Summer 2020 has been about slow living, appreciating the small things, finding happiness at home and learning what we truly value in life. Thanks, corona. Below Content Editor, Molly shares her favourite things about living life in the slow lane.

1. No alarms – I’m famously known for not being a morning person. It’s just not the time of day for me. I’m much more of a night owl! I’ve never much enjoyed waking up to the sound of an alarm but one thing I’ve really appreciated since working from home is allowing myself not to set one at all, instead, embracing my natural circadian rhythm. I find myself waking up around the same time every day and I find my mornings are so much less stressful. It feels like a gentler, calmer way to start the day. Slow living at it’s best.

2. Cooking from scratch – With dining out at restaurants and cafes firmly off the menu for many months, aside from getting takeout (which I only tend to do on occasion) cooking at home for every single meal has become the norm. To be honest, it’s been a bit of a relief from the “grab-and-go” food culture I used to partake in and spending more time preparing the food I’m eating from scratch means I’m consuming more mindfully and probably eating much healthier in the process. 

3. Becoming a master of my day – Over the past few months, I’ve really appreciated being able to create a working environment and routine that suits me. Everyone’s lifestyle is so different, so being able to establish a work routine that fits in with my home life and responsibilities has been great. I’m able to utilise my most productive hours that don’t always fall into the typical 9-5. For me, I often find I prefer to work much longer into the evening than I would normally if I was in the office. I’m so much more productive in the afternoons/evenings so being able to focus on less meaningful work tasks in the morning, coupled with my daily walks, I’m able to zone in on more specific tasks in the afternoon that would have probably taken me double the amount time if attempted in the morning! 

4. Cherishing daily walks – Speaking of walks, mine are no longer saved for weekends or commuting. Instead, walking has become a daily ritual I no longer can live without. It’s crazy to think that back in the day when office life was the norm, I would hardly ever leave my desk for a walk all day. A very unhealthy habit indeed and I’m happy to say, thanks to the lovely summer weather, walking to my favourite park is something I really look forward to. It breaks up my day and gives my eyes a rest from the screen. 

5. Consuming less – Another thing I’ve learnt is that you really don’t need as much as you used to think you did. No eating out. No problem. No shopping. No problem. Cutting back on clutter, spending less money and focusing on being grateful for what you already have has been the theme of lockdown for me. 

6. Urgency a thing of the past – Living in a pandemic has made everyone and everything slow down, I’ve noticed. From work to home life there just seems to be less focus on “everything must happen now, immediately, hurry up, what’s taking so long?!”. Don’t confuse a lack of urgency with complacency or unproductivity. Tasks at work get done, life progresses, but there is less stress and I’m finding that I’m much more considerate when it comes to decision making, both professionally and personally.

7. Having time to focus on things that matter to you – When life is busy and you’re rushing around, sometimes it’s hard to find time for the things that are important to you. With this slower pace of life, I’ve had more headspace to figure out what is it that really matters to me. I’ve had more time to contemplate my carbon footprint and my impact on the environment. I’ve been able to make time to address lifestyle habits I wasn’t so fond of. With the restrictions around physical connection, I’ve made more effort to find alternative ways to nurture relationships with friends and family. This might not be the same for everyone, especially if you have children (parents, I salute you) but it’s definitely worked out that way for me. 

8. Embracing self-care as an essential – There’s no doubt living through a pandemic can spike anxiety and stress. I have certainly had my ups and downs over the last few months. Pandemics are scary and it’s totally normal to feel like “What the F is actually happening?!” Dedicating time to self-care has been a non-negotiable for staying calm and protecting my mental health. I’ve become a rather good manicurist if I do say so myself and I kinda love sneaking away for an hour before bed to chill, maybe practice some Yoga With Adriene and pimp my bath with some of my favourite ingredients like Epsom salts and essential oils. Of course, I had baths before and painted my nails when I couldn’t make it to the nail bar, but self-care has become more of a ritual for me and a sacred time for total relaxation.

Read more: 4 (Unique) Ways To Combat Stress In The Modern Age