As I sit down to enjoy another full day of Zoom meetings, I started to think back over the past few months and how things have changed due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
The stories and memories mentioned in this post are from my personal experiences during the pandemic and, although we’re not through this, I thought it would be good to document some of them, to see if they resonate with other people. I suppose what I’m really wanting people to understand is that we have all had experiences through this pandemic, some good and some bad, we should not forget those experiences… we should learn from them and remember that this has changed everything.
The year 2020 has been a strange year by anyones standards and as we were celebrating the start of a new year, I don’t think that there were many people who would have predicted the events that would unfold throughout the year.
My family and I were quite quick to go into lockdown during the pandemic, partially due to seeing what was happening in other countries and over concerns for our children and elderly relatives. In those early weeks, before a full lockdown, there was the rush on food and other items such as toilet rolls… I’m still trying to understand what everyone did with them all. I remember the struggles to get any food essentials. We weren’t some of the people who were stockpiling, as a standard thing, we knew we probably had food in our cupboards and freezers that would last us for a little while and whilst we were going into lockdown as a family, I remember a last gasp visit to the local supermarket to get the last couple of items to avoid contact with others for a period of time. As we locked down and subsequently as the rest of the UK locked down, the food in our cupboards began to be used up even with us rationing our own food.
The stress levels induced by the spread of the virus increased, and new concerns appeared… the food was beginning to run out, we were still self isolating, we needed to have a food delivery but couldn’t get a slot. I know that this is a first world issue but this did heighten the stress levels. There were rumours floating about around when delivery slots would be released and therefore there were late nights, into the early hours of the morning, looking to grab an illusive delivery slot to allow my family to have food.
Through these interesting times, there was a ray of light to help us with the stress levels and to encourage the nation to become fitter. I’m obviously talking about the one and only Joe Wicks. Through daily workout sessions, we were taken on a journey of fitness and education… going from feeling stressed and unhappy to a feeling of joy and satisfaction through our 30 minutes with Joe and his family. The global response to his sessions were phenomenal with so many people doing his sessions live or fitting in the recorded versions into their daily lives. People had something to (virtually) come together for, a big community and in the process, many may not have even realised how much fitter they were becoming. Some people have suffered from the COVID belly but I have to admit that I have lost quite a bit of weight, and a big part of that is down to Joe.
Work continued for so many people through lockdown and my thanks and respect goes to all of the workers who have continued to work, both on the front line and in other areas such as deliveries etc. throughout the lockdown, especially when so many people have changed their purchasing habits and have increased the workload for those people. I have continued to work throughout lockdown, but my workload was fairly easy to transition across to a work-from-home design. We’ve had great support from our company in many different ways, and that is also appreciated. Home schooling became part of the normal way of life, trying to supplement work provided by school with activities to avoid lockdown boredom setting in… I have to admit, that although my family have been in close proximity for a very long period, without many areas for escape. We haven’t had massive arguments, everyone has been very respectful of each other. I can understand the additional stress that has been endured by all those people who have been put on the furlough scheme and I hope that things return to normal for anyone affected by this, as soon as possible.
And there have been great stories in the community as well, people helping each other out, collecting food for elderly neighbours or even things to help the local community come together. Just around the corner from my home, a local family wanted to try and do a community activity to help remember this year and came up with the idea of doing ‘COVID Cobra’, consisting of a line of painted stones on the edge of a local cycle path. I’m not sure that they even thought how much of a success this would become… people taking all manner of stones, painting them however they wished and adding them to the snake. At the last count there were over 10,000 stones of varying shapes and sizes, all brightly painted stretching for quite a distance. They have even submitted this to Guinness World Records in the hope that this will be recognised as a world record. This snake then became a local tourist attraction with lots of people spending time to walk along the snake and look at the different stones in the process. As I write this blog post, it is the last day for the snake in its current form… the local council have agreed to provide a permanent resting place for all of the stones as a form of memorial for this year and the community spirit but at present, we are unsure what format this will take but the snake has been asked to be removed from the side of the cycle path until the final location is confirmed.
So now we are at a bit of a transition period… the country is beginning to open up again. Rightly or wrongly, things have changed. During lockdown, the level of respect from people to each other seemed to increase… people had more time for each other. As things begin to return to the new normal, we shouldn’t lose that. Take time for each other, don’t be in a mad rush. Respect and thank the people that have helped us all throughout these unprecedented times. Laugh at the funny things that have happened and mourn the loss of so many. Who knows how long we’ll all be affected by this virus, accept the new normal but don’t believe that it just needs to be ‘normal’.
We should not forget the experiences we have had… we should learn from them and remember that this has changed everything.