Self-improvement: 10 things I’m doing in lockdown [article]

We’ve all adopted new habits during lockdown – whether it’s working out or baking or journaling or pondering the meaning of life while we get to grips with Russian grammar.

What’s clear is that self-improvement is an area many of us are exploring – like peppy, overzealous Irish Setters bounding after tennis balls.

So if you’re in need of inspiration, below are 10 things I’ve found myself doing more and more as a result of lockdown in a bid to be a less shit human.

 

“To-do” becomes less of an obligation and more of a choice

In a bid to purge myself of this need to constantly be achieving and doing something productive, my to-do lists for the weekends have become less “to-do” and more “to-do-if-you-fancy.” All this imaginary pressure I put on myself to be moving mountains, writing thousands of words and jumping up and down with a resistance band is exhausting, so I’ve positioned these tasks as nice to haves instead of obligations.

Focusing on the journey and not simply the end goal

Whether I’m putting together a deck for work or spluttering my way through a 20-minute jog, I’m trying to focus more on the “doing” and less on the “done” at the moment. Ultimately, the journey is the most important part of any task. It’s the bit where the magic happens and memories are made. (Just ask Frodo and Sam.)

Carving out time for TV and calling it “self-care”

This is one I’m still struggling with. I settle down some evenings to watch wannabe Freddies and Jasons (we’re big horror fans in my house) but often feel an overwhelming urge to grab my laptop and start beavering away at something. My hands simply cannot be idle. So I’m trying to view TV as a vehicle for self-care, instead of a meaningless, guilt-ridden pastime.

Upskilling so I can be better at my job

I occupy quite a junior position at my company, so I’m using the extra free time I have to read articles, do online courses and attend webinars (I promise you I can be quite fun) and this is a great confidence boost. It also keeps that pesky imposter syndrome at bay and makes me feel more capable when it comes to carrying out my work.

Investing in a five-minute journal

I found this nifty little book at a charity shop some time ago and have picked it up again recently. It’s a five-minute journal with prompts and questions to get you started. I like the fact it’s only meant to take five minutes – even the busiest of souls have no excuses. There are apps which also do the same thing, in case you can’t get your hands on one of these physically.

Introspection

We all have struggles. Mapping out those struggles on paper and working through them like they’re a mathematical problem is helping me gain a better understanding of how my mind works. Struggles manifest themselves in our heads and rarely make it out of the creases of our brains – so slapping them down in an old notebook helps to make sense of the chaos.

Unfollowing people on Instagram

The classic social media cull is common at the moment. With more time spent on devices, it’s natural for us to become more selective about whose content we see. I’ve gone through and unfollowed a variety of people – from celebrities to old schoolmates – if I feel I gain very little from viewing their posts.

Losing myself in movies about faraway places

A few weeks ago, it was Call Me By Your Name. Yesterday it was Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. I’m losing myself in movies and fuelling my wanderlust at the same time, choosing films set in far-flung places and punctuated by foreign tongues to give me travel inspiration.

Reassessing my finances

I’m saving a lot more £££ now that I’m not commuting or eating out – and boy does it feel good. I’m constantly coming up with ways to save money (less ASOS splurging) and find worthwhile causes into which I can funnel a few pounds every month, like the Amos Bursary.

Looking for additional side hustles

My former side hustle involved travel writing and this has dried up since lockdown. I’ve been scouring sites like Upwork in search of new opportunities – not only as a way of upskilling but also in a bid to practise certain skills that my main full-time job doesn’t allow me to use.

 

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