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Four Things I’ve Learned I Can Live Without Because of COVID-19

May 5, 2020

Our world has changed so dramatically since the beginning of the year, it is hard to remember what our ‘regular’ daily lives used to look like. With global supply chains changing and our daily habits being altered to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19, our consumption habits and patterns of behaviour have also changed. 

Since I’ve been spending so much more time at home, I’ve noticed some interesting changes in my daily routines and habits. These changes are all directly related to the global pandemic we find ourselves in. I know some of these habits might change once our ‘normal’ routines are restored, but I wanted to document some of them as they are now. I’m not writing this post to say you should be depriving yourself of certain things at this time. There’s probably already enough in your life that has changed that is beyond your control. This post is really just about me noticing, “hey, I guess I didn’t need this thing I’ve had as part of my life for a long time after all”.

Makeup

For the record, I am not a makeup guru. I’ve never known how to apply makeup properly. I don’t derive any joy from transforming my face into a beautiful iridescent masterpiece. Don’t even get me started on contouring or baking my face. It’s like a foreign language to me. It’s just not my jam. (I’m honestly just jealous that I never learned the proper skills).

So, I wasn’t surprised that my (reasonably) minimal makeup routine has gone to the wayside since I started working from home in the middle of March. My normal makeup routine for work included foundation, concealer, brows, eyeshadow and mascara. Now, it’s moisturizer only. And I love it. My skin is also getting a chance to breathe, which is a nice bonus. It’s going to be a hard ask to get me to start putting makeup back on every single day when I have to go back to work in an office environment. 

It’s also been an interesting experiment to become reacquainted with my face sans makeup. I definitely don’t love everything about my makeup-free face and I know makeup could help ‘improve’ those areas. But, there is no way you could convince me to put a full face of makeup on right now.

The flip side of this is that I’ve been diving into my very small collection of lipsticks and giving them a whirl once a week (Friday usually). This has been an interesting change because I never wear lipstick. Literally never. I’m the person who buys lipstick because I want to be the person who wears lipstick. I’m also convinced that I have weirdly shaped lips and lipstick just looks weird on me. But, since it’s just me who will see it, I’ve been giving it a whirl. 

It’s been fun experimenting with lipstick. It doesn’t feel as onerous as a feel face of makeup does. I think that’s because, unlike a full face of makeup that I’m doing to fit some kind of professional business workplace norm, playing with lipstick is just for me.

Social Interaction

If this pandemic has proven anything to me, it’s that I could not be more of an introvert if I tried. I saw something on Twitter a couple weeks back and I’m sure you’ve seen something similar. 

Shoutout to @The76KProject for being my muse for this post.

CANNOT RELATE. I am exactly the introvert I thought I was. Actually, it’s almost frightening how confirmed my identity as an introvert has become. People are (rightly so) panicking and stressing about their lack of social interaction and in-person connection because of social distancing and self-isolation measures due to the pandemic. I am having the opposite reaction. I feel no greater joy than when there is no reason for me to leave the house or interact with other human beings. 

Part of this is because of where I live, in relation to where my social network lives. I live very far away from everyone I would voluntarily want to socialize with (all four of them). Therefore, my baseline level of socializing hasn’t really changed that much. It’s pretty much the same as it was before we all had to start social distancing and spending time in our homes. 

But, even if I had a ‘normal’ social life (whatever the heck that means or looks like), I still would be pretty fine with not being able to socialize with people. I don’t really understand socializing. I’m terrible at social etiquette. And I’d pretty much always rather just be at home.

In-Person Office

Before my current job, I worked remotely for about a year and a half. It was a big transition going from that, back into an office environment (thank you, anxiety). When we got the order at work to start working from home once COVID-19 hit, I practically ran out of my workplace to set up my home office. 

I know working from home, especially in this situation is difficult for a lot of people (if you even have the option to work from home). But, I love working from home and this situation has reminded me just how much. Since I started working from home, I’ve worked out almost every single day, spent more time on hobbies like reading, knitting and blogging and generally felt much less stress and anxiety than I do when working in an office environment. 

I’m going to make it my mission to try to incorporate more work from home time once this temporary order is over.

ONLINE Shopping

 I don’t know about you, but I haven’t bought a single piece of clothing (or even done any online window shopping) since the beginning of March.  As soon as everything shut down in Ontario (around the middle of March), my online shopping completely ceased. Overnight. Obviously, that’s because I had much more immediate things to be worrying about and buying a new piece of clothing was not high on my list.

Fun fact, I had a pair of second-hand dress pants delivered to my house the day I started working from home and I completely forgot about them until a week ago. It is fascinating to me how quickly our priorities change when we’re forced into it.

I’m not new to shopping bans but this one is the first since I became a minimalist that was imposed on me by forces outside my control (in comparison to the shopping ban I made myself do in 2018). 

The fact that I can live without online shopping is not a new realization for me. But it has been a nice reminder that it’s not something I need to do. It’s an easy thing to be able to do when I’m looking to add a piece item to my closet. But my closet can survive without any new additions for the foreseeable future since I’m just wearing yoga pants and sweaters every day anyway. 


None of this is particularly revolutionary. I’m sure you’ve been experiencing similar shifts in your habits and routines. I do just want to say that everything on this list that I’ve ‘given up’ comes from a place of privilege. I am privileged to be able to work from home during this chaotic time (and therefore not need to wear makeup). I am privileged to not need to buy any new clothes right now because it means I already have enough in my closet to make due with.

I always know that calling myself a minimalist is a privilege. But it’s even more readily apparent when the world has turned upside down.

Have you started to live without something because of the pandemic that previously was a big part of your life? How was the process of letting it go? Let me know in the comments!

Image Credit: Philipp Berndt on Unsplash 

  • Nomadcareers May 16, 2020 at 12:50 pm

    I never got into makeup craze. In all my 30 years of life, all I’ll put on is slight moisturizer!
    And I am so thankful for it. I can’t imagine the monies I have saved 😀
    I’m glad that you’re liking these new changes though.

    • Britt May 20, 2020 at 7:28 am

      I’m even on the light end of makeup and it still eats like 20 minutes of my morning. That’s so awesome you keep it simple!

  • Julie May 16, 2020 at 8:34 am

    Great points! I can relate to the mental benefits of being physically away from other people. Admittedly, I have bought some things online- a little folding table for jigsaw puzzles and a Kalimba. The Kalimba is a new hobby, and puzzles have only been a vacation pastime until now. I’m enjoying entertainment at home, rather than the former mindless “busyness” which was my hobby pre-Corona. I have omitted makeup since working from home. Love saving time in the mornings, and the fact I don’t need to buy more for a while. Clothes are more comfy, and I’ve donated some that I no longer want. Groceries and meals have been simpler. I’ve enjoyed some “sunset picnic” outings with my Mom, who lives with me. Life is slower at the moment, with fewer obligations. Saying a “guilt free” no to social gatherings will be hard when things reopen, though.

    • Britt May 20, 2020 at 7:31 am

      Hi Julie, thanks for sharing! I’m so glad you’ve been able to live a slower life right now with no guilt. This is also something I’ve been able to enjoy. You can’t feel guilty about not going out when no one can go out!

  • Mrs. Sweetspot May 7, 2020 at 10:11 am

    The one thing I discovered I need? My office chair! I sneaked that out in April :).
    I live in a tiny space- any thoughts on creating separation between work and home?

    • Britt May 15, 2020 at 1:42 pm

      This is such a good one! I worked from home for a while without my office chair and it really impacted my body. Luckily, I was able to grab it a couple weeks later and it has made such a massive difference in my body. I currently have a separate (very small) bedroom that I’m working out of, but I used to work from home in my living room a couple of years ago. I know this sounds weird but my best tip is to try and physically put away your work at the end of the day if you can. I just had a work laptop, so I stashed it away in my desk drawer at the end of the day and that signified that my work day was over and could put it out of my mind. If you’re working at home with others, I would recommend investing in a pair of noise cancelling headphones (they don’t have to be super expensive, just over the ear is important for comfort). I already had some from work because I need them for my job, but they have been such a godsend with my partner now working from home since he spends most of his day on calls. I hope this helps! Thanks so much for reading.

  • Daisy May 7, 2020 at 7:47 am

    This was so good. I was nodding along to everything (and I’m not even an introvert really, but spending long periods of time alone was already something I was doing anyway like you pre-pandemic).

    As I mentioned to you on IG, I’m giving up a lot of shoes. That’s always been a category that tripped me up on my simple living journey (like you with the lipstick, I think I want to be that person with the cool shoes). I’ve been wearing only 2 pairs these days–1 for in the house and 1 for going to my essential job–and I’ve been learning I still like myself without the many extra pairs.

    Most of my makeup (still some eyebrow powder for work) and online shopping (does it count if I ordered a kombucha starter from a friend’s friend through Facebook who lives 5 km away? lol) have also not been part of my routine.

    I’ve been considering what parts of normal I’ll actually want to get back to after all this, and it’s lovely to see you on a similar vein. Thankful for this little silver lining during a crazy scary time. Stay well, Britt!

    • Britt May 7, 2020 at 7:56 am

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Daisy! It seems like everyone is more on the same page than I thought. I guess that what’s happens with a global event like this.

      I love that you bought some kombucha starter! I’ve been wanting to make my own kombucha for ages.

      Stay well, Daisy.

  • Lyn May 6, 2020 at 12:34 am

    Hey there! I stop my online shopping too. Makeup? Don’t even remember it exist. I do use a face cream & sunscreen. Daily clothing is PJs.

    Since I am still paid 100%, it helps me to give more, and my spending is now more meaningful despite the same in numbers.

    • Britt May 6, 2020 at 7:47 am

      I love your perspective! It’s so great that you’ve refocused your spending right now on helping others. Thanks for reading!!

  • Clare May 5, 2020 at 10:04 pm

    I have discovered many of the same things! I have barely left my home (in NZ) for the last 6 weeks and I have only worn makeup on a handful of occasions, most of them in the last week, just to remember what it felt like! I did discover that I really missed mascara, but nothing else! And I am exactly the introvert I’ve always known I am. Unless you give me a reason to leave, I am quite happy in my house with my bubble mates and pets and books and Netflix. I do miss seeing my flute students face-to-face because Zoom lessons are exhausting, and I have done quite a bit of internet shopping in the last 6 weeks because I’ve finally (FINALLY!!!!) put on weight after having my gallbladder out a couple of years ago, and none of my winter clothes fit me anymore! But it’s all second hand off NZ’s e-bay-type site, as were most of the birthday presents I bought for my daughter! We discovered a treasure trove of second hand concert merch and she now has a collection of One Direction and Taylor Swift t-shirts 😀 And what Laura said above, no more jeans for me!!! It’s all dresses and leggings with stretchy waistbands from here on out! Loved reading your thoughts on this 😀

    • Britt May 6, 2020 at 7:49 am

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Clare! It’s so nice to know we aren’t the only ones you enjoy being inside our own bubbles. It’s super cool you found some second hand concert merch, your daughter must be excited! Thanks for reading!

  • Pam Walker May 5, 2020 at 8:55 pm

    Right on Britt!
    From this time & space we are in, it is allowing us to edit our lives and emerge who we need to be, our authentic self. I must say, discovery has been freeing. From this I have found how liberating it is not to have to be social. I too find joy in not having to be around others. I am & can be comfortable in being alone. It is freeing to not always be in the motion of doing, but in the power of just simply being, being still – being present in the moment. For me, it has aslo reduced the pressures of others & their interpretations of how I should look or be!
    Speaking of looking, am finding wearing minimal makeup to none is absolutely liberating including letting the gray hair emerge. No one has commented on me looking different but that could be working in a hospital hiding behind masks and PPE!
    The norms as we knew them are proving different from what our perceptions and society pressures are. This may be the best new normal yet.
    Thank you Britt for being authentic and sharing with us. So appreciate you. Stay well!

    • Britt May 5, 2020 at 8:59 pm

      Thank you for your thoughts Pam, they really resonated with me. I think you’re absolutely right. This situation is helping us realize who/what we need in our lives and how much in our lives isn’t what we actually want. I noticed you said you work in a hospital – thank you for the work that you are doing, always but especially right now. And thanks for reading!

  • Hailey May 5, 2020 at 6:54 pm

    I realized how much energy other people take. Now I do work part time so I probably talk to 3-4 people a work day. I do have virtual coffee etc with friends and family, but I could stay home like this forever! And make up – I can’t believe how much time I save with this simple beauty routine.

    • Britt May 5, 2020 at 7:22 pm

      Oh my gosh yes. People are such energy vampires. I used to be flat out exhausted at the end of the work day from having to manage other people’s emotions (as well as my own). I have so much more energy now that I’m working from home. I never want to go back! Thanks for reading Hailey!

  • Laura Day May 5, 2020 at 11:30 am

    This resonates so much with me. Make-up and clothes, especially. I always thought I dressed for myself but, since working from home, I’m just dressing in much simpler outfits and not really too bothered about what it looks like. Comfort is key! And I’ve realised I’m definitely not a jeans woman 😂 Give me something with stretch that let’s my waist expand, please!

    • Britt May 5, 2020 at 7:21 pm

      Yes!! I used to think the same thing about clothes but realized recently I’ve been trying to force myself into the business professional mold (which I hate as it turns out). Give me yoga pants any day of the week! Thanks for reading Laura!

    Hey! I'm Britt. I write about living a tiny, simple, intentional life. Because life doesn't need to be lived big.

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