This sudden and scary pandemic took us by surprise and like for many others, my mind and life went into chaos. The abrupt lockdown, the shock of something I read about being so close to home touches a different note altogether. Living with elderly parents and an 8-month baby niece enhanced the impact of the lockdown. As well as being a long-time sufferer of chronic pains and sensitive mind, managing stress levels came to the forefront during this period.
As I look back at the past four months I have to admit, it was an eye-opening experience and priorities took a drastic turn. Adapting and playing improv in situations has made my mind and business plans more flexible and easy going. I spent languorous evenings in the garden porch – something I never had time for before. I slept a bit more than usual. I didn’t beat myself up for procrastinating. I also started to integrate ‘screen time off’ every night. One of the major discoveries was that I could definitely work from home without any drastic impact on my work, but also had an incredibly positive impact – calmer mind, more organised operations, and spending lovely time with the family as well as revisiting old hobbies such as embroidery and painting.
As life returns to normal, there are quite a few new habits that I am carrying into my daily life, but one of the most important one: spend at least 30 minutes in the garden in the evening and just breathe in the fresh air with no books, phones, or laptop. The art of doing nothing – il dolce far niente. This one short breather every single day has helped me take stock of my day, my thoughts, my body and feel completely at ease and rejuvenated.
I asked these eight dynamic women on their thoughts and experiences and each answer reflects upon the importance of simple basic activities that most of us grew up with and simply lost along the way to adulthood.
Listening to the chirping birds calming the ambience in my garden, sipping my morning tea, I have been occupied with a lot of thoughts. The air smells fresh, the water bodies stand full of life, flowers bloom and butterflies look more colourful! Every detail in nature magnifies itself as the world comes to a standstill. What are we running for? As the world starts recovering from the debilitating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have arrived, once again at the boundaries of the human race’s collective knowledge of what we once knew! What has not changed though, is human nature itself.
This chunk of time has helped me to organise a new routine. First and foremost being mindful of the energies I surround myself with. Being a spiritual person, I practiced yoga and meditation to keep my mental health in check. My afternoon nap which I have gotten so addicted to will be diﬃcult to indulge in the future-but hey! When you get a chance, just nap!
Living in a joint family has its pros and cons and it’s very important for me that I get to spend time with them. Nurturing a family is everyone’s responsibility and respecting each one’s individuality can further nourish/ give your family space to grow!
I look forward to entering the new normal taking utmost precautions and pause without feeling guilty!
Amid the hustle and bustle of daily life, I didn’t realise until the lockdown hit, how it was a much-needed break for me.
Seeing the struggles of some around me, and the fact that I am able to enjoy and take solace in this lockdown makes my heart go out to all the migrant workers and other who cannot. I feel very blessed that during the lockdown I have been able to spend more quality time with my family, as well as dedicating more time to old passions. I have been fortunate to be able to spend quality time with my 95-year old father in law Ramnikbhai, learning his wise, considerate, astute, and worldly ways. He has only kinds words for everyone and sees only good in everyone - to him taking the time to observe life is a daily habit. When it comes to my old hobbies, the break has given me quality time to read, garden and work on my sculptures with uninterrupted blocks of time. Creativity is more now than it has ever been before. I am finding such pleasure in curating my garden, and enjoying the beautiful flowers bloom every morning as I sip tea with my husband. I have found that this time spent gardening allows my mind to de-clutter, and it allows creativity to flow, generating new ideas for sculptures.
This lockdown, and especially my early morning tea-times of nothing but enjoying the garden, the flowers, and the people around me is definitely something I will continue post-lockdown, because it gives my mind time to step back and focus on the day ahead. More than ever this lockdown has reinforced the same philosophy which has flowed through from before:
Follow your passion!
Be inspired and inspire others by your example.
Be good, do good and goodness follows.
Stay safe, stay well!
As life returns to normal, there are quite a few new habits that I am carrying into my daily life, but one of the most important one: I would like to continue to spend at least 15 minutes catching up with my family back home and having at least one meal all together with family that we live with. Sometimes we all get so caught up in work and friends and life. We just have really shallow conversations about “what we had for lunch?” or “how was work?” and not really delve into “how are you feeling today?”
I also think community living is super important. Living in an urban city like Mumbai we are surrounded by small families that live right next to us, but we don’t even know their names. During the lockdown, since we couldn’t venture out of our building, we actually go to know so many of the families that live in the same building with us. We have all become friends over these few months and now we have someone to “chill” with every day when we want to maybe play a game or just share some new music. It has definitely helped us to get through this tough time and these are friends to cherish for life.
The one habit I’ll carry over to “normal” life after lockdown is the habit of practicing my craft more.
The lock down left me with bucket-loads of flowers and nowhere to send them to. I ended up placing them around the house – in vases, mugs, glasses, bowls… anything that could hold them. Playing with them reminded me of the calmness that comes with zoning out whilst arranging flowers.
If you’re in a creative field, it’s so important to take time out to create something just for yourself – not for your customers, not for Instagram, not for your company -just for you. Going forth, I’m going to continue doing just that!
One new habit I’ve picked up during lockdown is to read a few pages before going to bed. It was a habit I had during my school days, and somewhere along the chaos of life I lost the routine – simply because I felt I didn’t have the time, was too rushed or it was getting too late at night. Now suddenly I had all the time, and the calm and headspace to read a bit more, whether it is a real book or Kindle, and even if it’s just one page – it really helps calm the mind. And this regime also brought back quite a bit of nostalgia from my childhood days!
This ritual has been so satisfying and I hope to be continuing this even after the lockdown.
This time has been an eye-opener for me – living through a pandemic with my 97 year old grandfather and senior citizen parents has changed all my perspectives. It has taught me to be more compassionate towards people and most importantly, connecting with everyone more via phone or video calls on a daily basis even if it’s for few minutes. During lockdown my work came to an absolute standstill and hence gave me all the time to take better care of myself, restarting my daily workouts, reading, take online courses and enjoy my garden. These activities started giving me more creative head space and in turn, be more organised.
Now that the we are in the ‘new normal’, I have continued with reading every night and enjoying peaceful mornings in the garden, and so far, I think I will be able to stick to this routine!
The pandemic has changed our life in more ways than we could have ever imagined, but to be very honest I saw that coming and probably had prepared myself mentally for a very uncertain future. I have always been a person who likes to be organised – I like the idea of having a sense of structure, so I began the lockdown by devising a timetable to follow which included work, working out and lessons and activities to improve my skill set. I was quick to stop watching any negative news to avoid getting anxious.
This helped me achieve some of the most constructive few months – I don’t remember the last time I was this focused! While there were a few lull days, overall it felt liberating to not have constant social commitments, distractions or obligations. I energised myself towards what I have always wanted to do - learn. I took up various courses on digital marketing and attended many webinars on zoom to improve my skills. Another regime I adapted was daily evening walks – something that I haven’t done for years. I’m blessed to live in a city that has great weather. This is definitely something that I plan on continuing even after the lockdown is lifted.
One habit that I developed during the lockdown was trying my hand at healthy recipes and educating myself in spaces where I lack knowledge. For example, I never fully understood the dynamics of running a business or operating it, but after reading and watching shows that educate me, I’m definitely more aware now. This is one habit I would like to continue focusing on as it has helped me grasp a deeper understanding of what it takes to run a successful business and being an outstanding entrepreneur.