A blog about the crazy, unpredictable range of emotions we’re all experiencing during the lockdown and how they affect our behaviour. Plus, my regular look at good news from around the world.
Today is a bank holiday in the UK – it’s VE Day, an opportunity to remember the end of six years of terror and hardship brought on by real war. We were meant to be out on the streets, patriotically waving our flags and assembling in large numbers. Instead, we’ll be celebrating a break from the unremitting challenge of work and home-schooling.
It’s lockdown week six, I think.
Life is a coronacoaster
I’ve seen others describe the range of emotions we’re going through as the ‘coronacoaster’. We’re all experiencing good days and bad days.
I’ve identified five stages of lockdown, based on a research study of two – Mr Maven and me. I have no medical or psychological qualifications, but then I’m not going to suggest you drink bleach so it’s safe to read on.
Do you remember the video of celebrities murdering, I mean singing Imagine? That was lockdown day six – seems like a lifetime ago. That was the week when people were still having group picnics in parks and travelling en masse to beaches. We were collectively naive because one of us could imagine the scale and depth of the crisis then. I heeded all the government advice but thought we’d be returning to work within a couple of weeks.
During the negotiating stage, we have questions. We feign confusion, hoping someone will give us permission to start hugging again.
For example: “if it’s acceptable to bump into someone (not literally) in the woods and walk the dogs together, two metres apart, why is it not acceptable to invite that person into the garden for a post-perambulatory G&T?” And: “does the exclusive purchase of chocolate constitute an essential shopping trip?”
These are questions you dare not ask anyone beyond your most trusted advisers for fear of being publicly shamed. You know the answers. Stay home.
This stage can manifest itself in many ways. Mr Maven has watched violent box sets back to back. I fell victim to Tiger King during week three. Since then I’ve been addicted to colouring books. It’s pretty lame as addictions go.
Then, of course, there’s the endless eating. The fruit bowl remains untouched, while the salty snacks are demolished together with a large glass of red wine, every single day. I have had one booze-free day since lockdown began.
Beyond the immediate emergency, the UK is going to have many secondary problems to deal with – not least the alcoholism and obesity crisis we’re rolling into.
This one comes and goes with alarming frequency. For much of last week, I procrastinated and delayed, I delegated and negotiated, but didn’t progress with much. I put a half-hearted effort into everything except eating – I put my whole heart into eating – leaving me deflated emotionally, but certainly not physically.
I am an advocate of going with the flow. If you don’t feel like baking banana bread like the rest of Instagram, then don’t. Go back to bed.
Then Sunday came and I sprung out of bed like I was on fire. Having spent the morning making focaccia, I proceeded to mop floors, polish mirrors and clean the skirting boards.
This manic activity continued into Monday, which started with a RUN! No one forced or sponsored me to do it. I wasn’t running for a bus. It was a need to gasp fresh air into my lungs, in a way that I couldn’t achieve from the confines of my kitchen.
The frustrations of the last five weeks of lockdown had coiled up inside me like a wind-up toy until this week I let it all go.
All mixed up
I am not bragging about my productivity, nor do I want you to feel like shite if you’re still at the torpor phase. The point is while every day is the same, emotionally every day can be wildly different. The stages of lockdown are not linear, or mutually exclusive.
So, while I’m making the most of it this week, I accept this manic productivity may not last. I might go to bed after I hit publish on this blog (it’s 10 am) – and that’s ok too.
Today I can feel negotiations in the air again. It’s one of those rarest of occasions – a sunny bank holiday – and most of us are stuck indoors. We’re expecting an announcement from the government on Sunday and the news media are prematurely celebrating the end of lockdown. People are asking what difference a couple of days make – why not go out now?
I can’t see the danger passing until there’s a vaccine and would rather stay at home for now than see another spike in infections and deaths. We are in a privileged position, locked in with my family in a decent-sized house with a garden. I appreciate lockdown can be a living hell for many people.
Like I’ve said before, we are weathering the same storm but we’re not all in the same boat.
And now for my regular coronavirus feature:
Good news from around the world
Captain Tom’s legacy continues. A six-year-old boy with spina bifida is walking 10 metres a day to raise money for the NHS after being inspired by the Captain’s incredible achievements.
Lions in South Africa are enjoying the lockdown so much they’re napping in the middle of the road.
According to John Hopkins University, more than a million people around the world have recovered from COVID-19.
In Pakistan, the government has hired thousands of out of work labourers to plant millions of trees.
The International Energy Agency predicted this week that the fall in demand for energy due to coronavirus will result in a record annual decline in carbon emissions of almost 8 per cent.
Banksy has created a new artwork which has appeared in Southampton hospital alongside a note to NHS workers: “Thanks for all you’re doing. I hope this brightens the place up a bit, even if it’s only black and white.”
How are your emotions this week? Do you recognise any of these stages yourself? Let me know if you have any good news you’d like to share as well. You can leave me a comment below, find me on social media (@lifestylemavens) or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org). I always reply. Don’t forget to sign up to my newsletter here.
Much love, Vx