The arrival of not one, not two but three vaccines – which are being rolled out as we speak – has given us all a light at the end of the tunnel to look towards.
It allows us to hope that life might soon return to normal, and with all of those things we took for granted becoming even more special, it will be a welcome return when it comes.
But as we all know, due to rising cases and a new variant of Covid-19, that we are not there yet.
The good news is that there is no evidence the vaccine isn’t any less effective against the new variants than the old one, meaning we can all still be optimistic about the rollout of the jab – with more than 2.4m people now injected.
But lockdown is back. That means more home-schooling, more time at home and of course fewer social interactions outside the home.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t restart habits from the first lockdown, or use your time at home productively.
Perhaps those new cooking habits you picked up in March and April could return, or you could make this year finally the year when you start learning the language you’ve always wanted to? Or will this lockdown allow you to spend some much wanted time with the kids?
City A.M. heard from a few Brits who are leaning into lockdown.
Susan Oliver, 36, is a business owner who sells homeware and gifts
Last year was one not to forget for all of us, but for Susan it came with a new addition – with a new baby arriving in the second half of the year. She says the vaccines offer a “light at the end of the tunnel” but looks back on the first lockdown with warm eyes.
“I have some absolutely wonderful memories with the kids from the first lockdown, and it really challenged me to use my imagination to entertain them,” she tells City A.M.
The family also got into the habit of an all-together lunch on a Sunday, which Susan says is now a firm family tradition.
And in this lockdown, Susan’s still excited about spending time with the kids.
“I’m excited to see the development of my son as he is now at (virtual) school in Reception, and so I will be able to help him read and write. They’re such foundational skills but not many parents get to be involved in it,” she says.
Many Brits discovered the joy, too, of a world without a commute in 2020. No more armpits in faces on the tube, no more traffic jams on the bypass – and that extra time in the day opens up so many opportunities to do interesting and exciting things.
All in it together – suppressing the virus
Remember, to ensure that we prevent the spread of the virus there are simple steps that you can take:
● Wash your hands for at least twenty seconds regularly throughout the day
● Cover your face with a mask when in enclosed spaces and on public transport
● Keep at least two metres apart from others outside your household wherever possible
● Open a window to ventilate indoor spaces
● Ensure that you familiarise yourself with the rules that apply to the region you live in
Andrew, a director working in financial services, says that before last year he would be home “perhaps twice a week in time for the kids’ bedtime, so the comparison is stark.”
He describes it as very rewarding – and it’s had real benefits.
“It has given me the opportunity to get to know my middle daughter better. It’s all too easy to get on with my son, but to build a stronger relationship with my older daughter has been wonderful,” he tells us.
Naomi Owen is a teacher with three children.
“While it’s disappointing that we are back in lockdown, we are much more geared up for it now,” she says.
“Home-schooling the children feels easier as they are more used to it, and it definitely feels less of a change to our lives than the first lockdown last spring.”
Like many parents, switching ‘back on’ to lockdown life has come with some challenges, but some opportunities too.
“It is lovely to be able to spend more time with them, without ushering them out the door. We definitely have all enjoyed playing games together.”
And it’s given her a chance to find hidden talents in her children – talents that she is looking to nurture over the next few weeks and far beyond.
“My eldest is brilliant at putting together videos and editing them! One of my other children has begun to play the ukulele and my youngest child has really benefited from having us all at home – her vocabulary and development has come on leaps and bounds! Our dog has certainly enjoyed having everyone at home more too!”
There are things we can all do to look after our mental wellbeing at this time. Every Mind Matters can get you started with a free NHS online plan, showing you simple steps to help manage anxiety, sleep better, and boost your mood. For your mental health action plan, search Every Mind Matters today.
So, what will your ‘stay at home’ ambition be? A new language? Time with the kids? Or maybe just getting your affairs in order.
Either way, with guidance very clear that we’re to stay at home under new restrictions to protect the NHS, leaning into lockdown can have some very positive consequences.