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In praise of not taking up a new hobby during lockdown

Amongst the plethora of information flooding our inboxes and the media constantly reminding us that this is a time of unlimited opportunities for self improvement, I find myself writing in praise of ‘being’ as well as ‘doing’, of not being over-contactful, not filling up our time with a new skill or hobby but allowing for a period of quiet reflection.

For many this is a time of fear, for some there is a resurgence of unhelpful coping patterns and for others it’s overwhelming. Our responses are deeply personal. My suggestion is that the very useful mental health advice to limit our consumption of news to reputable sources and to a particular time of day, also works for the tide of supportive Facebook messages, emails and Instagram posts we receive. Even positive uplifting information can feel overwhelming!

Whether you are a person of faith or not it’s interesting to note that in the Christian calendar it is currently the time of Lent leading up to Easter. In this tradition Lent is a more inward looking time, a time for being more frugal, a time for ‘going inside’ for a while. How pertinent to the times we are living in at the moment. Perhaps we could use it in a similar Lenten way?

So, let’s think carefully about who we really want to be in contact with, let’s be discerning with our contact lists, let’s not engage with the downward spiral of feelings of guilt or failure if we don’t warm to the opportunity of learning a new skill. Ultimately let’s remember there is no ‘right way’ of doing or being during these lockdown days, if we can embrace what works for us, we may find that our opportunity is one of Quiet.

Bridget Walker

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