Why It's Great To Slow Down...
Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you're all staying well today.
Today is the first day I am not working due to being offered furlough from work. In the throes of the Coronavirus pandemic, the government has introduced a scheme whereby businesses can choose to 'furlough' their employees - we are offered up to 80% of our wages in exchange for temporarily not working, as businesses weather the financial storm imposed upon them during this crisis. Instead of my company paying 80% of my wages, the government pays, in order to help myself and others avoid redundancy.
What would your response be to this news; that you weren't going to be allowed to work for the foreseeable, but that 80% of your wages would be covered? Mine was a mixture. I had already been struggling with staying in the house due to the lockdown the UK is currently stuck in, and the weekends have been feeling like bygone school summer holidays, where my parents were working or busy, and I had to find a way to entertain myself for hours on end. Last weekend, when my boyfriend started a project out in the garden, I was faced with the uncomfortable reality that I had to find something to do for two whole days that didn't involve going outside or seeing friends. Work was the only thing really keeping me busy, and I was glad to come back from a few days off on Thursday to keep me distracted.
So of course, I felt fear and worry. How would I find a way to endlessly occupy my time, stay stimulated and avoid falling in to bad habits, like never bothering to actually brush my hair? I also felt insecure - why was I, one of the select few to be furloughed, being chosen? Was I not as important to the company, or as good at my job, as other people? Of course, it was made clear to me that this definitely wasn't the case, and that this was purely to retain me for the future when the company is able to run like normal again.
So then to the crux of the matter; what should I do to occupy my time? Being someone who struggles a lot with free time, gets easily bored and constantly feels the need to be 'productive', it was important for me to get a plan of action in place. I had images of spreadsheets, projects and mastered hobbies, fantasies of enterprises built from my bedroom....
But maybe this is a golden opportunity to learn how to be 'idle', slow down, and just enjoy free time. The Queen, in her speech broadcasted last night, said that this was the perfect opportunity to stop, reflect, and slow down for us all. We spend so much of our time rushing from one task to the next. It helps us feel successful, in control, and enviable to others. For myself, I am constantly annoyed that I never seem to have time to immerse myself in something, just because I feel like it. Especially with creative pursuits, they often get pushed to the side in favour of more socially acceptable endeavours, like going to the gym, working a side hustle, or 'drinks with friends'. Ugh. How boring.
So, my worry and unease at 'free' time has turned in to excitement at a golden opportunity. My goal for this period is to have no goal. Take on hobbies that I enjoy and make me happy, and see what comes of it. Having spent most of my 20's only doing things that end in something tangible to show for it, part of this journey will involve actually trying to find out what I enjoy for fun! I'm excited for the opportunity.
I appreciate that I am incredibly lucky. I am fit and well, and I am still able to pay my rent and put food on the table. I am incredibly fortunate that I can afford to have the luxury of focussing on myself. If you are someone who finds yourself unemployed and are worrying about money, my heart goes out to you - I hope that you are able to find some even footing where you can also find time to slow down yourself and spend some time 'enjoying'.
Stay safe and well, all - how are you enjoying the unexpected free time we now have?