Love Lockdown: Finding your passion in lockdown

  • Natalie Winterton

A short article about finding my passion in a global lockdown

During lockdown like many other employees in the UK, I was placed full time on the furlough scheme. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one feeling slightly terrified about having so much time on my hands and not knowing what to do with myself.

My job is a huge part of my identity. It happily got me out of bed at 5:30 am 5 days a week and my fulfilment came from the fact that I was helping others to reach the next big step in their career. My job gave me a space to collaborate creatively and learn from my incredible colleagues.
Without it, I felt lost.

There was a looming pressure to ‘make the most’ of the time I’d been given. To wake up at 5:30 am 5 days a week to keep a routine, learn new things, pick up new skills all for the sake of saying I had done something.
So, I said “no”! I made a promise to myself that if I was to do something, it would be because it excited me, ignited a passion, healthily challenged me. Not because society was telling me to fill the time.
Here’s where that led me -

1. A better relationship with my bed.
It may seem small, but when the blue days were looming and my mental health was low, having a lie-in or a duvet day without guilt gave me a way to escape.
Before, I’d feel like sleeping in was somehow wasting the day when in reality, it was my body telling me to take some time away from the world.

2. Bonding with family (from a safe distance)
My Grandmother was a dressmaker from the moment she could thread a sewing needle. I’d always loved her handmade garments and promised myself that I’d pick it up one day, but it felt like there was never the time. Well, I definitely couldn’t say that now. Here I am, 5 garments in with a skill I plan to pay forward to anyone who will listen!

3. Becoming more comfortable with myself
Before this, I dreaded long periods of time alone. For someone who is always on the go, the thought of stopping and being alone with your thoughts and feelings can be scary.
I made a plan to continue exercising with the help of a friend on FaceTime as it got me up and out of bed and gave me a chance to have a good chat while we sweated in the heat, promising myself that I’d tackle my Mental Health as it was happening - to deal with my emotions in real-time, instead of closing off to the world when things got tough.
And that’s it. I didn’t bake banana bread (but did do some birthday cupcakes). I didn’t complete 5k runs or hikes or learn to play the guitar, but I did what made me happy and in my own time. And, of course, spent a lot of time with my dog. I think she will struggle more than I will when it’s time to go back to the office!

Time is precious, I’m lucky that I love where I work and for my good and bad days, I get to invest myself in things that ignite my passion.

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