Now restrictions are lifting and a glimmer of normality is appearing, I wanted to take a moment to review the impact of lockdown on my own life, and what I've learned from it.
1. Fear of the Unknown Doesn't Exist
Fearing the unknown was easily one of my biggest fears in life, even before lockdowns and global pandemics. I am a planner. I like to be prepared and well researched. I like to be as knowledgeable as possible prior to embarking on absolutely anything, whether it's new or old (things might have changed!).
Turns out I haven't watched nearly enough Doomsday Preppers, and The Walking Dead is only helpful when zombies rock up. There is no preparation for seeing the supermarket shelves being ransacked, hearing your husband should be shielding and knowing your family has very little in the way of a local support network. This made for high stress levels in those early days.
There was no quick fix for any of it. I knew I had to take it one day at a time, which is a challenge for a planner. Living in such conditions has actually helped me relax a little, maybe even a lot, and I enjoy the present far far more.
There is no fear of the unknown. We fear the loss of the known.
2. Adapt or Perish
I've watched my fair share of apocalyptic films over the last 12 months to know that if you don't keep moving, you're a goner. For me, the same has applied to my handmade business.
Those early weeks had me worried my business wouldn't survive. People watching their pennies, only so many clay decorations to tout and no family gatherings or weddings going ahead.
Time to leave the comfort of the known, and head down a path not yet explored.
Hello Prints! Bundle Boxes! Banners!
Adapting my range of products meant I had new offerings for my much loved and loyal customer base, and a broader array of goodies for anyone new coming to join the Homespun Heath community.
Adapting had my business thriving!
3. Hermit for Life
I was a hermit before lockdown, I'll be a hermit afterwards.
4. Social Media Success isn't Equal to Business Success
I'm seeing lots of posts about the change in the Instagram algorithm, meaning reach is low and posts aren't seen.
Can you control that? Not really.
What you can control is showing up everyday and producing content you actually enjoy. Irrelevant to the numbers.
Have the number of likes dropped on my posts? Yep.
Have the number of orders dropped? Nope.
Don't let social media numbers steal your joy or dictate your purpose.
5. Enjoy the Little Things
The stresses, strains and the sheer amount of time "normal" life eats up means we often don't savour the little things. Work/school/chores etc means I have long been guilty of neglecting seeking little snippets of joy.
Teapot tea, burning the fancy candle on a grey Thursday, a Christmas tree up until April, actually doing those Pinterest projects we longingly look at! These have been an actual source of happiness. Yep, a bloody teapot makes me happy, and I am totally ok with that.
Being a hermit meant I always liked being at home. Enjoying these little things now means I love being at home.
6. We Don't Have Enough Toilets
I live with 3 boys. Enough said.
7. Happiness Starts with Gratitude
Nothing bad ever happens when you express your gratitude. It's when we don't express it we often become guilty of taking things for granted. I think we all took a lot for granted prior to lockdown.
There's no doubt I work hard for my family and for my business, but gratitude is what fuels me to keep doing it unwaveringly. Waking up each day and writing a list of 3 things I'm grateful for immediately puts me in a positive frame of mind. Focussing on the haves rather than the have nots is selfcare for my wellbeing. Exercising this "muscle" every single day is like taking a supplement for good health.
I will never be able to express the level of gratitude I feel for everything I am privileged to have and be a part of. My family, my friends, this community!
The latest trending analogy is "same storm, different boat" and I kind of like it. We've all faced different challenges, and some of us adapt more readily than others. Each of us will have experienced a different version of lockdown and I think for the most part, we all recognise that.
There is now hope in the air. Hope that this storm will soon pass...