POPSUGAR UK columnist Jada Sezer, is the definition of a multi-hyphenate. The British model and social media influencer is also an actor, content creator, writer, and equality advocate — with a master's degree in child psychology and over 290K followers on Instagram, a platform she uses to inspire, empower, and talk about important issues such as gender, sexuality, body positivity, mental health, and child well-being. Sezer runs marathons — in her underwear no less — hosts podcasts, poses for top brands like Adidas, Mango, and L'Oréal, works with UN Women UK as an ambassador, and, most recently, launched a YouTube docuseries titled Instant Fame. Ahead, she shares how she's looking after her mental health whilst adjusting to the new "normal", as lockdown restrictions ease around the UK amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
As the world starts to open up during the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown rules loosen, so will your behaviour. It's easy to slip back into your old routine — the returning to the long slog to and from work, running on nothing but coffee all day. But I personally refuse to go back to the old way I ran my life. Here are some important new habits I've picked up before in an effort to take care of my mental health but have now reformed and made a priority to practice fully as I step back into the soon-to-be fast-paced world again.
1. Connecting with the people I love more often.
This pandemic has shown me how fragile life is, which has led to more intimate conversations and closeness with my friends and family. Taking the time to fully invest in deeper, more meaningful relationships with people you love and trust will give you a greater sense of security that lots of surface-level friendships won't. Having a strong support network who can offer trusted advice helps you to thrive in a world where so much is uncertain.
2. Reclaiming a work/life balance.
Many of our productivity levels rose whilst working from home because we could make lunch instead of wasting time wandering to the local supermarkets. We weren't tired from the long commute, and if we wanted a quick midday siesta or wait in for a parcel, we could! As most of the world ground to halt, many of us clocked off at 6 p.m., and the weekends were ours. For many of us, our overall quality of life increased because it hasn't felt like Groundhog Day, all day every day. We had Friday nights for Zoom catchups or takeaways, and then a full rest and reset on Sunday. This much-needed variation has allowed me to show up and dedicate my full attention rather than being half-hearted or feeling rushed or tired.
3. Falling in love with the simple moments.
Whether it's been cooking your favourite dish, or having a cinema night under the duvet, we've all spent much more time at home and have a new found appreciation as our homes quickly became our safe bubble. I, for one, have grown my own crops and transformed my small little outdoor concrete patio into a slice of heaven — my little safe haven. In this safe zone the simple moments held an even more powerful sense of appreciation. When you put love, time, attention, and energy into something, you can definitely feel it.
4. Maintaining boundaries.
People know this is my favourite word because its sets the tone for most things going forward, including how you want to return back into the world. Delivering a clear "no" when the world starts opening back up and as more duties fall into your lap will allow you to manage and maintain control of your life without feeling too overwhelmed of burned out before doing so.
5. Walking in nature.
My daily walks were my special, sacred one hour a day that I valued so much. When you're not absentmindedly walking past the world in a rush to the next destination but rather stretching it out because you don't want to return home quite yet, it gives you the chance to really soak in nature and your surroundings. It also provided me with a sense of calm and perspective, that even in a pandemic the trees will grow and life goes on.
6. Supporting my local community.
As travel wasn't permitted and cooking at home increased, my local grocery store saw me more then my own family. Not only did we build an affiliation but equally I was also putting my pennies into independent stores that are on the brink of extinction from the giant conglomerates. Win-win. Shopping locally, I also discovered new shops in my area which I would have walked past before. As the lockdown eases and we start to shop again, take time to explore and vote with your money.
7. Keeping Up With Hobbies.
During lockdown, I fell back in love with art, painting, and sketching. I created care packages with carefully crafted cards of joy for all of my friends. Drawing was my escape and a hobby that I didn't make time for before, but it's meditative and gets you out of your head (not to mention helps time fly!). Having a hobby and blocking out structured time for it also helps maintain that ever elusive work/life balance.
8. Taking stock.
It's easy to be busy for busies sake, but do we ever stop to think, 'Is this really what I want to be doing?' For me, hitting pause allowed for a long moment of clarity and a chance to refocus on my goal and my purpose. This reset time allowed me to reassess where I am going and if there are any changes I want to make with my current situation. This is a practice that is especially hard to do when you have a packed schedule and constant distractions but one I will carve out time for regularly in the future, so that I am wisely focused.
9. Letting go.
We have all grieved during this pandemic, whether for a loved one or a life we once knew. The pandemic has swept us off our feet, and there's nothing we could really do about it. Letting go allowed me to accept and lean into the uncomfortableness of the unknown, which then let there be space for something new to enter. For example, instead of worrying when I would work next, I rolled with the tides because that's all I could do.
10. Honouring your needs.
This sounds obvious but the pandemic, and the resulting virus, has shown us more than ever that our bodies — and in turn, our responses — are considerably different from person to person. This also means we will all be responding to reentering back differently, too. Feelings of guilt, pressure, angst, and fear may be true for you yet not for others, this is fine. We have just spent nearly four months in lockdown — this new lifestyle will take time readjust to.