Tonight I write this post with cracked, dry, itchy rough hands from the constant hand washing (and singing “Happy Birthday”) that I’ve been doing. I haven’t blogged in a very long time but feel the need to write about this insanely surreal situation we find ourselves living in in 2020. It’s as if we’re living out the movie Contagion. It is eerily similar to what is currently happening in the world at the moment with the Coronavirus.
We are now in Week 3 of a national lock down. This was announced on the 24th of March by our Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Leading up to the announcement that night, I was reading and watching a lot of news about the Coronavirus. There were also many jokes flying around. How people were trying to protect themselves in public with big water dispenser bottles, plastic bags and women’s bras over their heads or faces. These jokes no longer seem so funny but instead are a reflection of the harsh reality we’re currently living in.
My family and I started social distancing a few weeks before the official lock down. Even though initially I didn’t fully comprehend the enormity of this virus. The number of cases and deaths started climbing and climbing. I had to tell myself to stop following the news as it was starting to affect me. I dreamt one night that I was trapped somewhere and was trying to escape. My husband told me I was talking in my sleep and kept repeating “F-off!”. It feels like I’ve worked through some of the stages of grief again; from shock, sadness and finally acceptance in dealing with this sudden massive life change of living in a lock down.
In the UK we are currently only allowed to leave our homes for:
– Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
– One form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
– Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
– Travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home
Thankfully our once a day form of exercise has encouraged me to start running again. But when I do go for a run, I now find myself constantly zig-zagging across the road to avoid getting too close to people. I am constantly amazed at the number of runners and cyclists around in comparison to before. It’s like everyone in my neighbourhood has discovered exercise.
Every day the roads seem like a Sunday with less cars driving around and the non existent traffic.
Shopping for groceries has now also become a completely regimented exercise. I need to mentally prepare myself before going to the shop. Armed with my shopping list, wearing glasses, disposable gloves and a mask, I work my way through the shop in a sequential route up and down the aisles grabbing groceries I need. When the shopping is done and loaded into the car, I then use hand sanitizer (which sits in the car door) on my disposable gloves. I carefully remove the gloves and put them on the floor of the car by my feet. I rub hand sanitizer on my bare hands. Once I get home, I then carefully remove the mask which goes straight into the washing machine, unpack the shopping bags from the car, throw the disposable gloves into the rubbish bin outside the house, come inside and wash my hands at least ten times. I fear that this whole process will become an insane habit and give me phobias about doing grocery shopping for the rest of my life.
I keep reminding myself about the positive side of things and the many things I have to be grateful for. I’ve learnt that this whole situation is a real mindset change and the only way to move forward is to adapt and accept that this is the new normal for now.
I fully understand the reason why we need to follow the rules of this lock down and hopefully everyone else continues to do the same too. We need to stay home to save lives. I pray that we may all come out of this situation sane, healthy and strong. Be safe.