For me at least, the 24th June marks 100 days of when lockdown started. 14 weeks and 2 days, 2400 hours, 1440 minutes, or 8,640,000 seconds. Whichever way you look at it, it’s a long, long time, at least it has been on paper.
Last night Boris Johnson announced that the nightly press conferences would come to an end, along with the re-opening of pretty much every business in the next couple of weeks as long as it could be ‘COVID Secure’.
Having been pretty much isolated for 14 weeks it seems like a daunting change. I fully appreciate and accept that lockdown cannot go on forever, however, we aren’t returning to ‘normal’ we are returning to a ‘new normal’.
Stepping into a shop with a mask 14 weeks ago might not be a big deal, but having not done it for this period it gets a little daunting. Mind you, id imagine if you don’t do anything for over 3 months and try to do it again, it would be a little nerve-racking.
Looking back at this whole experience (which I know isn’t over yet) has been rather strange. At times it felt like the weekdays and weekends were blurring into one another.
At the very start, I did decide that routine was important, and I took full advantage of the exercise allowances that were first afforded to us and went out for a walk daily, whilst at the weekend I not only did this but did my own mini home-workout with my TRX from Aldi. Also, I had daily calls with family, and joined the MacBiters each evening by listening (and sometimes partaking in) the live radio show on MacBites.fm.
I found it quite important to this routine, as I’m generally someone who likes to be in control (or at the very least know what is going to happen). Obviously, all the events around me were beyond my sphere of influence. It was kind of liberating in that there was literally nothing you could do, apart from seeing what would happen next.
They say “an idle mind is devil’s workshop” and thankfully I wasn’t furloughed during this outbreak as I think I really would have struggled with occupying my time. Work not only gave me some structure but mental stimulation which we all need. I also found it easier (as it was more important) to ‘switch off’, creating a deeper separation between work and home. Arguably this was even more important than before, especially given my office is 5m away from where I relax.
During this permanent work from home state, I believe my thought process on certain tasks has also changed.
How have they changed? Well, I can’t really put it into words, I suppose I’m more analytical than before and less quick to reach a decision – which for me suits me fine. After all, id rather be the last person to get the right decision, than the first person to get the wrong one.
Usually after work, after eating I sit down and watch TV as a way to relax. Now I didn’t cut out all my TV watching, but I did find myself watching far less, perhaps only one hour a night, whereas it used to be circa 3.
There are three things that even post-COVID I really hope I can keep up.
- Every week, I have added my shopping to my grandparents online order which I do on their behalf which in turn gets delivered to their address. This has meant that every week I have got to see them, be it through the window and two meters apart. I’ve really enjoyed seeing them on this regular basis, and hope that with the increased likelihood of me working from home will mean this is something that I can continue doing.
- I mentioned earlier that I’ve been taking full advantage of the government allowance of exercise and so I’ve gone out for a 30-minute walk (minimum) each day. Whilst I haven’t always reached my 10,000 steps I do find the time great to speak to my family (in absence of seeing them) and clear my head. Naturally, when all of this is over, I’ll be able to see my parents and siblings, and so won’t need to talk to them whilst walking, but if I’m in Leeds id probably take my dad for a walk before dinner, or if in Manchester take myself for one. Otherwise, all I see each day is the office or my home, nothing ‘natural’.
- Drinking water. They say you should drink between 2 and 3 litres of water a day. If I’m being honest, I probably drank very little, even when you take into account the water in Tea/Coffee. During this ‘new’ period I’ve been drinking a minimum of 2 litres a day of water (excluding that of tea/coffee). Yes, it does mean I’m running to the loo a little more than usual, but I do feel much better for it.
14 weeks, I know it’s not over, and for those who are shielding have another 3 to 4 weeks ahead of them; and even then the world really won’t be fully back to normal for an undeterminable amount of time.
For me, it will be all about taking baby steps – stepping into Aldi to get a few things first before returning to my full weekly shop there. Then getting my haircut after the initial mass turnout has died down, and of course going to see my family face to face in the same room at the first opportunity.
Will we ever be back to normal?
In some respects at least, I really hope not.