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What will you take from lockdown life? (And what will you leave behind?)

Whenever we leave lockdown, the last few weeks will have affected us all long term.

by Jo Dunbar

Lockdown life has been quite the learning curve. 

And not just in the sense of learning how to referee children whilst meeting a deadline and explaining what arrays are.

Once we all shut our front doors and made only essential journeys and began to accept our new normal, I realised that the frenetic pace many of us usually live by wasn’t so much rewarding as relentless. When we hopefully get back to a greater state of normality, I’m not sure I’ll be filling our weekends quite so much. Or worrying that the kids need to be constantly entertained. Not dashing around or squeezing a million things into each day was a welcome – if surprising – relief.

I’ve also finally become slightly green-fingered – something I never imagined possible. Pre-lockdown, our garden had flower beds full of weeds, unfriendly brambles poking out of the hedge and tubs of half-killed flowers. Thanks to the Easter school holidays, we went on a planting frenzy and watering our seeds became part of our daily routine. I enjoyed spending some of my frustrated energy hacking back ivy and filling the brown garden waste bin – so satisfying! Perhaps because I have spent so many hours gazing out of the kitchen window, the clumps of dandelions and deadheads on flowers bothered me in a way they never have before – they were easy to ignore before, there was always so much else going on.

To begin with, I wondered enviously what lockdown would look like without the pressure of home learning children: all the extra hours bookending the working day to read, do or relax. But in actual fact, our schedule has been our saviour. I have realised the advantage of a routine – we all know where we are. Similarly, fitting in a daily workout has always had a benefit.

We began lockdown watching a film every night, enjoying a Christmas holidays type vibe. But over time, I’ve turned to more introverted past times. I’ve read more books than I have in years; piles of previously untouched birthday presents are now in use. And I’ve even started trying to complete a crossword – I’m not alone in this: in the last seven weeks, manufacturers of puzzle books and colouring books for adults have seen sales rise by 200%.

Cooking from scratch has become a pleasure not a chore and having worked so hard to source local fresh produce, I don’t want to slip back into buying all we eat at the supermarket. But it’s easy to say that when I have the luxury of time to place orders and am in all day to receive them.

As for what can stay in lockdown…Well, while it’s been refreshing to make just as many calls, hold meetings or undertake interviews via Zoom or Skype; truthfully, I cannot wait to step back from the screens. The novelty of seeing my friends look fuzzy has worn off and I look forward to catching up in person, planning projects across a table, not over a screen.

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