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Don’t overthink things and look after yourself

News has broken of a local lockdown for the North East – here’s how to get through it.

A collective sigh and a sinking feeling of ‘here we go again’ greeted yesterday’s news that 2 million people in the North East have been put under greater restrictions to further prevent the spread of Covid-19. A local lockdown is less strict than the full lockdown we experienced earlier in the year but it’s still something to adjust to.

For specific guidelines on what the lockdown means in the region, visit:

North East Measures

The North East follows Leicester, parts of Wales, areas of Birmingham and Greater Manchester with local lockdown measures. While it’s easy to feel a sense of panic, it’s worth remembering that schools and nurseries are remaining open and children can continue to attend as usual (unless children test positive for Covid within their respective bubbles).

We spoke to someone who has experience of a local lockdown and its implications. Rebecca lives in Trafford, a borough of Greater Manchester which has been under local lockdown constraints since July 30th. As we learn to live with the new set of regulations our adjusted status brings, Rebecca has some tips on how to live through the uncertainty.

With the news that socialising with people in your home or garden or in public spaces is against the latest regulations, get prepared to wrap up for some exercise and a change of scenery. Rebecca has a young son so for fresh air they’ve been heading out, but as we go deeper into autumn, going out will become weather-dependant:

“I have realised the importance of a good winter coat – the only place we go is the park, which is fine for now, but I am worried about what will happen as the weather gets colder. Plans are more precarious, but we appreciate those outings to the duck pond a little bit more.”

A 10pm curfew has been quoted as a new restriction in the North East and while it has been possible to socialise in Greater Manchester, restaurants and bars have implemented outside-only drinking and dining. When done with the correct measures in place, Rebecca reports that it can be a pleasant experience:

“There are some silver linings: my husband booked an outside table at a pub where you order on an app. A usually heaving pub where you can’t normally get to the bar was nicely quiet.”

We should add that in the North East, it’s advised not to visit bars or restaurants with people from outside your own household.

For the most part we’ll be losing the ability to see friends and family face-to-face and, while that should be temporary, Rebecca says that it’s to be expected that your friendship circle will feel a lot smaller as you rely on Whatsapp messaging instead of meeting up in real life:

“It’s natural that some relationships will falter. Don’t beat yourself up about friendships shifting. I’ve found that the regular group of friends I’m in contact with has shrunk.”

Many of us hit the wine bottle hard when lockdown began in March, but realised constant boozing was not the healthiest way to experience the pandemic. One lesson this second period of lockdown has taught Rebecca is not to expect too much of herself and to prioritise self-care:

“I’ve realised I can’t do everything. I’m trying to look after myself a bit more so that might mean I do a bit more yoga and I spend less time trying to hoover the house.”

With no firm end date being given for today’s local lockdown news, Rebecca recommends we don’t fixate on when it might end:

“Don’t think too far ahead. We don’t know the end date of our local lockdown yet. Information changes regularly and I have learned not to think beyond the next weekend. I haven’t even considered how things might look at Christmas.”

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