The importance of how we use our free time

Alannah Ita Healy says one lockdown lesson relates to how we can use our free time better…

When the first lockdown rolled around, it was obviously a major disruption to everyday life, with most people struggling to adapt to the new way of living. Of course now, after almost two years of dealing with the pandemic, having restrictions in place almost feels like the norm. In fact, for many people, switching straight back to what life was like pre-pandemic has been a harder thing to adjust to than expected.

  In many ways, that same sense of disruption to daily life that came with the first lockdown is back again now, as we all prepare to ‘re-enter society’ as we once knew it. It goes without saying that this period of adjustment has a lot more positives than adjusting to lockdown did, but it’s still a big change in routine for people. With that said, as we try to navigate getting back to life without restrictions, perhaps some of the things that helped us get through lockdown might be helpful to us now again.

  Though morale was hard to keep up during some of the later lockdowns (when people had begun to feel fed up with dealing with restrictions), during the first lockdown, there was a real push to make the best of a bad situation. People ended up doing DIY projects, trying out different recipes, going for more walks etc. Regardless of the many negative effects of lockdown, one silver lining was that more of us were trying new things.

  Now as restrictions begin to ease, it seems like it would be a shame for us to not carry that same energy forward with us as we establish our ‘new normal’. It would be very easy for all of us to return to how we spent our free time before the pandemic hit, but given how much pursuing new interests benefited us when we were stuck at home, one can only imagine the benefits doing so can deliver with the world opening up again.

  During lockdowns, we were restricted with the new things we could try as not everything was accessible due to public health guidelines. Therefore most of the new things we tried were things that could be done at home, focusing on indoor activities such as art or baking banana bread (so much banana bread).

  Now however, we once more have the opportunity to visit museums, attend plays, cinemas, tourist sites, activity parks etc. We also have the opportunity to do these things with people, and to participate in group activities in general. The scope of new things available for us to try has only widened, and we should take a lesson from our lockdown selves and continue to prioritise our free time and the value of trying out these new things.

  Lockdowns were an extremely difficult time to get through, but it’s important to remember what got us through them. Instead of reverting back to how things were, as we emerge from the pandemic, continue trying out new things and finding fulfilment in your free time.