Slow Living in Lockdown

Words by Thomas Winward

I heard the birds singing this morning.

I think that’s the first time I’ve heard them so clearly from my flat in London. The soundscape has utterly changed in the last few weeks, and the sound of traffic has been swapped for nature. I lay in bed for a while, listening and enjoying.

The government-imposed lockdown in the United Kingdom has turned life on its head. While there is an overarching sense of worry and uncertainty for our friends, loved ones, health system, and our jobs, there has also been an opportunity to reevaluate our lifestyle and notice the simple things.

There are many for whom this is a difficult time. My heart goes out to those whose homes are unsafe, and those who are not financially stable enough to overcome this time of economic uncertainty.

But for many others, this can be an opportunity to rest. Being told to stay in our homes means being told not to commute across the city during rush hour.

Not to pile into the local Pret every lunchtime.

Not to run from meeting to meeting and miss our kids’ bedtime.

Being told to stay in our homes means being told to be still and take it slow.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s a small price to pay to relieve the pressure on our national health service. I’m fortunate to be able to do my job from home, and although it’s been difficult being separated from the people whom I care and love for most, the blessing is that without a commute, I can now enjoy more time in the mornings. I can read or exercise in the mornings, and have lunch on the balcony. People aren’t pulling me away every few minutes, therefore I can focus longer.

I can take it slow.

With a lot of extra time on our hands, it’s easy to feel the pressure of productivity. I certainly feel like my hours could be better spent working on my novel or editing a documentary that’s gathering dust on my hard drive.

I know many others who would feel the same when I say that I have not been in a particularly creative mood, especially when the news is filled with ‘doom and gloom’. Job security is on my mind just like everyone else, but there is no use in worrying about things I cannot control.

So instead, I will embrace this time for myself. I will read books that have been neglected and play games that have been tucked away. I will call old friends and enjoy time in the sunshine.

I can do this because I’m in a position to. If you can afford to take it slow, then enjoy it. Take this moment of international uncertainty and enjoy the stillness it has created, even if it’s only temporary.

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