March 23rd 2020 saw history write itself into a bizarre twist of fate. We were ordered by the Government to stop in our tracks. Literally over night.
Once the dust settled and the impact of existing in a pandemic became something we could grasp as a concept, we have all been forced to find meaning and purpose in our much reduced life spaces.
As well as the mind boggling statistics and numbers in relation to deaths and finances across the world; the fact that we have been ordered into a state of lockdown is a once in a lifetime experience (God willing).
I have found that making lists of things to do each day has been the best way to keep myself focussed and remind me of things achieved and things to do.
Anything can go on the list. Including just getting out of bed and eating breakfast… Some days I might write my list after doing the activities… and cross them out immediately just to feel I achieved something that day!
In common with many others I have found great satisfaction in catching up with jobs around my home, baking (time consuming stuff like bread, fudge, wontons), WhatsApp chats (and funnies), reading, writing, walking and running with the dog, online yoga, box sets, zoom drinks with family, phone calls that last twice as long as normal as you have no reason to end them! zoom yoga classes, listening to bird song (they seem so loud this year!) and watching fish own the canal.
The head space you get when there is no pressure to complete things or do anything in a day has allowed conceiving of creative projects – many of which have been completed as I have the time.
Exercise is now a treat, not a chore. I have gone from doing yoga once a week, to three or four times a week with running and exercise app between times.
So in my view this lock down has had some positive impacts. I wanted to find out what others thought so I asked friends, family and contacts in WhatsApp to answer the following questions:
“What are the three things you most enjoy and the three things you most dislike about this lockdown? And what one thing would you keep doing when lockdown eases?”
Thank you to everyone who replied – I have received these fantastic responses!
- Pros – Seeing the boys interact with each other and how well they get on – barely had an argument (if any) which bodes well for their future! Although its been enforced we’ve enjoyed our family time: masses of card games, box sets, etc which is fun. The pace of life is great: no urgency or racing about in the car. Lots of baking. The only obligation each day is to walk the dog and that’s a nice highlight in itself. Loving my garden.
- Cons – Food has been too much an obsession: not enough of it and how to go about getting it. Stressing about meals days in advance. Won’t miss the competitive online shopping. Social life (for all of us). Leaving the house and going to work. Working from home has been easy easy but the office banter isn’t the same!
- The best things about the lockdown are still being able to go into work. Living in such. a lovely environment. Kindness and generosity of others.
- The worst things are not being able to touch family and friends. Seeing businesses fail. Not knowing what the future holds.
- Things I enjoy – Community spirit in my street, WhatsApp groups, Clapping on Thursday evenings.
- Things I dislike – The feeling of a permanent Bank Holiday but the fun wears off. Motivation wanes by week 9! Zoom isn’t the same as face to face!
- Good for the environment, cooking has improved and I have learned new recipes.
- No motivation to do school work and I miss my friends
- I loved the empty roads and the fresh air and the peace of the early days of lockdown. It certainly gives more time to attend to things that have needed doing at home. Amongst the majority of the public there has been a distinct upturn in community spirit. People have been supportive of the NHS, care workers and others doing their best to help. It makes you appreciate all the more those people and the things you miss. The opportunity to get out on the bike and enjoy the countryside.
- Not being able to visit friends and family. Also not being able to receive guests. Queues at supermarkets. People ignoring lockdown rules thus not just putting themselves at greater risk but also the community around them. Not being able to go to concerts, cinema, theatre and other live events. No cafes, bars and restaurants. The endless press coverage trying to find fault with the government. They may not be perfect but they are doing their best but you would never get that impression from listening to the radio or reading the papers.
- I have loved social distancing. Time. Working from home. Online church.
- I have disliked the reasons why these adaptations occurred/became appropriate/the negative impact on others. The deaths. I miss motorcycles, camping, walking in the hills, freedom to visit family.
- More time with kids, Opportunities with use of technology for work, enjoying wfh, online work meetings here to stay with ability to bring people together easily across wide geographical area. More eco friendsly, etc. Time to do gardening
- Impossibility of work and homeschooling, would love to do one or the other but trying to both is not possible.
- Loved the peace and quiet!!! Has been amazing (slightly lessening now 🙁 ) and the chance to do nothing with absolutely no ‘FOMO’! Spending lots of time with the kids.
- I have found it difficult to spend lots of time with the kids in a tiny space with walls of paper! Finding it particularly difficult when they’re bored/in a bad mood/struggling with the IT trying to get school work done – and I inevitably end up feeling like I’m massively failing them. Fears about money / getting the house finished. Not seeing friends – we are all hating that bit.
- Better for the environment, more time for hobbies and more time with the cat.
- It’s boring and I miss my friends.
- I like that nobody I know has caught the virus. I have jobs in the house and garden that have been put off for ages. But see below. Having the time to b ring some technology up to date on the TV and a new laptop. Writing stories for my Grandchildren to read.
- I have missed playing with my Grandchildren. Finding out that Parkinson’s Law is correct. Jobs take forever because there is no pressure. I have always worked best under pressure. The banter in the pubs and THE shop. FREEDOM to go where I want and talk to who I want.
- I have enjoyed spending time with my dog. Reconnecting with my grown up daughters. Discovering that when completely relaxed after 8 weeks of lockdown I can paint my walls free hand, no need for masking tape. Long walks with dogs and friends. Appreciating my house! Chatting to my neighbours. Proesecco on special offer.. Cuckoo calls, swallows in flight and the sun on my face.
- Downsides – best not dwelt on.
I have enjoyed people being around and not rushing off to work. Also getting to speak to new neighbours. I value the kindness of Helen and neighbours who have shopped for me. the Racecourse is beautiful these days. I have enjoyed Zoom meetings and WhatsApp with my family which otherwise would never have occurred. I have enjoyed Sunday afternoons in Strong Light garden. I miss Barry’s Tuesday roast.
- Best things – the wildlife. Ive seen so many bats when sat out on the boat at night and last weekend we watched a cheeky rat sat up the tree eating the leftover bird food. Keeping in touch with relatives more. I’ve taught my Grandad how to video call on WhatsApp and we have a weekly quiz night with family and friends. The quietness of the roads and positive affects on the world/environment as a whole.
- Worst things – Not being able to hug friends or family or drive to see them (my family are in Liverpool). Home schooling – my 5 year old isn’t impressed with me being a teacher and I now realise how hard teachers jobs must be. They deserve a huge pay rise! The loneliness of all this, and the lack of routine and structure. I cant work as I need to look after my Daughter and sometimes the days are very long and tiring.
- Loving the sunshine – that my gardens are all sorted and its only May – not having to get up with an alarm and living most of the time in my PJs!
- Not being able to see my 3 babies, miss our shop and my team so much and that I couldn’t say bye to my friend before she died.
My lockdown has been a little different to most peoples as I’ve not been on Furlough or ‘working from home’.
- The biggest ‘like’ for me is no commuter traffic. The early part of the lockdown, I had virtually the roads to myself. If I ever found a traffic light against me, I’d always be at the front of the queue and it would never take long to change to green as there’d be no one else at the junction My average commute time dropped from around 45-50 minutes to 35 minutes. There were no good days or bad days. They were all the same.
- Another associated ‘like’ was the unexpected, but obvious, upside in the economics of travel. Normal average fuel consumption was around 35 mpg, it’s now 45 mpg. Just because I’m not sitting in heavy traffic and crawling along in low gears. Better fuel consumption and higher average speed. Win Win. It does make you wonder how much time and waste of fuel traffic congestion causes!
- A more positive bank account! Quite a large proportion of my cash flow was in entertainment. Obviously, that’s not happening. No weekly trips to the cinema (with food first). No one/two meals out each week. No Monday night crib. No Wednesday badminton and rehydration therapy. No social pub evening.
- The downsides are obviously easier to find………As with most people, the social interaction has been the biggest -ve. Not seeing friends who are distant (like you guys). Or seeing friends locally but not interacting with them in a normal way is weird.
- Shopping and interacting with strangers. This whole social distancing thing is weird. People diving in to hedges when you walk past them. Even people you know treating you as if you’ve got some horrific disease and diving in to seclusion if you approach.
- And a fairly unique one…..I’m retiring at the end of this week after working for 15 years in a building that is normally occupied by 450 people. Whilst I don’t want a party or anything similar, it would have been nice to wander around the building saying goodbye to those who I’ve worked closely with and have regarded with an element of friendship over the years. Instead, I just won’t be there when/if they eventually come back. That’s not how I expected my working life to end.
I actually enjoyed being put in the position where I had to work on boats as I had nothing else to do!! If we weren’t in lockdown I wouldn’t have done any where near as much. We were very lucky where we ended up being locked down as we were close to water, elsan, shops and lovely walks. The weather on the whole has been brilliant too so I have quite enjoyed lockdown!
- I like my walks. That there are no fixed times to do anything, that we have the WhatsApp group for fun and care.
- I hate not being able to go and do my own shopping, not see family and not going to work.
- Pros – neighbourliness, the kindness and consideration. Improvement in air quality and the proliferation of nature – except whatever is crapping on my lawn!
- Cons – Not being with family and friends, not being in the position to do anything useful eg volunteering, THE CONSERVATIVES
What one thing would you keep after lockdown eases? Answers from all …
- WhatsApp group, not maybe what we eat, but to know how people are in general
- The good weather
- I guess the cleaner air won‘t continue once we get back into our cars, so practically speaking the consideration, friendliness and kindness of those around me.
- Clean air and lack of pollution
- My sense of humour
- continue to support local businesses
- zoom yoga sessions and my new exercise app
- keeping up the running (on my own) and walking (with the kids)
- The increased video contact between seeing friends and family, messages/texts just aren’t the same as seeing someone’s face.
- Solitude of time
- Peace and quiet
- Lack of congestion if people don’t need to go to an office it should become the norm.
- Knowing my daughters as adults
- I’d keep the family time.
Thank you for this – and I have to confess that the third of your cartoons made me laugh so loudly my son had to come and find out what I was laughing at. But my sense of humour has always had that puerile streak, lockdown or not! I have loved not commuting and the way my body clock has settled into a more natural pattern, plus being “home” 2 minutes after I finish work for the day. I have found ways to claim solitude and peace without having to be alone in the house, which I will definitely hang on to. I have enjoyed more time in my garden and definitely being more creative with cooking (largely out of necessity). Quiet skies, les pollution – there are so many positive things. But I have also felt guilty for feeling content, when I know so many people are ill and have lost loved ones and are working in extremely difficult conditions to care for others; and I am deeply concerned about how many of us will be (and already are) in financial hardship as a result of all of this. I feel a growing distaste for the selfishness which is beginning to re-emerge from people who are starting to argue that lockdown is something being “done to them” , has “gone on long enough” and should now be resisted. I have wished I had more of the time that many have too much of – work has been busy and home school is hard, so the books on my list remain largely unread. Too many plastic bags with all those supermarket deliveries – I understand why but I lament it. And most of all, I miss the sea. I haven’t tasted sea spray on my lips since early January and it just feels too long.
Fiona you express your sentiments about this subject much better than I have! :))
It is all a joint effort – I don’t think any of us would be doing this without each other, so for me, it is largely irrelevant who says what and how, as long as together, we are saying it. Fx
Hear hear! X
Thank you for an interesting look at how different people are coping in lockdown. So much time indoors means my senses are heightened on my walks where appreciating the coming of spring has felt like a gift. I have had way too much time in my own company but count my blessings each day. I would like to keep taking my time after lockdown. Most of all I salute everyone who has been working, nursing, providing and caring for us.
Thank you Julia. Your own recent stories of life in lockdown have been wonderful to read:
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