Guardian readers share what they learned from the first nationwide lockdown and how they plan to use that knowledge as the second begins.
‘You shouldn’t keep anything for the better’
In April, Katie Davies, 34, lost her father. The experience made her realize that time was running out, and she vowed not to keep waiting to do or use things that would give her joy.
“During the first lockdown, I learned not to keep anything for the best,” she says. “It’s a bit of a habit in my family. My girl said that all the new coats are too new to wear right away; they had to acclimatize to the wardrobe a bit before going out on Sunday.
She continued, “I had my second daughter in January and caring for two babies meant I was emotionally overwhelmed, with very few coping mechanisms available.
Struggling to secure shopping locations and avoid supermarkets in the event of catching coronavirus, Davies and his mother raided closets and discovered items kept as gifts and never used.
“Picnics outside with the kids actually meant using a teapot with real loose leaf tea, at the risk of fancy cups, two of which broke,” said Davies, who lives in Wigan.
“I still have real loose leaf tea almost every day, six months later, and I have the impression of a parallel universe in which my father died and a pandemic struck us,” he said. she adds. “A tin of tea my mom found had been out of date for a year, surpassing its best. My father ran out of time to do what he wanted. Drink the best tea, use the fancy cups.
“Be more strict on deactivation”
For Eleanor *, who lives in London and works in the tech industry, a second lockdown calls for sharper boundaries between work and life. Without access to an office, she found deactivation “very difficult” and expressed concern that many employees were working remotely for much longer.
“For many of us who have stressful jobs and live alone in small apartments, the lack of boundaries with work and the increasing demands of the job have been difficult to cope with,” she said.
“I live alone and have no children, and it is expected that, because you don’t have to take care of others, you can just keep working,” she added. . “It’s unhealthy.”
Eleanor said she plans to be “more stringent” when it comes to timing work on time and introduce more time to shut down.
“I’m going to set an alarm, and even if the job isn’t done, I’m going to shut down the laptop, because the demands don’t stop,” she says. “I will also try to have less screen time. Instead of lounging on Netflix, I try to read. “
‘A little sweetness goes a long way’
For Connie Smith, a 36-year-old social anthropologist, the constant saturation of information about the coronavirus was “overwhelming.”
“Watching minute-by-minute live news feeds can seem like a duty, and the way we show we care about what’s going on,” said Smith, who lives in Manchester. “The lockdown forced many of us to slow down, to get off the treadmill, and that change of pace became an opportunity. But if we put everything online, we lose this opportunity to slow down. ”
Instead, Smith decided to focus on the things that are under her control, sharing little moments of kindness with herself and others.
“I’ve learned to take things more slowly,” she says. “You can take the time to do something small for yourself or for someone else who feels tiny, but can have a big impact. Watch a bird out the window, help a neighbor, smile with your eyes, stop being impatient in the queue. Plant seeds on your window sill. It’s a small thing, but it’s an investment in the future. ”
“The lockdown is traumatic and stressful,” she added. “We have to remember that a little sweetness goes a long way.
‘Make sure you have a support network’
In Lincoln, engineer Jonny Codling believes the best way for people to get past the second lockdown is to make sure they have a network of support. “It’s really important that people can rely on each other confidentially if they need to,” said Codling, 29.
The COBL (Cathedral on Bailgate Lincoln) Cycling Club was started by Codling and five others in June to help create a supportive community offering outdoor rides and mental health talks. “It snowballed,” he said. “It started with people just asking for advice, but now we have 80 members and since the summer we’ve seen this positive wave of people who want to come together and ride.
“I think people were receptive to the idea because a lot of them felt isolated during the lockdown in March. When we got together I think the members appreciated the social aspect of what we could offer.
It was difficult for Codling who was unable to work for most of the year. “I have accumulated debt, but this is the happiest I have ever been. The club welcomes people aged 15 to 60, and some of them have never ridden before.
“We did a few outdoor walks during the summer but now we can’t meet, we started indoor walks where people can participate at home using a turbo trainer (where you take the rear wheel off your bike and the tether) and a virtual reality app that makes you feel like you’re cycling outdoors. We can all video chat together and always feel connected.
“Now that we have this incredible support network, we hope it will help us through this next period of isolation.”
‘Reach out to people and take many walks’
For medical assistant Libby Telling who lives in Hereford alone, the lockdown in March was incredibly difficult. “I felt very isolated,” said Telling, 58. “I have suffered from agoraphobia and panic disorder since 2019. Work kept me sane, but I had a viral infection in April and was on leave for three weeks.
Telling said she felt “cut off” during the lockdown, even though she was able to speak to her four children on social media, and that she “isn’t expecting another”. “You feel lonely and you become introspective. I realized it was not good for my mental health.
“This time around, I’ll be more in touch with people and take walks, which will help distract myself. It also gives you a different perspective on life and takes you out of a cycle of anxious thoughts. It’s gonna be tough, but I think I’ll get through it.