OK so we’re three days into a national lockdown. I’m documenting this experience so that in years to come, I can read about it and remind myself to appreciate life’s little pleasures. Like being able to leave your house and not worry about a) getting fined for doing so or b) catch a disease when you walk past people or touch anything.
Freedom. Something we all take for granted. We think we’re free, but this pandemic has shown me that really we’re not 100% in control of what we’re able to do. Not really. However, normal life allows us to go about our day, make our own choices and enjoy simple things like going out for coffee, meeting friends and buying our shopping without being faced with the distinct possibility that you won’t be able to get the supplies you need.
Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash
For me personally, being restricted on the amount of exercise I do and how much time I spend in the great outdoors is far more testing than being unable to go shopping, go to leisure activities and generally be in society. I truly value my daily dog walks in the countryside and it feels strange being limited.
Now each day when I go out for my daily exercise (one form of exercise per day), I relish it. I breathe in the air far deeper than I usually would. I look around me at the natural world and as I watch the birds fly by, I wish I could fly away into the distance like they do. That’s pure freedom.
I wrongly assumed that it’s only going to shops and supermarkets that’s risky. I thought the countryside would be safe. You know, huge open space and all. But it turns out that every Tom, Dick and Harry is out and about in the fields because they’ve got nothing else to do. You forget how many things you come into contact with like country gates, dog poo bins and benches. I went on one walk and must have had to go through about nine-country gates, and I used leaves to open them!!!
People’s behaviour in these situations is very odd. On the one hand, I’ve noticed people are a lot friendlier than usual which is quite ironic considering we’re supposed to be social distancing ourselves. It’s not like anyone is coming near me though, but I have noticed that people are saying ‘hi’ from afar.
I’d never normally be out for a walk and someone would bother to say hello from a distance of about 20 metres away. But somehow it feels right. It feels encouraging to exchange a few words and be kind during all this catastrophe.
On the other hand, there’s an extremely strange atmosphere where you come across people out on walks. You wonder how worried they are about walking past you, and you awkwardly pass by, holding your breath as if that just might help. People are quite rightly scared, and starting to pay more attention to the danger.
It does feel like the weight of this disease is getting heavier, and it’s more serious than many initially thought. People have gone from, ‘It’s no worse than the flu, what’s all the fuss about’, to ‘OK, maybe this is a real threat.’
The gravity of the situation is sinking in. And whilst these first few days haven’t been too bad, there’s the haunting realisation that we’ve no idea how long we’ll have to stay locked away in our houses for. It’s the not knowing. How long will we have to be in lockdown? How long until people can start going back to work? Will the economy and businesses recover? So many questions floating around in our heads. Yet somehow, we have to try to stay strong, stay united and manage our mental wellbeing. How do you stay calm and relaxed during a worldwide pandemic? I’m finding it really difficult to stop my mind wandering into worst-case scenario territory. So I’m trying a few things to keep my spirits up, stay healthy and switch off from everything. Some of these things include –
Writing this post and processing my thoughts as things unfold
- Long dog walks
- Exercise in the garden
- Drawing (even though I’m awful at it)
- Appreciating my family
These are the things I’ve tried so far. I’ll keep you updated on what’s proving to be most beneficial and any other ideas I have.
This evening the Prime Minister will do another announcement, specifically about the help the government intends to provide the self-employed. And I’m nervous about the outcome, because I’m not convinced my business will qualify for whatever help they offer. There has been a lot of uproar over the lack of government support for self-employed people versus employed people, who have already been offered 80% of their monthly pay.
As well as concerns over catching the virus and getting ill, my next big worry is finances. My clients are pausing work and the business I worked so hard to create over the last seven years is crumbling, and after all the blood, sweat and tears, it is heartbreaking. But I’m holding out hope that when things improve in the next few months, business will return to normal and my clients will continue work again.
On a positive note, the beautiful sunshine we’ve had over the last few days really is lifting my spirit. Feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin and being able to spend time outside is reminding me I’m alive, healthy and there’s hope on the horizon. We. Can. Do. This.