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Moving towards a brighter future: habits to keep and discard from the past year in lockdown

Yesterday marked one year since the start of a '3 week' lockdown here in the UK. As of today, 28,653,523 people across our four nations have had their first dose of the much-anticipated Covid-19 vaccine, which is more than a third of the total population. Despite the skepticism, I do believe we are on our way to some sort of 'normality', whatever that may look like. Let's be clear - things will never be the same again, but we will be able to resume doing things we once loved to do. Which is fab! I'm pumped, as I'm sure you are, and despite the horrific banality of the past 365 days, the sense of grief that has been hanging in the air and the atrocious mishandling of the pandemic by our government, we've definitely learnt a lot. We've learnt a lot about ourselves, about others, about sanitation (let's not lie - we were pretty gross before this virus turned us all into clean freaks) and about what we really appreciate. As we stagger towards a new sense of freedom, I really hope we retain some things and let go of others. We need to continue checking in on each other. Emotions have been heightened since the start of the pandemic, and we've all been separated from our loved ones in some shape or form, which means we've become really good at making sure those around us (and far removed from us) are alright. We've made more of an effort to contact people we may not have spoken to for a while, and when we do see each other again, it'll be sweeter than sweet. Having said that, I think we've all learnt how important it is to have space. To disconnect. To just be with ourselves. We need to continue seeing this as fundamental to our wellbeing. There's no need to be in contact with someone 24/7 - sometimes you just need to disappear for a while, and that's cool. Let's normalise not being available 100% of the time. I like this slower pace of life. I didn't realise how fast things were moving pre-pandemic, how we stuffed every crevice of our week with plans and jobs and errands, leaving virtually no time or space to unwind, to just be. I know it'll be tempting to want to fill up our hours, to make up for lost time, but I do hope we can all see the value in this slowness of pace. A glass of wine is always a good idea. Plants make incredible friends - we should all have them somewhere in our living spaces. Baking is also a noble hobby (though I'm not too sure I'll be experimenting with sourdough any time soon.) I for one have realised how important it is to get up and just...move about. When you're sitting in front of a screen for hours on end, you feel as if your brain is literally being fried. And we're all living our lives through the screen these days, whether that's for work, entertainment, Zumba...the list goes on. I never want to use Zoom again after all this sh*t. But also, technology is amazing. It's saved us, in many ways. I will relish dancing. I will relish dancing with my friends, with strangers, with an overpriced glass of JD and Coke sloshing about in my hand, in flats or heels - I don't care - sweating my make-up off, to cheesy songs, to good songs, to new songs, to old songs, on tables, on sticky wood flooring, in the bathroom with girls I've just met and with whom I've talked about life's hardest challenges. I WILL DANCE ALL NIGHT LONG UNTIL I FALL ASLEEP STANDING UP. Perhaps we will think more about looking after our most vulnerable. Perhaps we will have a greater appreciation for all those who put themselves on the front line day in and day out. Hopefully we have realised how much our planet needs us. How much action we need to take to ensure she thrives. I can sense things heating up economically, politically, socially. I feel this undercurrent of action, of change. I'm ready for it. We will talk more about mental health. These are just some of my thoughts. I feel like most of us will have picked up habits that we don't even realise, but I'm also aware that there are probably two more extreme schools of people who will emerge from the quagmire. I think a group of people will emerge who will be ready to jump straight back into How Life Once Was. These people will be out on the town, getting crunk, grabbing all of the opportunities they'd previously missed, travelling. They will probably never want to talk about the pandemic, and it will be as if they have forgotten all about the things they used to do, such as wearing masks or sanitising their hands at every given opportunity. I think there will be another school of people who will really struggle with the adjustment to this new sense of freedom. These people might not have left their houses in a year, might be incredibly nervous about socialising again, might feel as if their lives have been upturned and there is no way for the problems to be solved. They may be the ones scarred deeply from this past year, and it will take a significant amount of time for them to feel like themselves again. I think whatever happens, and however we adjust to new life, we must be conscious of how other people feel. I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but everyone has been affected in some way by the events of the past year - but we mustn't forget what has happened. It might feel raw at the moment (honestly, I'm definitely not ready for books or TV shows written about Covid - it's way too soon, man!) but hopefully in years to come we can look back and be like 'wow...I lived through that? Damn!' On a final note, I've just written all of this but in 3 months maybe we'll be plunged back into another lockdown 😂 Such is the absurdity of life. Happy Hump Day, everyone!


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