The coronavirus quarantine has taught us all a few life lessons. One of those lessons is learning what we can do without. Many of us have learned a lot about what is important to us and this is a list of what isn’t.
Note: What is a luxury to me is a necessity to you and what is a necessity to me is a luxury to you. The line between the two may have shifted for you, as it has for so many of us. Remember that self-care isn’t just about pampering yourself. It’s also about making sure your basic needs are accounted for. Some “luxuries” are 100% necessary to creating peace of mind. Sometimes you do need to treat yourself or pamper yourself. We don’t all have to live like monks all the time, focusing only on what is necessary. But we can take a harder look at what we need versus what we’ve become accustomed to.
Fast food / junk food
Many of us are cooking at home more and more. While you can order in or go pick up food, having fast food or junk food just isn’t necessary. In fact, it might mean more to you, (or taste better) if you only treat yourself occasionally.
The gym: Now we aren’t saying “don’t work out” or “you don’t need exercise.” What we are saying is paying $150 a month for a gym membership is a luxury. We can exercise at home. You can go for a walk or a run. You can find heavy things around the house to lift for strength training. You only need a piece of floor to stretch and work on your flexibility. More importantly, many gyms and studios are offering online classes now so that you can still have that social contact (that is absolutely necessary) or the guidance and discipline a trainer can offer. It finally occurred to me: why should I pay for a membership to a local dance studio that I’m not entirely happy with when I can pay drop in rates for any studio around the world? The quarantine has actually opened up my fitness possibilities to include the entire world, not just what’s available to me nearby.
Toilet paper: Bear with us. We know what you’re thinking. (“Ew,” probably.) But there are options. Wet wipes work – although even the “flushable” ones aren’t flushable – do NOT flush any sort of wipes down the toilet. You can even use ripped up rags (again, not flushable but definitely washable and can be sanitized – soak in bleach and wash in hot water). You can get a bidet attachment for your toilet. Most mothers know about peri bottles. If you’ve ever had surgery “down there,” where wiping would be painful post-surgery, you may have been given a peri bottle. Even if you can’t find one, you can clean out any squeeze bottle, fill it with warm, soapy water and clean yourself that way without using wasteful paper products.
Hair styling products: I mean, does frizz really matter? Do you really need hair spray or gel? Many styling products are nice to have but not necessary at all.
Bras: Enough said.
Working in office/commuting/traffic: This one is a no brainer as well. I think many employers are learning that a brick-and-mortar office is simply unnecessary for the vast majority of their employees, especially when it comes to office work. We are seeing huge drops in pollution levels because so many people are able to work from home during quarantine. Companies with a big in-office presence are saving thousands of dollars from not having to pay for utilities, office supplies, furniture, etc. I am hoping we see a huge shift after this where more companies will realize how much they could save by paying rent on much smaller office spaces and allowing more people to work from home. In some industries, there’s no need for an open office at all.
· Networking meetings
· Rushing around all the time
· Working in the office
Sports ball sports: This is one of those things that I can live without but you may not be able to. All I need are movies and maybe some good series here and there. I cannot live without car racing for example, but you might die without football and not give a flip about racing. To each her own.
TV: While many of us rely on TV for entertainment, especially in quarantine, I can say with 100% confidence that nobody needs reality TV shows. I don’t think cable news networks are necessary either because there are so many other ways to get information these days. I’ve found myself getting very bored, turning off the TV and reading a new book. Many of my friends have also turned off their televisions to create something instead of consuming something. I made face masks for people. Others are making art or music or writing. Or learning new things, whether that be to further their careers or to just expand their knowledge.
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