On the evening of Monday 24th 2020, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, Boris Johnson finally announced that the UK would go into lock down for three weeks, allowing people to only leave the house for exercise, emergencies, once a week food shops and to walk the dog. This essential move has been made in Britain in the hopes of tackling the quickly spreading coronavirus.
Although this may seem drastic, the British people were warned and, unlike many global countries, were given a chance to prevent this “extreme” move by being told to stay away from other people. Yet still, during a time when a deadly virus is being so easily passed on, parks were rammed, beaches were packed and the mountain range Snowdonia saw more visitors than ever. People may feel invincible or believe it is “just the flu”, but the main point about staying away from others is to protect the vulnerable. It may only be the flu for one person, but for another it could be death. And who wants "just the flu" anyway??
Whilst politicians across the world were slamming people for being out and about, Boris Johnson still dilly-dallied over a vital decision to put the UK under lock down, prioritising the economy over people. But he has finally pushed the right decision on people and as somebody who has been on lockdown in Spain (the fourth largest country to be effected by Covid-19) for coming up to a week and a half, here is some advice on how to cope in the next few weeks.
It’s completely understandable to feel panicky in this scenario, especially when dealing with the sensationalism that so much of the media is throwing out. But this fear will die down. Panic buying has already slowed down and we all now know there are enough supplies for us all (perhaps people got bored of building the biggest toilet paper fort they could?)
Spain went in lock down about a week before the UK. I won’t pretend that the first couple of days I didn’t feel uneasy, because I did. But the anxiety very quickly faded and turned into hope that in a few weeks, we would be about five steps closer to this being over. Media in Spain has turned from scary statistics to the usual celebrity gossip after just one week and we are pretty much just waiting to go outside. Remember, the whole world is in this together!
Get closer to people
This may sound counterintuitive but being in isolation is the perfect time to socialise a little more – just not in physical person. Technology has never been more advanced and so we can video, phone, text our loved ones. If you aren’t having to go out to work, then you have that tiny bit more time to catch up with people and see how everyone is doing. It’s important to check on people during this time and it's good for your mental health too.
If you live with others, and are all on lock down together, have a games night to lift the spirits a bit. If you have a few bored games, get them out. Or you could even make your own pub quiz – this one’s great because even if you live alone you can send them out to people via email, as long as they promise not to cheat. One key piece of advice, whatever you are doing together, is try not to argue. We are all a little bit tetchy right now but arguing just makes a stressful situation even worse, especially when you are stuck inside together for three weeks.
Learn a new skill
Pick up that dusty guitar. Make some sourdough bread. Learn to juggle... This is perfect time to get creative, have some down time and really develop those skills and become the best musical, bread-making clown you can be.
Otherwise, you can do all that shit that you’ve always wanted to do. If you are lucky enough to have a garden, then you can work on that. Spend a good couple of hours listening to music and checking out new bands online. Feng shui the house. Make a model dragon out of the recycling. Write that screen play. Figure out how to make your hair look like the Eiffel Tower. Whatever it is that you have never had the time to do, here is your time! Go, do it!
Have a lazy day
Alternatively, fuck it. Get up late, watch some daytime TV, make a big lunch,have a nap and take it easy for a day.
There is nothing wrong with a lazy day to re-charge the batteries. Just try not to make this too much of a habit to avoid it turning into a mental slump. But sometimes, we all need a day like this and that’s okay, too.
Whatever you decide to do in these three weeks, just remember that it is just a few weeks. Things will be up and running again once it is all over. This government is very money focused, so will do what they can to get the economy up and running again. But for now, follow government advice, stay inside, keep washing your hands, if you show any symptoms and you feel it doesn’t need hospital attention, try to stay away from others (even more), thank anyone you know who works for the NHS, is a cleaner, works for a supermarket, etc. and lets try and keep those around us and ourselves safe.