Enjoying Summer Post-Lockdown: A Guide For Stress-Heads
Throughout lockdown all I have wanted to do is hug my mum and dad, catch up with my friends face to face (over fresh coffee and a large slice of cake) and watch my son play with his little mates. However, when the easing of lockdown was finally announced, I suddenly felt too afraid to contemplate doing any of these things. Globally, hundreds of people are still dying of Coronavirus every day and many scientists are predicting a second wave of infections in the autumn. Our release from lockdown house arrest is not accompanied by the joy that I had hoped it would elicit and I am left wondering how to go about enjoying the rest of Summer 2020 safely and responsibly.
Having no desire to join the crowds and hit the shops, fight for my square meter of space on a crowded beach or brave the recycled air of charter flight for a quick holiday, how should I go about filing the currently empty squares of the rest of my 2020 calendar? I’ve done what any 21st century human with an unanswered question does – I Googled it. I also spoke to my friends, who have similar concerns but who are also desperate to safely see their own friends and family again. We came up with the following list of things to do that we hope will improve our moods and make Summer 2020 memorable for some good reasons, whilst simultaneously not putting anyone at undue risk.
1. Take Things Slowly
Unless work commitments force you into it, don’t assume you have to return to the pre-Corona superhuman you once were over the course of a few days. The virus has not gone away and maybe we will never know the normal we knew in 2019 ever again (apparently only 6% of Britons want to return to that anyway).
If you are still able to work from home, are furloughed, self-employed, unemployed, on mat leave or are a stay at home parent, get your head around the current guidelines and then introduce new things to the diary gradually. My first “date” was a socially distant walk with three of my friends and two of our children. The weather was beautiful, the venue delightfully crowd-free and the catch up chatter highly therapeutic!
2. Stay Outside
Much of the research around how the virus is transmitted reports that risk is minimal outdoors. We have been lucky enough to enjoy some great weather since the beginning of lockdown and I am hoping it continues, so that we can be sociable outside and minimise our risk of catching or transmitting COVID-19.
3. Keep Doing The Lockdown Activities You Enjoyed
Whilst many of the lockdown restrictions were fairly tedious, most people have managed to find positives in the situation that they are now sad at the prospect of relinquishing. To which we would say, don’t stop! If virtual quizzes with friends and family have been the highlight of each week during lockdown, keep doing them. If you’ve enjoyed having the opportunity to be more active, make sure you set aside time to continue running, going on family bike rides, taking the dog for longer walks, or doing whatever activity it was that made you feel better. Given that restrictions are being gradually eased, rather than all lifted in one go, it should be easier to ensure that the positives from lockdown can remain a part of your life.
4. Meet Up With Like-Minded People
Throughout lockdown everyone had held different perceptions of risk and responsibility. Anyone who has seen first-hand the deadly effects of Coronavirus on the worst affected patients and anyone who has a loved one with a chronic illness is likely to have taken the rules more seriously than someone for whom the virus seemed to pose very little immediate danger.
This will not cease to be true as we emerge from lockdown, so for stress-heads like me, the best way to navigate what we are currently calling normal is to meet up with similarly stressed friends and family. If you are anxious about life after lockdown, seek out those friends who are also avoiding crowded city centre shops, steering clear of busy tourist attractions and generally emerging from lockdown very cautiously. This is not only practical from a safety perspective, as it reduces the number of people you come into contact with at one remove, it also creates less tension when you meet up, as you clearly share a similar perception of risk and responsibility.
5. Support Local Businesses From Afar
One of the things that bothers me about my cautious response to the easing of lockdown is that I feel disloyal to the businesses in the local area that are re-opening. I have no desire to go to my local pub, have my temperature taken on arrival, to adhere to strict one way systems and card-only payment policies and watch staff clean up after me everywhere I go. Going to the pub should be relaxing and sociable, not like a trip to the doctors with the addition of refreshments! It won’t return to truly enjoyable normality for some months, but if we do not support local businesses through this awkward transition, many of them will not be there to enjoy normality when it does return.
My solution to this is to support from afar wherever possible. Gifts for all birthdays or special occasions in the coming months will be purchased from local businesses that have an online offering. I will try to support cafes and restaurants by purchasing vouchers that can be redeemed at a later date. Our finances have taken a bit of a bashing from Coronavirus, but what I do have to spend I will invest locally, in businesses that I look forward to visiting again when I feel comfortable doing so.
6. Keep Your Meet Ups Managable
If you are stressing about maintaining social distancing in the face of ever more lax interpretations of the government guidelines, opt for meeting small numbers of people in open spaces that are unlikely to be crowded. I have resigned myself to the fact that I cannot control the behaviour of strangers (even if the law is on my side), so if I want to get out and enjoy the company of my friends and family, I need to do it in an environment where it is easy for me to adhere to the rules through my own behaviour, where there is space to step away from people who get too close and no requirement to venture indoors unless strictly necessary.
7. Seek Out Trustworthy Information
Social media is great for keeping in touch with a wide circle of friends and family without having to breath the same air as them! However, it is also full of sensationalist reporting, half-truths and sometimes downright lies.
Navigate your way out of lockdown in a way that does not send your anxiety levels through the roof by limiting the time you spend watching or reading the news or browsing social media and seek out trustworthy sources of information to help you make decisions. The latest government guidelines are available here and the latest NHS guidance is published here.
8. Plan Your Next Adventure
I don’t think there has been a year in which I haven’t travelled abroad since before I left school, so the prospect of not doing so this year feels very strange. One of the things that everyone on the Wild & Fine team has in common is the love of adventure and our wings feel well and truly clipped at the moment. However, the world will still be waiting when we are able/brave enough to venture back out into it, and in the meantime, we are taking our own advice and planning our next big trip. Doing this is a reminder that I was not always this anxious and that I can thrive on intrepid international adventures too!
We hope these ideas are useful and that all our fellow Wildlings are able to get out and enjoy the rest of Summer 2020. We are delighted that Coronavirus has not impeded our online operation or prevented us from launching new products and we are excited to continue developing and expanding the range as the year progresses.