Because I live in Wales, I’ve been under lockdown restrictions for nearly two weeks now. To be honest, it didn’t sound too bad to me when it was first announced. The end date was set and is still due to be the 9th of November, so two and a bit weeks of restrictions on normal life in total. Pubs and restaurants have had to shut again, gyms have closed and basically, all “non-essentials” (who defines what’s “essential” though?) have been locked up. Focussing on “non-essentials for a minute”, the most controversial occurrence of this Welsh lockdown came from ministers calling for all “non-essential” items in supermarkets, which have obviously remained open, to be cordoned off like some sort of crime scene. Now, I do understand the premise of this – it doesn’t seem fair that local-run birthday card shops have had to close and lose business but corporate supermarkets can still make a profit on selling cards, for example. However, why were women’s sanitary products at a Tesco in Cardiff banned from sale? Does anyone with a vagina work at that branch or had any quibbles with this? That was a real shocker, to be honest. Baby clothes, electrical appliances and tea towels are some of the other items not on sale at the moment and a petition has been circulating, trying to get ministers attention. It’s been a bit of an aggravated mess, but next week it’ll be over (I think).
As I’m writing this, today is the day England goes back into lockdown. Knowing that once Wales is open on Monday I still won’t be able to travel to England to see my friends, family and boyfriend kind of makes me feel like I’m basically still in lockdown though (I hope I don’t sound like I’m complaining too much because everyone’s going through the same thing, and I don’t want to get too political – we’re trying to save lives after all). During the first coronavirus lockdown, I felt an overwhelming need to commit to being productive. I tried home workouts, took a couple of courses, did a short internship and, oh yeah, finished my undergraduate degree. Overall, it went by in a flash, but I found there was so much pressure from different sources to keep doing, achieving and bettering ourselves. People posting all of their successes on LinkedIn, celebrities posting their workout routines on Instagram, and my own brain putting pressure on me to keep enhancing myself as a human being. Being productive is a great thing, but doing things just because other people are doing them is not the best reasoning, and I need to keep telling myself this also. I’m trying to do what I want to do because I have the desire to do it, not because I think I’m falling behind my pears or because an influencer says it’s a good idea to buy X’s new workout guide. I will bake if I want to, I will take a course if I want to, and so on. We’re all going through such an emotionally stressful time with the phrases “unprecedented” and “global pandemic” becoming a bit meaningless as the months go on – but the virus is still circulating! Businesses are still struggling and staff are still being let go. It’s ok to take a day or two to yourself, check in on your mental health, have a lazy break every now and then because we’ve all earned it. Everyone has been financially and emotionally hit by lockdown and the virus that staying productive might just end up being worse for some people in some cases. You don’t have to start a new business, you don’t have to have six-pack abs by the end of lockdown, you don’t have to be a professional Level 7 qualified individual. If these are things YOU want, go for it! “You do you” is one of my favourite phrases. Just try not to repress your true feelings by staying busy because they’ll end up resurfacing at some point in time – talk to people.
Christmas is going to be very different this year, but I’m privileged enough to still be able to look forward to Christmas films coming on the TV and having food on the table come the big day. Can’t wait to hear Last Christmas by Wham! come through the supermarket speakers for the first time this year!
I’m proud of how everyone has handled themselves. Remember to take a breath and do what you want during lockdown 2.0.