Being in Lockdown – A Reflection
2020-06-12 11:05:31
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Some people might find being under quarantine very frustrating, but I look at it from a very different perspective. Since the announcement of UK's lockdown, I have not been outside of my accommodation apart for essential activities like grocery shopping and exercise. This means that I have spent most of my time at home. Is it boring? I can only say that depends on how one manages oneself. And the most important lesson that I have learned from this lockdown is how to develop self-discipline.
Being in lockdown, in other words social distancing and staying home, means that I have more time for myself. I have also stopped working part-time which further increases my "free time". During the first few days, I was like everyone else, lockdown was very frustrating. I slept late and woke up late when there were no online classes. I spent most of my time online, doing unnecessary things, such as surfing YouTube. At that point in time, I thought that having more "free time" means having more "fun time". I quickly realized that it was just the first few days. Soon, I realized that these activities are the very things that caused my frustration in the beginning.
The way I see it, there are many ways for us to get through this difficult time. One way is to break from the more "free time" equals more "fun time" paradigm. It is indeed very tempting to have a full 24 hours at home to do whatever we wanted to do. Some might want to use the time to do whatever they wanted to but couldn't due to their busy lives. Which led to people indulging in meaningless activities like gaming or watching TV. Eventually, boredom and frustration will set in.
I started to see this "free time" differently. I learnt that boredom and frustration can be alleviated if we use our time constructively. If we take this time to learn new things and keep our brains engaged, we would be more enriched mentally and get through this lockdown meaningfully. After this moment of realization, I started to adjust my sleep cycle, by sleeping early and waking up early.
I felt really good when I started my day early. I would do some morning exercise, take a shower, and start my day fresh. I bought fitness equipment from Amazon to help me exercise from home, because I believe that exercise is very important during lockdown as our activities are severely limited. The only exception I made to this routine was if I had morning classes. That meant exercise will be later in the afternoon.
In addition, every Saturday I will cycle around Oxford, and obviously with a mask. This lockdown has also made me more creative in my cooking. Having the same meals everyday can be quite boring and repetitive. Thus I would look for recipes to try on YouTube. I rarely ordered any takeaways unless I ran out of food. I would like to think that I added culinary skills to my arsenal when I emerged from lockdown.
Being a Catholic, Easter is always a special time when I would go to the church and celebrate with my friends and family. Unfortunately, this year, I had to spend Easter at home alone. Luckily, my church provided online streaming. Not only during lockdown, but weekly masses also streamed online which I really appreciated.
Last week, the new academic block with PHBS started. For this block we are allowed to take up to 4 classes from the Shenzhen campus as well since all the classes are online. I was very excited because now I was able to choose a subject that I really want to explore but currently not offered here in the UK campus, such as Brand Management. I also took Research Methodology to help me prepare better for my thesis as early as possible. With extra time that I have during this lockdown, I really want to utilize it to its fullest potential. I want to devote myself more into my studies.
Apart from my classes at PHBS, I also enrolled myself in an online Chinese class. To be able to speak Chinese is one of my goals. Even though PHBS has been providing me with Chinese classes, but I still believe that I will improve more by practicing more.
In my quest for self-improvement, I also watched a lot of YouTube video related to my subject. By having classes and keeping busy every day, it has really motivated me to study harder and make the most of this "extra time" that I have been given. However, this doesn't mean that I didn't take some time out to enjoy myself. I always allocate one hour before sleep to browse the internet or watch a film. On the weekends, my flat-mate and I would always sit down on the sofa in our flat's living room and watch a film to chill out.
For me, this is all about finding the right balance to enjoy as well as to develop myself. It might sound difficult in theory, especially the "develop myself" part, because we always tend to choose things that are convenient and enjoyable. Thus, it is important to exercise self-discipline, and that is the hardest lesson that I've learned from this lockdown period.
The key, I've realized, is making things a habit. I've come to regret considering the initial "free time" that I had as a "holiday". I had missed the opportunity to use this time to develop myself and to learn something new. I believe that making full use of my time every day, and having a tangible goal is the way to go in overcoming this difficult period. Therefore, for me, it's important to use this "free time" as a way to achieve my set goals: to study better, write a good thesis, graduate, and have a successful career in the future.


PHBS cross-border program student