Image Credit: Whitney
With the second lockdown now underway, it is a relief to have passed through another torrent of “how to survive lockdown” guides in which we are told about goal setting, sleeping patterns and healthy eating. In reality, what we all want to know is: how can we replicate normality or come close to it while having to reside in our homes for the best part of the day? As students, seminars and the dreaded breakout rooms provide a vague structure to our day, but without the pub and the Wednesday night fancy dress sports socials our weeks can start to feel very monotonous.
I could propose a ‘Nouse guide’ for how to best cope with this second lockdown – although that would detract from the exercise of yourselves thinking about how to best chart your way through this second period of isolation. So the following ideas don’t constitute a guide as such and haven’t been approved by the scientific experts from the SAGE committee nor do they have a grounding in advice from psychologists, sociologists or any sort of expert, really. They’re just a student’s perspective of how to make the rest of term as bearable as possible in this new environment of limited freedom that we find ourselves in.
By mentioning routine, I don’t suggest that setting the alarm for the same time every day religiously is the answer to the doom and gloom of lockdown. It isn’t. Though what can be helpful is if there is an activity that you can consistently do throughout the period. Then there is some resemblance of structure to your day. For myself, running is the outlet through which I can enjoy my own thinking time and it acts as a form of escapism, away from the confines of the house. That’s not to say that your regular activity has to be exercise – it could be gaming or cooking up your favourite sandwich. The most important thing that comes out of taking the time to perform a particular activity each day is that you are making time for a pursuit that you enjoy and that brings you happiness. There’s no point doing push-ups or baking banana bread if it doesn’t allow you to transcend the restrictiveness or emptiness of the lockdown.
Maintain social contact with those who are close by
Here I am not advocating a flouting of the rules, as tempting as it may be. Whether you wanted to go on a date, go out for dinner with a friend, or go for a drink with a mate, there is always an alternative if we use our initiative. As you most likely already know, the rules permit you to meet with one other person from outside your household outdoors so why not go for a stroll down by the River Ouse and walk over the Millennium Bridge when it’s lit up? Outside of our houses and halls of residence is the one place where our usual sense of freedom hasn’t been totally clawed away from us and this presents us with the opportunity to be creative with how we interact with others. Maybe this means the walk to Greggs to grab a sausage roll replaces the sit-in coffee at Costa, or the outdoor barbecue with a friend replaces that steak night at Gaucho you had planned out in advance. Whatever it is, don’t let the extra effort stop you from reaching out to others who are also experiencing frustration at staring at their TV screens and laptops, rather than buying another round of Jägerbombs at Revolution.
Recreate the club in the kitchen
This last suggestion most likely sounds rather naff and apologies if you’re already cringing at the thought of turning your kitchen into some sort of year six-style disco. That is not what I’m proposing. Often students at York complain that the music in the clubs is too repetitive or that there’s not enough variety – in particular not enough indie music if it’s me complaining. With everyone stuck to eating at home, this second lockdown is the perfect chance to produce a playlist full of your favourite tunes or ‘bangers’ and share them with your flatmates. You don’t have to buy the cheap disco ball, though that does add to the atmosphere. Listening to feel good music is an easy way to keep up-beat and to retain a positive outlook. There are always certain songs that bring back good memories or that take us back to better times. And in the process of reminiscing to these times, you will be adding new memories and meaningful value to the songs that you can’t stop playing before you tuck into that pizza that you grabbed as a result of Nisa’s student saver deal. Much cheaper than Efes, by the way. So whether your favourite club was Kuda or Salvos, set yourself the challenge of creating a playlist that both clubs would envy.
Don’t let this second lockdown stop you from living. Don’t use the excuse of “I’ll wait until Covid-19 is well and truly over”, because there is no definite end-point to ‘all this’. As a friend recently said to me, “the best is yet to come”. But that’s not to say that some of our best times can’t be had in these remaining weeks to come if we adapt and use our imagination!