Natasha points out that this second stab at lockdown is likely to bring out very different reactions in all of us. This time, many of us may simply be exhausted by ALL of it.
“There are some trapped in pandemic fatigue: a symptom of being utterly overwhelmed with the onslaught of upsetting and anxiety inducing news,” she says, “The fatigue response is the mind’s defence mechanism against falling into the pits of depression and anxiety, though it doesn’t immunise from all of the mental health challenges that this pandemic is bringing with it. It is also dangerous for our physical health: the sense of fatigue leads to complacency over how we take care of ourselves and raises risk of infection.”
Welcome to Lockdown 2.0; where the rules are pretty much the same but the attitude certainly is not. Whatever mood the last national lockdown took you in, this time everything has changed.
“The first lockdown caught most by surprise, but the second has come with an impending sense of doom, as many of us knew it was coming, but not when,” says Natasha Tiwari, Award winning Psychologist, “The second lockdown is without doubt more imposing on our mental health, especially for those already vulnerable, those battling with depression,anxiety, trauma from the first lockdown and fear of the recession heading our way.”
So are we older and wiser after a near-year of Covid19? Will lockdown 2.0 bring out the best or the worst in us? Chances are, you are probably having one of the following reactions…
The Paranoid One
Nadia used to be pretty chill. She rarely got stressed about anything; from work to social engagements; there really isn’t much that would raise her blood pressure. Then Covid happened. Now everything has her on edge. She is convinced she’s just one spreadsheet error away from getting fired. She thinks Waitrose may be a superspreader and is too scared to leave the house.
She’s worried the neighbours will rat on her for having one extra person in her garden that Saturday two weeks ago. She thinks every stray throat tickle, slight tingle, sneeze or hint of a hot forehead is Covid, every email is about to tell her her landlord is selling the house, that her boss knows she worked from Mallorca in June. Nadia is one missed breath away from passing out at any time.
The Outdoorsy One
Annabel just loves Britain in the autumn, don’t you? Lots of lovely crisp leaves under foot as you walk the black labrador on your dad’s converted farmland. She doesn’t think Lockdown 2.0 will be too bad; it just means strapping on the wellies and the Barbour and meeting up with pals for long walks. She has already scheduled several one on one meetups for the coming walks. She’ll pack sandwiches and a thermos full of mulled wine or hot toddies. It will be festive, won’t it?
The Gives No F***S One
Teresa doesn’t see the point of masks on the tube, they just ruin her lipstick and make her glasses steam up. Teresa never stuck to the rule of six, never went home after curfew. She ‘forgot’ to quarantine when she got back from Ibiza in September, has been to approximately seven raves since June and faked enough business meetings to be a shareholder in a small start-up in order to eat indoors ever since London went into Tier 2. “Now we’re in Lockdown all over again?” she whines, “Urgh. What went wrong??” Teresa doesn’t get it.
The Zen One
Adaku thought the original lockdown provided a wonderful and necessary breathing space. She stopped caring about her hectic social life that was already rinsing her bank account. She stopped overcommitting to work, stopped pushing herself so hard that it felt like her eyeballs may explode. Instead, she disabled the email notifications on her phone, she logged off on time, she downloaded head space, she finally, finally started reading again.
Lockdown 2.0 doesn’t bother her at all; it is just another opportunity for her to centre herself and slow down. So, if anyone needs her between now and December; she’ll be in virtual yoga class every morning until 8am, making her own homemade granola on her lunch break and reading Homo Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harrari every evening in a CBD oil infused bubble bath.
Shannon re-downloaded HouseParty the minute Boris finished his speech on Saturday. She wrote out a zoom schedule for the whole month; has planned wine tastings and parties, invited all of her friends to regular quiz nights and video-synced movie nights. She has costume parties and virtual karaoke, a black tie from the waist up (“he he”) zoom dinner. “Won’t this be so much fun?” she emails all of her friends; who all immediately – and mysteriously- lose WIFI connection.
The One Who Has Given Up
Danielle really cared about lockdown: the original. She stayed home, she clapped, she anti-bacced it all, she kept her distance and always wore a mask. Even when lockdown lifted, she reduced her social life, she abided by the rules, she was home before curfew, attended no parties, let rain pour into her Malbec and linguine on the outdoor non-heated terrace with no-more than five of her friends. Lockdown: the sequel? Danielle has had enough. She has, quite simply, run out of f***s to give. She won’t be zooming, park walking or adopting whatever neat three-word slogan the government comes up with next. She will be going to bed until 2021.
The One Who Got Away
Anisa and her husband rented a cottage in the Swedish countryside last week. They thought it was a novel holiday destination, a wonderful place to WFH. Now, they are looking at the UK Lockdown 2.0 and extending their stay in lockdown-free Sweden until December. They are regaling their friends with photos of restaurants and parties, hotel stays and long walks through the impressive vistas. “What a beautiful accident” they post, “#luckyescape.” They wonder why they haven’t heard from many of their pals lately, as everyone back home in Birmingham begins muting them on Instagram.
The One Who is Really, Really Lonely
Catherine really didn’t do too well with the original lockdown. She lives alone, and whilst all her friends were laughing on zoom with their significant others, or making banana bread and running quiz nights; she was just trying to keep everything together in her head. Lockdown easing was a release for Catherine.
She went on dates, she saw all her friends, she was even relieved to get back in the office; with a normal routine and all her teammates. Now lockdown is looming again- and it may last longer than a month. Catherine is terrified. Please check in with Catherine.
So how to help yourself this time around?
“If the news causes you anxiety, limit your intake,” says Natasha, “This may also mean limiting time on social media. Go easy on yourself; you are not obliged to learn a new skill, start a new business, become a master chef etc, just because you are at home, with time. There is no shame in not being productive. These are trying times, posing real risk to our wellbeing. Getting through it, with good health is enough.
Try to enjoy the time at home, and reframe the lockdown as a cosy lock in. When the weather is clear, go out for a walk. Walking alone has immense benefits for our clarity of mind. Lean on support when you need it, both from loved ones and professionals. And remember, this will not last forever. As the adage goes, this too, will pass.”