Celebrating Cultures, Promoting Integration
Well it has happened, like I think we all knew it would, we are back in Level 5 Lockdown. Bars and restaurants are closed save for takeaways, hairdressers and regular retailers have shut their doors once again and life has come to a grinding halt. It’s difficult and upsetting that we are in this position, but we have experienced this before. We know far more than we did back in March, when it seemed the whole world was being enveloped by Covid-19. For that reason and many more, there is evidence to suggest that this secondary lockdown will be easier to get through and here is why.
Like I said before, we have been through this scenario already. Back in early March Ireland was locked down and only essential services remained operational. We worked from home, we stayed within two kilometers of our houses, we didn’t socialise with neighbours, friends or family. It was lonely, anxious and often confusing as a lack of information meant no one saw the bigger picture. But believe it or not, the situation has changed. We are seven months along. Seven months into extensive global research and seven months closer to a vaccine. The very fact that we know this particular lockdown will last four to six weeks, is more than we knew about the last lockdown and is a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Even when something is frightening, by informing yourself and knowing what to expect, you take back some of the control and moving forward becomes easier. We can approach this secondary lockdown with a degree of familiarity that was absent before and that will make a significant difference in the long-run.
- Outcome of Covid-19 on the schooling system
- Books to get you through lockdown
- Exercising for mental health in Quarantine
Believe it or not but winter may be on our side in this battle against Covid-19, in terms of temptation at least. Ireland does not experience extremes in climate and we typically experience temperate winters and summers. This summer, however, was particularly warm, with long dry-spells and that pull to go to the nearest beach and sun-bathe the day away was extremely tempting. The nice weather made the mandate to stay indoors even harder to follow and led many to feel far more confined than if the days had been wet and cold. The clocks will go backwards on October 25th and our days will get darker earlier, but that may not necessarily be a negative thing. People tend to spend more time indoors during the winter. The weather is often rainy and cold for the majority of the season and people prefer to head home and keep warm, rather than go to the beach, the park or for a swim. There will be moments when we are climbing the walls and desperate for an outdoor distraction, but when the rain is lashing against the windows, hopefully the temptation to go outside won’t be as strong. Christmas too is on the other side of lockdown and though it will not be the same as in other years, we can make the best of it. We still have the lights and tinsel, the tv’s will play cringy festive movies and we can gorge on Quality Street and Roses (as if we haven’t already been doing that.) Christmas will hopefully show there is life and fun beyond the lockdown.
I think the previous lockdown taught us all about the importance of self-care. Many people joked about gaining weight, growing out their hair and wearing pajamas around the house all day. And while a lot of this was in jest, most of us did let things slide in some regard, whether that was eating bad food, staying in bed too long, or not exercising. Now, with the benefit of hindsight, we have developed coping mechanisms and know how to weather the storm a little bit better. Many of us will have bought hair trimming equipment. Previously, grooming equipment was difficult to come by, with many retailers forced to re-stock after panic-induced buying, for a seemingly endless lockdown. And though the haircuts we give ourselves likely won’t be any better, at least now we have the tools we need and we won’t reach for the kitchen scissors first. We also know the effect a lockdown can have on physical and mental well-being. Second time around, it should be easier to avoid the ruts we fell into, when lockdown was an unknown entity.
Though we are in level 5 again, there are some differences this time around. The schools and creches will remain open, which for some parents, is an absolute God-send. Working from home, with school-aged kids constantly in the house, could feel impossible to juggle. On top of being a parent/guardian, working from home and trying to stay sane yourself, parents were also responsible for a lot of their child’s education. Teachers facilitated the majority of this online, but parents were still expected to be far more involved in their child’s schooling, with many feeling overwhelmed. With education and child-care services remaining open, children and their guardians can maintain a level of structure and normalcy in their lives.
The introduction of support bubbles could be a game-changer in the impact Covid-19 has on elderly and vulnerable people. A support bubble involves isolating with another household and operating as a single unit. This will provide care and support to individuals who are single parents, suffer from mental health problems, have physical disabilities, or live alone. One of the main issues that arose from the previous lockdown, was the serious concern that older or vulnerable people were being ignored. By implementing support bubbles, those most at risk of being isolated have a form of social interaction and protection. To learn how to establish your own support bubble, follow this link.
When we went into lockdown back in March, it is fair to say that panic-buying was an issue. Though retailers made it clear that stocks would not run out, people overreacted, buying items in large and un-necessary quantities. Products such as toilet-paper, flour and anti-bacterial wipes were particularly difficult to get, but shelves were always replenished. Initially there were no supply issues, rather panic-buying created the situation in which we found ourselves. Hopefully now that we have come through one lockdown, we all understand that the shelves will be restocked and there is no need to buy 12 packs of toilet roll and wrestle the 13th out of someone else’s arms.
Now this may not be a big deal for some people, but for a lot of us, watching sport can be a distraction from the chaos going on all around. In March, sport events were cancelled much like everything else and the loss of a major activity made the lockdown harder to get through. Stations broadcast old matches and daily shows found new content to discuss, but when the GAA National League resumed last week, it was glorious. Watching Mayo destroy their Galway rivals would lift anyone’s spirits, except perhaps Galwegian’s. New regulations allow for the continuation of sport under certain circumstances. Professional sports will go ahead, as will elite sports, inter-county Gaelic games and horse racing, all behind closed doors. Not physically getting to go to a pitch to watch a match is disappointing, but having the option to watch a fresh game on television is an excellent compromise. Now thousands of people all across Ireland won’t have to sacrifice yet another freedom, in the battle against Covid-19.
So there you have it, 7 reasons that show this lockdown will be easier than the last and if we follow the rules, protect ourselves and each other, we will come through this, just like we did before.