Living in lockdown: a few tips to help you get through it positively!
Measures have been imposed across swathes of Europe, as well as many other countries in the world. It feels as if the entire planet has ground to a halt in order to slow down and stop the spread of the virus. During this unprecedented crisis, our thoughts are often with the health workers on the frontline who are devoting their time and energy to fighting Covid-19. They have all our support.
But we often think about you, too! All of you who have to stay at home to stay safe. And if you do go out, it's not the same as before... Now you have to apply social distancing and follow strict hygiene measures, of course. But we're not going to talk about that, as you already know the rules – and just how important they are.
Rather than talking about handwashing and safe distances, we'd like to share some ideas to help you get through this exceptional time positively! Above all, we'd like to underline the importance of staying OPTIMISTIC! As the French historian and writer Jacques Bainville once said, "optimism is the faith of revolutions."
So let's take a look at ways to make this difficult time a positive time!
How the Lamazuna team is living through the lockdown
The entire Lamazuna team is also on lockdown. It's a situation that we've never experienced before, but we've done all we can to adapt and adjust, so we can get through it as well as possible!
At Lamazuna, working from home is nothing new. It's something we were already doing on an occasional basis, especially when we needed a calm environment in order to concentrate 100% on a specific subject. Now it's simply become something that everyone is doing, every day of the week! However, we have made sure that colleagues continue to stay in touch. The Communications department still has a coffee break every morning – only now it's by video call! And the Innovation team does the same thing when it stops for a daily afternoon snack.
We've also made the decision to work one hour less per day during this time, to make it easier for people to balance their work and personal lives. This gives parents more time for home-schooling and other activities with their children. For those employees who don't have children, it takes the pressure off and lets them have more time for themselves.
The lockdown has given us something we never had enough of: time!
It's only too easy to see nothing but the negatives in this complicated situation, but there really are positives you can focus on – starting with spare time! At last, you can enjoy those pastimes that you're usually too busy to enjoy! At Lamazuna, we have a few suggestions for various things you can do that will help make this situation easier.
First of all, stay in touch with those you care about. Take advantage of this extra time to call your parents, grandparents or friends. We live in the age of technology – and this enables us to contact others in lots of different ways. In fact, over the past few days and weeks, people have been catching up with each other more than ever. And that has to be a good thing!
There are a few fitness lovers in the Lamazuna team who are slightly addicted to exercise, so they're having to find solutions! Yoga, meditation and at-home workouts are perfect for people who can't stay still for long. You could also get creative and do some DIY. One Lamazunian actually built a climbing wall in her garden!
All of us at Lamazuna are finding time to let our minds rest – or escape. We've been reading, drawing, and even keeping a "lockdown diary" to do some writing again! This is a good time to try out new recipes – and why not get the children involved? Many of us have been using board games to keep children occupied and their brains active, as well as doing some baking to develop their manual skills (and, with a bit of luck, produce something delicious!).
Finally, let's not forget that it's important to be bored sometimes, to rest and do nothing. This period of isolation is giving us time that we should use well, but let's not put pressure on ourselves either! We wish you all the best during these strange times. Stay strong, stay safe, and stay optimistic!
Six ideas to keep busy at home, with your family or on your own
Read, learn and discover
What better time than this quiet time to get a bit of culture? And if you think that's not possible when you're stuck inside all day, think again! There are lots of cultural institutions that are showing exhibits or streaming performances online, including the Paris Opera.
Swan Lake, Don Giovanni, The Barber of Seville… Now many people who would not usually be able to go and see these beautiful shows can watch them online instead!
There are also museums that have decided to offer virtual tours, including New York's MoMA and the Prado Museum in Madrid. Many museums and galleries around the world can now be visited online. It just goes to show that being closed up at home doesn't have to stop you from opening up your mind!
For all those who'd like to use this time to learn more about zero waste, we've created an online zero waste guide. If you'd like to go even further, we've also put together a list of books (in French!) to help you go zero waste.
And remember, you don't have to go online to get some culture! Why not go offline and disconnect from the real world? Maybe you've always said that one day you'll read some of the great classics? Now there's no excuse not to! George Orwell, Jane Austen, Joseph Heller, Alice Walker, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charlotte Brontë, Oscar Wilde, Lewis Carroll... And the list goes on!
Cook something you've never cooked before!
Since you don't have the same time constraints anymore, why not get creative in the kitchen? We imagine that you're usually so busy (especially if you have children to look after) that most of your meals have to be quick and easy. But now they don't have to be! Have you kept your grandmother's recipe book? If so, why not flick through it and see if you find anything that takes your fancy? And if you don't have a collection of family recipes to hand, head straight for the internet, where you'll find countless free recipes online! Plus, there are tutorials to help you learn more about vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian cooking. You're spoilt for choice!
Get some exercise
If you don't usually have much time to cook, you probably don't have much time to work out either. But summer is just around the corner... It isn't that difficult to get your body summer-ready from home, so why not start working on it now, while you can? All you need is an exercise mat!
If you really feel that you can't exercise properly without some fitness accessories, try finding some DIY solutions at home. For example, if you want to lift weights but can't get dumbbells, try using bags of rice, cans of soup or cartons of milk instead! It's all very zero waste too! Again, you'll find lots of helpful tutorials on the internet, with simple and effective exercises.
There are various smartphone apps that will help you to monitor your progress. You'll be able to see the results of your efforts after a few days or weeks. Exercise is a great way to clear your head. You know the saying, "healthy body, healthy mind"? There's a lot of truth to it!
Take care of yourself
Getting some exercise is one way of taking care of yourself – but it's not the only one. There are other, gentler ways that may not give you a toned body, but will make you feel better in yourself.
These may be unsettling times, but try not to unsettle your routine too much. To help you get through isolation, it's important that you continue to live as normal a life as possible. And that means sticking to regular sleeping times and remembering to set your alarm in the morning!
Just because you're not getting out much, it doesn't mean you should let yourself go! Keep eating healthily, cook tasty meals that are good for you, and always have a bottle of water close by so you can keep your body hydrated.
Last but not least, why not practise some meditation and relaxation techniques? It's only natural that you should feel anxious occasionally, but don't let that anxiety take over! Give yourself some relaxing me-time to calm your brain – because it really needs to switch off a little. You could even indulge in a massage with some cocoa butter – the perfect pampering product!
Enjoy some family time
Another positive side to this time of isolation is that it's making us even more aware of the importance of having people around us – whether physically (because the whole family is in lockdown) or virtually. The lockdown may be keeping people apart, but it's also bringing them closer together!
Today's modern technologies enable us to stay in touch with friends and family all over the world, so make the most of this time to catch up on news, share a good meal (online, of course!) or have a video call. Family members don't always make the time to talk to each other, and now you can make up for that! After all, if you don't do it now, when will you do it?
Because you have more time to talk, this could also be a good time to discuss things close to your heart, things that you believe in, things you want to change. If you're committed to living a zero-waste lifestyle and would like to bring your family on board, this might just be the perfect opportunity to bring up the subject.
It's difficult to imagine being under lockdown without being able to play games! For adults and children alike, it's another great way to pass the time. And we're talking about board games – so no screens! Games let you enjoy fun and enjoyable moments with others, and are a wonderful way to take your mind off more serious matters.
There are board games that seem to have been around forever, but are still just as popular, such as Scrabble and Monopoly. But there are also educational games with an ecological theme that are ideal for younger children, to encourage them to learn about and respect the environment from an early age. These games can even be good for adults too, as they enrich their knowledge about environmental issues. In France, there's a website called Ma Green Planète. It has games and activities for children, where they become superheroes who save the world from the evil Dark, who pollutes the planet. Through different challenges and creative activities, it teaches them how to fight pollution and global warming.
The upsides of the lockdown…
Spectacular positive impacts on ecosystems
When people go into lockdown, there's inevitably a drastic reduction in human and industrial activities. So this uprecedented period is providing a moment of respite for threatened ecosystems, enabling them to take back possession of areas that we usually overexploit. There has been an almost-immediate impact on the environment: we can already see incredible positive effects in several parts of the world.
In China, and now in Italy too, the huge cloud of air pollution – caused by nitrogen dioxide and carbon dioxide emissions – has dissipated. So the first good news is that the planet can breathe better!
Again in Italy, in Venice, fish have returned to the city's canals. And in Cagliari – one of the most important ports in Italy, on the island of Sardinia – instead of seeing ferries and cargo ships, you may well spot dolphins!
In France, people can already feel the initial effects of the lockdown on the environment. There's much less noise pollution – instead, you can hear the birds singing. It's already enough to make you stop and think about our environmental impact and how we might reduce it.
Being in lockdown gives us more time to think about our relationships with others. And while in theory (and in practice!), it does cut us off from other people, it actually brings us together as well.
Across France, people have been launching initiatives via social media, aimed at supporting and helping each other, be it among neighbours or among people who live in the same town or city.
Since the start of the lockdown, every evening, at 8 p.m., French people have been taking to their windows and balconies. Why? To express their support and applaud all the workers who are at the frontline of the coronavirus outbreak. It may seem a small, insignificant gesture, but it's one that means a lot, by showing recognition and respect for the nurses, doctors, police, firefighters and all the professions with an important role to play in this pandemic. Every little counts. It's the same with zero waste...
Support groups have also been set up via social media and between neighbours. There are people who have volunteered to provide services, such as doing the shopping for more vulnerable members of the community, looking after the children of healthcare workers – or even the animals of people taken into hospital. And of course, there have been lots of requests for donations to support people who have found themselves in increasingly difficult situations, and who need help more than ever.
In France, you can go onto the website https://covid19.reserve-civique.gouv.fr/ to register your organization/group and specify your needs. Or you can become a volunteer and take on missions.
This could also be a good time to think about how we trade and exchange things and to try new ways that are more community-based and better for our planet. What about bartering, for example? Use this extra time to sort through your cupboards and wardrobes. Put aside the things that you don't use anymore, but that someone else would be delighted to have! It's incredibly simple. In France, you can join the MyTroc community, for example, via its online bartering site, where you can place ads and access all the services.
By now you'll have understood that despite all the negativity surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, there have been some upsides.
First of all, it's made us face our responsibilities. Since the lockdown began, our planet has been able to breathe again. It's been the biggest, clearest sign that it is time to change the way we consume. We need to live more responsibly and reduce our waste as much as possible.
The pandemic has also given us more time – something that we usually don't have enough of. So make the most of it for yourself and your family. Get moving, meditate, have some fun. And, above all, enjoy precious moments with the people you care about most.
Finally, once this lockdown is over, we mustn't go back to our old, bad habits. We can live and consume differently. It's perfectly possible!
PS: have you made any new resolutions during the lockdown? Let us know in the comments!