Life lessons learned from lockdown

With the easing of restrictions we can almost hear the nation collectively exhale, but there's still a long way to go before things return to "normal". It was something we craved not so long ago, but as we gently reimmerse into normalcy, resistance to certain aspects of the "old normal" surfaces.

Foremost is the busyness, the illusion of ably balancing family, life and work - on closer reflection resembling human "doings" rather than human beings. How can we preserve some of the calm we inhaled during lockdown, while gradually clawing back our old lives? Responding to changing marketplace needs and demands, many businesses are pivoting. There's also potential to pivot in individual lives. Now is the time to consider what type of person we would like to re-emerge as.

With a staggered return to schooling and workplaces, will we lurch back into our harried lifestyle, where so much was taken for granted, or are there certain positive attributes we can maintain from our lockdown days? Working from home, whilst not without its challenges, for many reaped rewards - individually, collectively and environmentally. More quality time with loved ones, less time commuting, and with nowhere else to be, more time to commune and play with our children and one another.

Social isolation provided opportunities to explore what gives us pleasure, meaning and purpose - three fundamental pillars of sustainable happiness. It helped us focus on what is truly important: togetherness (virtual or physical), supporting those in need, and sharing appreciation and gratitude for all we have and those critical in our lives.

So, before you get lost in the daily hubbub, make a commitment to pivot your life around what's really important. If possible, a flexible working from home arrangement will preserve time to exhale and be with loved ones. But even if you are back to a 9-5 workplace don't leave it to chance. Each day, timetable something that provides meaning, purpose or connection. Identifying things that no longer serve you well unlocks the possibility for things that do.

There will always be competing demands, but a daily wellbeing activity boosts mood and fuels motivation, resulting in greater life fulfilment and a more harmonious relationship both with yourself and others. Now is the time to actualise new daily habits, to shape your new normal. It doesn't need to be a full-scaled pivot, just mindfully swivel in the right direction.

Ros Ben-Moshe is an adjunct lecturer at La Trobe University, and positivity, resilience and wellbeing coach at LaughLife Wellbeing Programs.

This story A new, gentler kind of normal can lie ahead first appeared on The Canberra Times.