What I’ve Learnt From Lockdown

Helena Nuttall

Yesterday evening Kirsty and I went live on Instagram to discuss what we have learnt from lockdown. The video is still available to watch on IGTV.

Our lives took an unexpected turn in March and words that had never previously entered our vocabulary we now use in our everyday conversation. Casting my mind back to November last year the words ‘lockdown’, ‘self-isolate’ and ‘quarantine’ would have meant nothing at all. With the fear of the health of ourselves and our loved ones, limited freedom and the sudden inability to plan ahead, there’s a lot we’ve learnt this year along with the explosion of new words and phrases.

One thing I became increasingly aware of is that I LIKE TO PLAN. I love having a jam-packed diary and I like to know (at least roughly) what I will be doing over the course of a year. I found not having dates in the diary to look forward to, and even more so not being able to set a concrete post-uni plan, a real challenge. What I found helpful was to schedule in phone calls with friends, and create to-do lists even if all that was on my list was reading a few pages of my book and going for a walk. Attempting to maintain routines as rigid as those we may have been accustomed to prior to COVID19 is a futile and entirely ineffectual exercise, however, preserving perhaps one or two aspects of normality can help to separate one day from the next. A few glasses of wine on a Friday evening and a roast for lunch on a Sunday may be all that’s necessary to help you remember what day it is!

I laugh looking back at the first lockdown at the surge of banana bread photographs flooding the internet. And if you weren’t showing off your baking you were probably doing something radical with your hair; I wonder how many boys between the age of 15-25 decided to shave their heads for Instagram? The list of the benefits and drawbacks of social media is infinite, and also completely subjective. Before lockdown I’d say that I didn’t need to give it too much thought, yes I could probably have spent a bit less time lying on my bed scrolling, but equally I was busy enough that it was never truly an issue. However with countless hours, days and weeks spent at home and with no plans, I did start to reflect on the time I was spending on my phone. I often found myself mindlessly scrolling, I’d pick up my phone subconsciously and the next thing I knew and hour had passed. To avoid this I found it helpful to leave my phone in my bedroom. This way if I was cooking in the kitchen, exercising in the garden or even just sitting back to read a book, I could do so undistracted by social media. Despite battling the hours I spent using technology, I did experience a wonderful sense of gratitude for its existence. Lockdown without it would have been dire, I can’t imagine how it would have been if we weren’t able to keep in touch and check up on our friends and family. I realise that I am very fortunate to be able to reap the benefits of technology, but for my own sanity it’s important that I try to limit the time I spend using it.

Before the lockdowns of this year we all lived in an extremely fast-paced world. According to psychologist Dr. Richard Wiseman, the overall pace of life had gone up by 10% since the mid 1990s. Being forced to stay at home with your families will likely have given you sufficient time to observe every single annoying habit they have, but also sufficient time to notice everything good about them. Lockdown, for all the disruption that it’s caused, has forced us to slow down, and spend time with the people we are isolating with far more than we would normally be able to.

Lockdown is the reason The Notable came about, as after I’d submitted all my work for university and was officially a graduate, I craved the feeling of getting stuck into a project. Many of us are feeling apprehensive about how this pandemic will affect our futures and need a bit more motivation and positivity than we would otherwise if it weren’t for the coronavirus. That’s why we’ve created this platform, to make sure the twisted turn of events this year doesn’t mean we abandon our aspirations!

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