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Lockdown Lessons

As I approach day 90, things around me are slowly starting to evolve into their new normal. Recently restaurants, attractions, gyms and other places have started to re-open around the UAE, but not without their new safety regulations in place which could be a permanent fixture in many aspects of everyday life. In light of […]

As I approach day 90, things around me are slowly starting to evolve into their new normal. Recently restaurants, attractions, gyms and other places have started to re-open around the UAE, but not without their new safety regulations in place which could be a permanent fixture in many aspects of everyday life.

In light of the countries wings opening for flight once again I thought I would re-visit the last 90 days and what I have learnt from the experience.

The first month was the most difficult, adjusting to life without working and being confined to four walls every day was certainly a big switch from what I was used to and in that first month I found it almost frustrating that I had to spend so much time with myself, but as the time has passed throughout this I’ve actually found out that maybe it was life’s way of telling me to actually sit down and look in the mirror.

The most rewarding thing I have discovered is self discipline (at least in some areas, some I’m still working on) – quite a lot of what I have seen online whilst researching about people and lock down habits was that most of them used alcohol as a coping mechanism for the glaring shift in their lives, at first it was like an extended holiday but then just turned into a daily necessity just to get through the monotonous ground hog day of it all. I don’t judge peoples journeys and to each their own, but reading all this after a month or so of mine showed how everyone has been affected in different ways and all have their own ways to cope with what is going on.

I, like everyone didn’t know that this pandemic would escalate to it’s current status as the start of all of this, but being suddenly out of work and having nothing but time on my hands I decided to set a personal goal for myself which I didn’t share with anyone.

SETTING GOALS: I decided to cut out alcohol from my life, I wanted to really focus my energy into looking after my body while I had the time to do it, like a full body reset. This has been the most rewarding part of this entire situation personally and paired with other methods and techniques has been most beneficial to me.

There’s a few factors that have made this manageable for me, the bars, the clubs and the restaurants have all been closed, also I live with housemates who are Muslim. Many Muslim people I know do not have a problem if you are to drink around them, but as a personal choice and because Ramadan was also coming up during all of this I decided to not bring that around the people in my life I was going to be spending the next however many months with day in and day out. I felt that to be respectful for them and also good for myself.

Another goal I set myself was to really focus on growing and changing my body. I’m fast approaching thirty and I want to start my new decade looking and feeling my best.

I’ve continued with daily workouts and eating clean and healthy (No fast food for 90 days, go me!) In the past when I’ve been hungry I’ve just hit the deliveroo app and had food within the hour, and that food was quick and convenient and in no way was helping my body get to where I wanted it to go. This time out has helped me to learn new ways of eating. I’ve learnt new skills from my housemates, I can now make chapatti from scratch and it tastes amazing, I’ve learnt new filling dishes, I’ve tried food I’ve never had before and it’s been a great experience, I guess you could call it getting back to basics. Now I’ve learnt these new skills it makes more sense to me now to make the time to cook something from scratch, even if it takes more than an hour, than opt for a quick fix to hunger that will not benefit me in the long run.

BE PATIENT.

For the most part I am the calmest, easiest going guy, but when it comes to being successful at certain things, in the past I have just given up, I feel I’ve done my hardest and that can often times not be good enough for myself. There’s been days when I’ve been going through my workout and I haven’t been able to achieve what I set out to do in the beginning and then I get frustrated with myself that I can’t reach these goals and I’ve had to tell myself to just BE PATIENT.

It’s all well and good setting goals for yourself and aiming to do a certain thing in a certain time frame but I’ve had to learn to be realistic about my goals.

I’m not going to smash everything I set out to do right away, it’s probably not humanly possible, otherwise we would all be living our best lives and achieving all our goals. The bumps in the road are there for a reason. To learn from them and create new ways around them to get to your goals eventually. If it takes longer than expected, it’s not a failure, it’s telling you to give yourself more time to get there. I’d rather try and fail and then push myself to try again and again until I get the correct formula to achieve than give up on the first hurdle which I have done many times in the past in different areas of my life.

ROUTINE.

Some live for routine while some think that life lived in a strict format and regimented is a recipe to a life with no happiness. I disagree whole heartedly. Having built my routine over the last three months has helped me shape my days, make the most out of them, and not get so bored and restless all the time.

MEDITATION.

The main part of my routine that has helped make my days the best they can be has been meditation. Now at the beginning when I was trying this I was all “this isn’t working.” .. sitting alone in silence.. “not working”.

I tried some different techniques, meditation sounds, complete silence, different positions, but I found that guided meditations were the best for me starting out. I soon got into the routine of waking up at 5AM. Meditation was the first task on the cards for at least 20 minutes, which moved into a gratitude section where I would sit and either write or think about what I was grateful for in that moment, and what I would like to achieve throughout my day. After this having a filling breakfast and reading a book instead of hitting up social feeds to fill my mind with unnecessary information so early in the day was the recipe for a successful morning.

READING.
Getting back into reading has been a great escapism, don’t get me wrong a good TV show or movie is great but there is only so much Netflix I can take in one sitting. I can get lost in a book for hours, and I’ve read quite a few during this time, some notable books that I would highly recommend reading would be Alicia Keys – More Myself. I was unable to put it down and finished it within two days of getting it, it’s amazing to see inside the mind and life of someone you have admired for many many years. Elizabeth Gilbert – Big Magic / Paulo Coelho – The Alchemist. These two books have really changed my outlook on life. They are both also what has inspired me to start writing again, I’ve written a lot in the past and from a very young age and then got to a point in my life where I felt like my writing wasn’t good enough and I would never get anywhere with it. But here I am, back for round 700 and trying it out again.

AGE AIN’T NOTHIN’ BUT A NUMBER.
Following on from reading the two books I mentioned above, they inspired me to be creative, to focus and channel my energies into creative works, like writing and knowing there is a place for my voice and that I am not too old to achieve things. For a long time I felt like being “30” was a cut off point. Constantly thinking “I should have achieved this by this age” “Well my friends have done this and this and this with their life” and it’s true comparison is the thief of joy, I’ve learnt this in many aspects of my life by continually comparing myself to others in different areas and wondering why I am not at that level or more. The only reasoning I have found for this is that we all have our times to shine, mine might not have been given to me yet, but I shouldn’t give up trying just because I am not where I want to be yet. If I want to write and publish a book, I can do it, it might take some time, but I have time, and I can do it and it is possible. If I wanted to build a great body that will make me look and feel great, I can do it but it isn’t gonna happen over night. Hard work and dedication to areas you want to improve are all well and good but being mentally strong in yourself and pushing out the noise of self doubt is where we really hit the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

SELF-CARE.
Little things daily add up to great things monthly.

A face mask and a good nights sleep isn’t going to change the world or get us out of a pandemic, but if that’s what it takes just to give you an hour to relax, re-evaluate and feel good about yourself and de-stress about all that is going on in your life, then go ahead and do it. It’s helped me a lot. Indian healing clay mask and a good album of choice on spotify lay down on your bed for an hour? Fantastic to clear the mind. Yes all our problems will still be there when the album finishes but little actions like this can make you assess things differently and who knows, might give you a better outlook on certain situations.

Life ain’t certain, we have all came to realise this over the last few months, we just gotta do the best we can with the present moment to make sure that our future selves look back and thank us for taking the time out to re-route our paths and challenge what we thought and change our response system to things.

Do something your future self will thank you for in the long run in this time that you have right now. It may have thrown us all off course but maybe it was for good reason, so change could come and take us in a new direction.

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