I want to keep:
Washing my hair less
This is a biggie and one of the reasons I had the idea for this post. Pre-lockdown, I washed my hair probably 5 times a week. This was purely because I hate having greasy hair, but I drying my hair is my most-hated task. During lockdown I managed to stretch it washing twice a week and now I don't want to go back. And while I don't love my day four hair, I can definitely cope with it!
I love to cross stitch. I only got into it at the start of the first lockdown and now it's one of my favourite hobbies! I love picking out patterns from Etsy and choosing all my threads and having quiet evenings stitching with a podcast on. Pure bliss.
Like everyone else during lockdown, I dabbled in sourdough, but thanks to the early-lockdown flour shortage, I ran out of steam with it quickly (my starter is in the fridge still, clinging onto life). But what I did find is how many other non-sourdough breads I could make that I loved! At one point I was making bread every single weekend (Nigella's sandwich loaf is my favourite) and I have dabbled in pizza dough, bagels, no-knead bread, naan and foccacia to name but a few! I find it really soothing and I love having delicious bread for the weekend!
I've had a Headspace subscription for years but couldn't get into a regular routine with it, but during lockdown I got into a great habit of meditating every single day for over a year (even if quite often it was right before bed!). I don't meditate every single day now, but I do manage it a few times a week. I find it particularly useful for getting me to sleep or when I'm particularly stressed.
Walking the dog together
This is one which is going to be harder to do every day now we're both back in the office a few days a week, but I love starting and ending my working day with us walking the dog together. Getting some fresh air at the start and end of the day is such a good way to get a change of scene when working from home.
Going on walks
Speaking of walking, I've just loved going on walks, especially as a social activity. Even though we can meet people indoors now, I still really love meeting people for a walk and I hope this is something I can carry on doing!
At the end of 2020 I did an online cocktail-making class with work which was so much fun and started our love of cocktail-making! A few weeks later we bought a drinks trolley, then I got Phil a cocktail making set and a whisky-tasting course for his Birthday, and now we love making drinks on a Saturday night. Our favourites are Gimlets, Brambles, Old Fashioneds, Whiskey Sours, Pornstar Martinis and Espresso Martinis.
At the height of the pandemic there was no way I was nipping to the shops because I'd run out of carrots or didn't have coriander for the meal I was making. Fortunately, I keep a pretty well-stocked pantry (and by well-stocked I mean, I basically never run out of anything because I replace it as soon as it starts getting low) and I wrote a list of all the recipes I could make without needing to leave the house. Some of these are already based around things I already have in, or other involves some slight tweaks like swapping fresh veg for frozen or stripping out a recipe to cut down on a few ingredients and I still use this list all the time when I want a last-minute meal or don't want to do a big shop.
Having a skincare routine
I know some people who are super into skincare and that's awesome, but for me, I just need a basic routine I can stick to. And during lockdown, thanks to my sister-in-law buying me a copy of Skincare by Caroline Hiron, I got myself a little routine. It doesn't have too many steps, everything costs under a tenner and the most important part is I actually like doing it.
Video calls (and phone calls)
I know we all got super burned out on video calls during lockdown but I am still a big fan of a call or video call with friends or family. We all have times when we want to catch up with our friends but don't have the energy to go out or something comes up, and I find it a good, if not perfect, substitute for the the real thing.
"Supporting local businesses"
AKA, eating from local restaurants. Prior to lockdown I could count on one hand the number of takeaways we got over the course of a year. It's just not something we do. But during lockdown we got really wanted to support our favourite local restaurants so we made sure we got a takeaway once a month. We discovered we have an amazing Thai takeaway on our doorstep, we have a ranking of our favourite Indian restaurants from cheap and cheerful to fancy, we know exactly which are the best loaded fries from our local burger joint, and we think our nearest pizza place is the best in the area.
Now lockdown is over we don't get takeaways anymore, but we have started to have date night once a month where we go to a different restaurant in our area. We're so lucky to have so many great places on our doorstep!
Second hand shopping
I've already written about this recently, but I stepped up my love of second hand shopping over the last 18 months and now I buy pretty much all my clothes second hand!
I wrote back in January about how much I loved the Peloton App, and even though I'm back to running more regularly I still love the app! At the weekend I completed my 9th half marathon and I used the Peloton app for nearly all of my training runs, and also used it for weekly strength for runners classes and post-run stretches. While I don't use it every day (and I prefer Adriene for my weekly yoga) I really enjoy the runs and strength classes, and now I'm out of my training period I'll be back to the cardio classes too. It's a perfect complement to my running and I love the variety of the classes.
I wrote about this in my blog about getting dressed, but over the past year and a half I have definitely embraced being comfy. I don't want to be cold or itchy or uncomfortable. While I still love getting dressed, I love a day where I don't have to.
I love love love working from home (though I will be honest it has made it slightly harder starting a new job) but I've been surprised how much I enjoy being in the office too. I work 2 days a week in the office and the rest of the week from home, and for me it's the perfect balance. I love being able to hang out with my dog whenever I make a drink and read my book undisturbed at lunchtime, but I also love catching up with my colleagues in person and having an excuse to get dressed up for the office. Hybrid working is perfect for me.
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