Well… here we are, a whole year later with life still revolving around COVID-19. We’re simultaneously questioning how a year can fly by so fast but yet feel so slow and agonising at times. With 3 UK lockdowns under our belt with hopefully no more to come, the team are sharing their COVID reflections, personal diary entries if you will, to commemorate the 1-year anniversary since our worlds and livelihoods were turned upside down.
“I saw a quote on Instagram, it said something like this: “It is only when we strip everything back that we really see the most essential things”. There are a few ways this quote could be interpreted but for me, it has really summed up my lockdown experience. When the government ordered us all to stay at home in March 2020, in some ways I was relieved. I had been monitoring closely the spread of Covid-19 and was really anxious about its devastating effects. The virus, at this stage in the game, felt very unpredictable and I felt instantly happier from a health point of view knowing that my boys and I were safe at home.
Very quickly though, I realised that running a business with two small kids at home and no childcare was going to be very tricky and I was over the moon when nannies were able to work again as we are lucky enough to have the most wonderful nanny, Laura, who came back to work as soon as she was able to. Home became a safe haven full of play, work, cooking, relaxing, working out, teaching and being together. These became the essentials. Essential things to keep us laughing, happy, interested and most of all growing. Family, which, to us, includes Laura, is everything and that really is the only essential there is. The play dates and cinema trips, shopping and socialising, the Barry’s Bootcamps and commuting were all finally revealed for what they truly are – ‘nice to haves’.
“Being able to see what is essential to us as a family has allowed us to springboard off where we currently are and make decisions about the future.”
Things that became essential; using every part of an onion; watching nature grow; daily exercise outdoors; eating with the boys more; talking to each other; phoning my parents. Being able to see what is essential to us as a family has allowed us to springboard off where we currently are and make decisions about the future. Over the past year, it has felt in many ways that we have stood still but in actual fact, we have grown more than ever.”
“The first thought that popped into my head when looking back over the last 12 months was just how testing it’s been (and still is). At the beginning of the first lockdown, my natural introvert instincts were quite happy with this new shift. Of course, incredibly worried about the impact the virus would have on people’s lives, but the idea of staying home didn’t bother me. I was all for it! At the time, I felt very much like the odd one out compared to others who couldn’t bear the thought of being trapped at home and I struggled to understand them. Home is great!?
However, as time has gone on, I’ve realised that it’s had a huge impact on my mental health, and I didn’t see that coming. I thought if anyone is going to cope and perhaps even thrive in this weird time it would be me. The home bird, the introvert, the clock-watcher at the party waiting for a good excuse to slip away in favour of pyjamas and a box set. But truthfully, it’s highlighted a few areas of my mental health that need some work. I think for so long, these little niggles were going unnoticed in “normal” life and I was completely unaware that they were probably bubbling just below the surface. Anxiety has been a big one and it’s something I know others have struggled with over the past year. Lockdown has created a proper hermit out of me and I’ve had some pretty low moments where my once totally manageable, minor anxiety started to infiltrate other areas of my life it hadn’t before.
“Lockdown has created a proper hermit out of me and I’ve had some pretty low moments“
BUT…the positive out of all of this is that I now know what I need to work on and I’m slowly finding coping strategies and recognising unhealthy patterns. If it weren’t for the pandemic, I don’t think these issues would have reared their ugly head ENOUGH for me to notice but they would have continued to fester. I’ve enjoyed so many things over the last year don’t get me wrong! I’ve loved cooking more with my husband, really appreciating nature, walks with friends when allowed or surviving on 3-hour zoom calls with lots of laughter… and I still love being at home! But I don’t want to gloss over the tough times because, for me, it hasn’t been all roses.”
“When I think back to the very beginning of the pandemic, I would never have been able to imagine how much my life would change in the space of a year. If somebody told me I’d be cooped up in my house with my whole family, I think I would have run a mile. But like the rest of the world, we learn, we adapt and we get on with it!
I’m happy to say I can look back on this time with a smile on my face, with memories of making TikTok dances with my Dad, cooking lavish 3-course meals for my family, spending hours wandering around Bushy Park, putting my parents through gruelling workouts in the garden and delivering my nan’s weekly shopping to her doorstep as she waved over the balcony. It has not been easy, to say the least, there has been some seriously low point, actually having COVID being one of the worst, but it’s been balanced out with some highs too. Playing rounders in the park with my friends for my Birthday last June being an absolute highlight. There is one thing for sure, I’ll never take simply going out for dinner or meeting up with a friend for granted ever again. As life begins to pick up pace again, I realise how comfortable I’ve become in this new way of life.
“I’ll never take simply going out for dinner or meeting up with a friend for granted ever again“
Will I miss this slower way of living? The answer is yes I probably will, but just like we adapted to the pandemic, we will adapt back to our “old lives”… hopefully taking the elements we’ve enjoyed most about lockdown with us on the journey!”
“When lockdown started I was both relieved and anxious; anxious about the impact of the virus but also relieved to be able to work from home where I felt safe. As someone who loves to spend time at home around home comforts, I felt I would thrive from a work from home environment and getting to spend more time with my husband and dog was just a wonderful added bonus. With the gorgeous weather and being lucky enough to have a garden in London, I felt like one of the few people who enjoyed spending so much time at home.
But as time went on, and the weather got colder my positivity and enthusiasm at spending every day at home and cooking, reading and dressing up for the occasional Zoom drinks soon turned into quick-fix meals, deliveroo, a lot of Netflix (I mean how amazing was The Great and Bridgeton?), snapping at my husband for not keeping his “desk space” tidy and days where I didn’t get out of my pyjamas. I really started to miss my family and friends and also the amazing endorphins I get from the gym (home workouts do not cut it for me). I will never take these for granted again.
“The idea of socialising still feels a little daunting…I feel anxious about the R-rate and that others won’t be taking the rules as seriously as I do”
As lockdown continued this routine became my new normal; pjs and loungewear my wardrobe staple, not taking pride in my appearance, losing enjoyment in cooking and avoiding zoom dates. I think that getting out of this rut and coming out of lockdown will be harder for me than it was going into Lockdown. The idea of socialising still feels a little daunting… I feel anxious about the R-rate and that others won’t be taking the rules as seriously as I do or the complete lack of energy after months of isolation. I have almost become too comfortable just being at home.
But with summer around the corner and my first baby on the way, I am also so excited about what this summer will hold and spending time with loved ones again.. slowly but surely. “