Lockdown – growing beards and self-reflection

The inevitable has finally happened. We have been placed on lockdown. We were given every opportunity to follow the recommendations set by Boris Johnson and the Government. The message to social distance was clear to all, but the news reports over the weekend showed that there was a minority openly ignoring the advice. Parks and seaside towns were full of people treating this enforced period off work as a holiday, and queues outside fish and chip shops meant that people were standing dangerously close to one another. These people, doing the exact opposite to what they were told, are probably the very same who previously ignored the pleas to stop panic buying. Worryingly, if they continue to disregard what is being asked of them, the Government has in its power to take even more drastic action. On the Continent some countries have introduced curfews, whilst others will not let citizens on the street without first being granted special permission by the state. Paperwork to show proof of this must be carried and produced when asked for. Anyone breaking these conditions face fines and, in extreme cases, even prison.

As the ‘Great’ British public has failed us once more, the latest tough new measures have been put in place in a bid to combat our inability to take the dangers of this deadly virus seriously. With the exception of key workers, we now have to stay indoors and can only leave home to buy food or collect medication. We are allowed, however, to go out and exercise once a day. In the past people could often be heard saying that they do not have enough time to do certain things. They don’t have the time to visit friends and family or they don’t have time to go to the gym. It’s a great pity that the new measures imposed mean they still won’t get the opportunity to do these things, despite now having the time. Of course, we can still stay in touch with loved ones via video calling, and there are other ways to get fit that don’t include a trip to the gym. So with many of us now facing lockdown, what are we going to do every day for at least the next three weeks?

There are a myriad of opportunities open to us. Just think of all the things you would have liked to have done in life if only the clock had slowed down. Naturally, there is the television. Many will start binge watching a series on Netflix. This is all very good but it is not very productive or active. You could pick up a book and start reading. Now could be the ideal time to get engrossed in a really good page turner. Or you could begin learning a new language such as Spanish or French. Buy study books, do online courses and start watching foreign language programmes in the language of your choice. Dream of visiting a country when this is all over. Imagine how fulfilled you would feel if you could communicate with the natives in their own language. Or why not buy a cookery book and start cooking. Try something exotic like a curry or tapas. Clean the house and sort through your drawers. Fill up a bin bag of old clothes and donate it to a charity shop. If you are a man why not grow a beard. The soothing act of facial hair stroking can be very relaxing and it is perfect for killing time. Hours can sometimes pass before you are free from the hypnotic trance like state it creates.

It has been predicted that the number of relationship break-ups will go through the roof during this enforced time together. People will inevitably get under one another’s feet as we are asked to stay indoors. Extreme patience is called for. Try not to argue. Instead, talk and get to know your family on a deeper level. Look out for them and make sure they are well. Play cards or chess. If you don’t know how, learn. As far as mental health goes, these new constraints on your liberty will, almost certainly, put a strain on you. Therefore, it is important to exercise. Go for a walk, a run, or a ride on your bike every day. Just think how clear the roads will be. You can also do online aerobic workout classes and shed some of those extra pounds you’ve been carrying around with you. This is a marvellous opportunity to get fit.

Perhaps most importantly of all, isolation will give us the perfect opportunity to think. It’s a time for meditation and self-reflection.  It’s a time to see where you are in your own life. It’s a time to look back on what you’ve done and think about what you can do in the future. This virus does not serve perpetuity, it will end. So think about what you can try to do better for the rest of your life. We as human beings need to alter the way we behave. Society needs to improve. Of this there is no doubt. We need to change the way we react in times of crisis when things are going against us. We were told not to panic buy, but we did it anyway. We were told to social distance and not go outside, but we did it anyway. We have now been told to stay at home. Will we listen? Brexit has all but been forgotten about. The ignorance and stupidity shown by some on both sides of the debate, is being repeated again as a consequence of the threat of Covid-19. We need to look to the doctors, nurses, carers, supermarket workers, those who work in the food supply chain, and those who are keeping our country moving at this time. They are all heroes and deserve a medal. They should give us inspiration. Stay positive and use your time wisely. It’s not all about growing beards.