The Lockdown Blues


Submission

New Rules for Culture after Covid

8 October 2020

‘New Rules For Culture after Covid’ has been created by a few socially engaged artists in the hope of influencing how organisations, funders and institutions think in the future.

We hope you find it interesting and influential.  We would love you to print it off and put it in your office as reminders to issues we feel could be handled better.  It truly voices our frustrations and short falls we have experienced.

We would also love it if you shared it widely.

Many thanks

RAH+JA



Submission

Plants in the garden

5 October 2020

Drawing plants in the garden as a form of mindfulness during lockdown

 

 

 



Submission

When we paused…

25 September 2020

I run small arts and wellbeing organisation that of course involves face to face contact. Lockdown not only put an abrupt end to the projects I was running it also removed my connection with others and my sense of purpose. I began to consider where I might find a sense of meaning and solace and I negotiated this deep feeling of loneliness and realised that in this asking this question, I was probably not alone. In response, I launched #whenwepaused.com a virtual exhibition that asked others to consider where we find meaning and solace as we negotiated this shared yet solitary global experience.

For me, the project provided a grounding sense of reconnection to the experiences of others. #whenwepaused presents a visual time capsule of the responses of strangers from across the world as we collectively and creatively negotiated the pandemic and
considered the meaning and solace that might support an antidote.
At a time when I felt lost and alone, the project helped me find a sense of purpose and a connection to the experiences of others. and I hope looking at it or taking part, gave (continues to give) this same sense of connection to others. https://whenwepaused.com



Submission

Poem for a sunny day

10 September 2020

A large spotty dog lying out on a green rug, and a person wearing a face mask resting their head on the dog, like a pillow.
Sunny day behind closed doors,the garden my pleasure to safely enjoy the outdoors.

Who knows what tomorrow brings, my garden means everything,

The butterflies,pollinating bee’s,tiny insects all doing their thing,

Nature is wonderful,let’s not ruin the beauty,so can we change our polluting ways.



Submission

Pandemic

9 September 2020

A giant tape measure, with one person standing at one and another person at the other end.Pandemic,
mass panic
memories shifting and surfacing 
self-isolation takes on new meaning.
Hastily, hand washing posters taped up overnight,
hand gel in homes used while it flows,
squirted on open palms in shops
where they once spritzed you with perfume.
Sanitization is now the soothing balm –
to keep us from harm,
to ward away the whispering of panic
with practical magic.

Shops closed,
cafes a memory in only one day.
Things change swiftly
and that is what the shifty killer demands,
murmuring murder and mishap,
upending the smoothness of our lives,
showing us the invisible germs we ignored,
the snags in the infrastructure 
in no uncertain terms.

The blossoms mouths are open wide
greedily grasping the sun,
birds swoop with more vigour it seems
as I share their sense of urgency.
I go for swathes of time
not remembering that things are any different.
But my sleeping brain jolts awake,
worry-stab of instant recall
and at night I strain for the sounds of cars on the busy main road,
the enjoyment of peace compromised by the threat of abnormality. 
With a sense of relief I find them;
the subdued yet steady pulse of a country still living,
heart still beating.

I reach for subtle threads of life wavering,
imagine the breathlessness,
and feel my own breath disjointed,
discordant heartbeat,
nerves jangling with heightened senses:

I will them solace
I will them be brave
I will them recover
and their kin be comforted.

I replay the scene of earlier in the day –
the sombre queue outside the pharmacy,
not a complaint at one in one out,
not a sign of dissent at the wait:
calm, scared children facing their fate,
anxious at the thought of a medicine drought,
scrupulously observing the six-foot gap of social distancing –
new terms we’ve learned, new rules we can follow for a sense of security.
Now, I’m reminded of childhood,
of the serious way I played party games
Sleeping lions
Pass the parcel
Musical chairs.
Were they rehearsals for scares such as these?
Games to stem the dark flood of such mortal fears?
Well Ring-a-roses worked for the plague.

A dour queue of civilians,
when a woman laughs, it startles,
a bark of alien sound in a wasteland.
I quietly board a bus with two passengers and a driver in gloves 
almost afraid to say hello
afraid to breathe
afraid to touch
afraid of the anxious exhalations of the other passenger.
I speed towards home like I live in a war zone
I speed towards home and the comforts within:
tea, food, films, books –
not so bad then, not so different.
The hungry birds going about their day, business as usual,
bird table ransacked,
flitting from tree to tree unperturbed,
or so is the animal to human perspective illusion
for animals must always be alert –
a danger sense we humans have ignored
at our peril?

More of Claire’s poems and photography can be found on the Circus of Thought Facebook blog.



Submission

Major Lockdown

4 September 2020

MAJOR LOCKDOWN

Corona virus on the news, whole damn world has got the blues

People dying day by day, from them we must stay away

Distance of two metres planned, every visitor is banned

Open ended quarantine, face masks, gloves in bright sunshine

Homes’ a prison now for us, cannot even catch the bus

Brummie airport now a morgue, cannot live of own accord

Libraries and shops closed down, everywhere is a GHOST TOWN

Radio is a lifeline, makes us feel a bit more fine

Try to live without a frown in  . . .   SURREAL MAJOR LOCKDOWN

 

(c) Simone Sibbald, April 2020



Submission

Covid-19 Dreams

4 September 2020

I wanted to convey the idea of dreaming as a form of escapism, as I’ve noticed that recently my dreams have become extremely vivid (perhaps in response to the blandness of everyday life).



Submission

Trapped

4 September 2020

Trapped

It’s not a prison, I’m free

As long as I stay inside

or in my garden cus I’m lucky

there’s nowhere else to hide

 

It’s for the best they tell us

so that lots of people don’t die

but millions of us are suffering

it makes me want to cry

 

How long will this go on for?

3 weeks they say for now

And then we can go out again

But I don’t think so somehow

 

No pubs, no clubs, no cinema

No gyms, no parks, no fun

They’ve even banned open spaces

Thank goodness for the sun

 

So when this is all over

And they’ve ended all this pain

I’m going to live life to the full

And never stay in again!



Submission

For All I Know

1 September 2020

A song about about continuing to be creative and hoping that you’re making a difference even when it feels like you might not be.



Submission

Kindness is needed in the real world too

1 September 2020

I have spent a good deal of time staring at my brother s iPad. I want the kindness seen on the internet towards disability translated into the real world permanently. We have ignored those who need dignity far, far too long.


Submission

Community Poem

1 September 2020

As part of Exeter Bloom 2020 – the online festival of mental health awareness – Exeter Phoenix teamed up with Spork to create a Community Poem during lockdown.



Submission

On this lockdown some days I’ve felt down

27 August 2020

On this lockdownA person with a cap bending down to look at a worm wearing a hat down on the floor.
Some days
I’ve
Felt down
And upset too
But I am great
Apart from
That
Got my lovely husband
Adam
He’s my rock and
Roll,
My family are my
Rock and roll too
And my
Whole wide world
So are all
My loving friends
So day
Hi to
Everyone for me
Stay safe
In deed.



Submission

Our Lockdown Stories

27 August 2020



Submission

In this year 2020 it’s Covid 19

26 August 2020

It came over from China, so they sayA person sitting alone with a laptop on their lap, and the bright light from the screen pouring out.
But the proven facts change every day
The when, where, why, what endlessly debated
As science and strategy are argued and slated
By those who know better as they stay in their homes
On zoom, facetime, twitter so they don’t feel alone
In the country locked-down as contagion took hold
Of fear and bewilderment and more deaths for the old
And those chronically ill and with darker skin
Such a fiscal, political, social blight we are in
A crowned stately might, a killer unseen
In this year 2020 it’s Covid 19.

Its March toward April beat out the death knell
as lungs gasped their last no one could tell
us when it would end or what to expect
20,000 corpses would in fact net
a “good outcome” a national success
as the curve would have flattened to aid our NHS
Then I heard from dear Lisa that Terry had died
Alone in the night, no-one by his side
As for thousands of others, for her there’s no hugs
nor a cider fuelled wake where she could feel the love
of memories, stories of all that he’s been
In this year 2020 it’s Covid 19.

Downing street briefings, the 2metre rule
Most of the children aren’t going to school
Except for those of key workers, for whom we clap
At 8pm Thursdays when we hurriedly chat
With our dear neighbours with who we’re now friends
Through the whats-app corona club messages sent:
Shopping lists, stories and words of support;
songs from our gardens and music we’ve sought
To unite us through these strange dark sunny days
The big and small changes of new imposed ways
Leaves nature to realize the Great Thunberg dream
In this year 2020 of Covid 19

And then there is work……. I’ve been re-deployed
The masks, gloves and aprons do get me annoyed
I can smile but nobody knows that it’s there
The words that I use to show that I care
Are muffled and covered from those brave worried Mums
As I implore with my eyes and strive to give some
Comfort to those who are finding things hard
Counsel to those with pregnancies marred
By insomnia, miscarriage, flashbacks, abuse,
Exhaustion and home schooling they didn’t choose
Whilst growing new life when all that they hear
Is R rates and death rates and statistics unclear
It’s not what they hoped, “the world feels so mean”
In this year 2020 of Covid 19

Labcentre results of blood, swabs and urine
Less face to face care calls for new ways of working
Triaging, vaccines, mountains of notes
Trakcare, appointments, what’s the aspirin dose?
Referrals, forms, spreadsheets an inbox full of mails
Questions and review to ensure the details
NIPE and blood spots, where was the postman?
Special delivery of repeats when there was none
The reception team bringing us free rounds of coffee
(My waistline is getting progressively squashy)
Josie, Claire, Jill, Emmas, Carolines, Tracey
Tirelessly focussed on ensuring Mums’ safety
A finely tuned unit, a humanitarian machine
In this year 2020 its Covid 19

Trips away cancelled and aeroplanes grounded
Furloughing, closures, mortgage breaks founded
On the basis that this time will not last
And we’ll revert to our lives, all we did in the past
Where we pay keyworkers poorly but fatten the cats
With days full of rushing and no time for chat
Extolling celebs whilst ignoring our neighbours
And teaching our kids life’s purpose is labour
From this worrying stop, this hiatus, this breather
From our distant connect we can all either
Just dwell on the sadness of all that has gone
Or plan to start back afresh and change what was wrong
And with clarity of vision and pride we can scream
That was our year 2020 of Covid 19

By Emma Fuell, 06.06.2020



Submission

Flower Fireworks

26 August 2020

How I’ve whiled away hours and hours stuck in the house.



Submission

My lockdown face; mixing boredom, anger and frustration

24 August 2020

 

                                                                                                   instagram.com/adams_lockdown_paintings


Submission

Reflections on lockdown

24 August 2020

Another cool and damp English summer evening. I dine alone with views across the cityscape to the hills beyond. Now the little creek has no burning red sun reflecting upon the still water while it sets on the horizon. Instead the blue/grey clouds drift above, threatening storms. No more hot and sticky days when a shower hardly has an effect. No more restless nights when time plays tricks with the mind, and the body aches for a death-like slumber. Tomorrow may differ. The weather, like the world, is constantly changing, evolving, rolling along in spite of human intervention. Time has no control. Time is the enemy of the old. Close to the anniversary of the death of the King of Rock and Roll, one reflects on a gloriously misspent youth. In fact, during the socially distant isolation a world-wide pandemic now imposes, reflection has become a constant companion. The last century brought two world wars, each with its own horrific consequences. Tormented spirits still audible to those sensitive enough to hear. For those of us fortunate enough to have been conceived and born soon after the wars, a whirlwind of re-build, social revolution, economic growth and carefree fun ensued. We gained the confidence to believe we could truly make a difference. We sang and laughed and marched in protest of the historic errors which we misunderstood. The future for us now contains the pain of ageing and eventual demise. Inevitable, but we have the attitude our generation developed. The future is for the young. Growing into their own world and carrying with them their own confidence and knowledge. I will watch and smile. Listen to my music, and remember…Love and Peace. The hippie dream.

 



Submission

Books on Loneliness, Exeter Library.

21 August 2020



Submission

The Covid-19 Blues

21 August 2020

A new composition from the soulful South West.



Submission

In the station

21 August 2020



Submission

A Sense of Loss

21 August 2020

On January 4th, my wife lost her battle with cancer. After being her full time carer for 2 years, I was left devastated by her loss. Our 22nd wedding anniversary would have been on valentines day, so I organised a remembrance day for her instead. When I sat to write a eulogy for her, this poem came out instead. The feelings still hold as strong now, because in the last 8 months I have probably only spent about 7 days in the company of another person. My family live nearly 200 miles away and because I was caring full time for my wife never had the chance to make friends in the area. And then we went in to lockdown, when I most needed contact and a hug.
I hope anybody who finds themselves in a similar position of loss and isolation, will find a reflection of there own feelings in the words.



Submission

Quiet streets

19 August 2020



Submission

Older Men at the Margins

19 August 2020

Older Men at the Margins: how men experience and combat loneliness and social isolation in later life

More details on this project can be found here.



Submission

Evidently Covid Time

19 August 2020

The bloody scene is bloody sad, 
The bloody news is bloody bad, 
My bloody business is bloody broke,
My credit rating’s a bloody joke. 
They’ve got a bloody Covid clause 
To pass their bloody screwed up laws; 
Fill bloody forms and form a line - 
Brace yourself for Covid time.
Boris got it bloody wrong -
That bloody mask’s a bloody thong! 
My bloody phone’s been bloody hot - 
My bloody friends and family rock. 
The bloody birds are bloody loud 
There’s not a bloody vapour cloud; 
The sky is far too bloody blue 
What the bleeps to bloody do? 
Shut the door and keep in line 
It’s bloody Covid 19 time. 

I’m wearing bloody Lycra tights,
There’s not a bloody car in sight. 
My bloody calves are bloody aching, 
My bloody daughter’s bloody baking. 
My bloody son is taking walks 
And leaves his desk to bloody talk. 
I’ve chopped all next year’s bloody logs, 
My lent’s gone to the bloody dogs. 
Fill the trolley high with wine 
It’s bloody Covid 19 time. 

My bloody Dad has got me sowing, 
My bloody seeds are bloody growing. 
I bloody garden in the nude 
And no one says it’s bloody rude. 
There’s seats on every bloody train, 
The bloody evening’s filled with games. 
My bloody time’s so bloody free
I only have to think of me - 
Isolation’s not a bloody bore 
I hope they bloody give us more. 
Pass the gin and slice a lime 
It’s bloody Covid 19 time. 

Lizzy Lister – April 2020

(With thanks and acknowledgement to John Cooper Clarke, whose Evidently Chicken Town provided the inspiration for this verse)

A set of fives houses, all separate, with people at their windows. A nightsky behind.



Submission

Fear and Loathing. In Sainsbury’s.

19 August 2020

Two sealed transparent boxes with a green background. In each box is a human head.We ventured together today for the first time since March, to Sainsbury’s.  An inordinately stressful experience – I was left exhausted and wanting to weep.

COVID is a cruel and unusual enemy.  We witness it at second hand – in news segments; in impossible-to-grasp statistics delivered by politicians and media who time and again have proved themselves untrustworthy; in social media threads without provenance.  Not only is the threat invisible, a virus with a stealth shield, but its worst effects are blessedly concealed from public gaze by hospital walls.  Yet the genuine seriousness of the threat is evidenced by unprecedented measures in force to protect us all and to help us protect each other.

The impact was forceful, of performing the mundane task of shopping, in exceptional circumstances – masked, distanced, silent.

The queue stretches across the car park; it’s largely silent.  Customers wait patiently, absorbed in their own business, any intimacy in shared adversity suspended – at least for now.  At the doors, we are encouraged to try an app to achieve our task without any human contact, and my husband goes off to do so.  I don my mask.

Inside, the store appears deceptively normal; but clothing is subject to a one-way system.  I browse, vaguely disoriented, faintly irritated both by the system and another customer who disregards it.  My awareness is heightened of each item I touch: do I need to touch this? Yes. Did I sanitise? Yes.  Is it suitable? No.  Got to put it back.  Is that allowed?

Anxiety rises.  I notice the feel of my mask – the softness of the fabric as it moves with each breath.  I can breathe just fine.  I can.  I just need some air.  I notice my breathing quicken, and take a moment to slow it and be aware that I can, indeed, breathe.

In the food aisles, everything seems unfamiliar or impossible to find.  Like a small creature faced by a huge threat, my field of vision contracts to focus on that which I’m looking directly at.  I seek the attention of a member of staff, and she doesn’t hear me.  Twice.  Three times.  My mask ensures my voice cannot be heard outside my head, like a sort of prosthetic madness.  I realise that if I smile at other shoppers my expression is largely invisible, and notice that visually I skip over others wearing masks:  they have become background, whilst those without are part of the foreground, interactable and human.  I’m aware my husband will have finished his shopping, and feel I should hurry.  But nothing is where I expect it to be, and I find myself making fruitless circuits of aisles, my back to the items I seek.

Damn mask, I can’t breathe.  I slip a finger beneath the edge to allow some welcome air in.  And realise in so doing I negate the benefit of wearing it at all.  That hand has to touch the shopping, the trolley, the card, the phone, the list, the car… I feel breathless and defeated.  A non-person in a mask, lost in a supermarket, alone among fearful strangers.

Adverts broadcast in the store are now about COVID.  Help slow the spread.  Charge a card so others can shop for you.  Please be patient with our staff and customers at this time.  I long for it to stop.

I long for all of it to stop.



Submission

Life in lockdown: alone in company

17 August 2020

I’m one of the odd ones.

COVID outed my vulnerability, despite my age

My shield is heavy, it weighs a tonne

Forgotten for a while, neglect turned to rage

Then they remembered us.

 

We went from all to nothing, then back again

In less time than it took for all our ‘normal’ friends.

 

If only we could ‘pause’

The crippling anxiety, despair and fear

Every time someone comes too near.

 

Get back out! Enjoy the summer! Go back to work!

Gather outside in socially distanced revelry!

But I’ve still got that shield

And it’s still heavy.

 

I’m with my friends, with my family, but alone

Watching them get close, too close

Acts I can’t condone

So more than ever, I’m the odd one out

Alone in company, socially isolated, distanced by my own fear and doubt.

 

I’m watching, on the periphery

My peers who have never truly

Ever had to face their own mortality

Everyone else, secure, in their little bubble

What I wouldn’t give… for just a little cuddle.



Submission

Finding Calm Amidst the Chaos

17 August 2020

A new appreciation for my oldest neighbour, nature



Submission

Nocturnus – Campanula Dream

17 August 2020

These are two short pieces of film that I made during the lockdown to accompany some soundscapes/poetry I made previous to the pandemic, which focus on loss and the loneliness that I felt within this experience. During the pandemic I re-connected with my creativity and it felt like the right time to explore the pieces of sound I had made further by revisiting these emotions and creating a visual aspect for the soundscapes.

 



Submission

The Ghost Child

17 August 2020

The Ghost Child

 

I see the shape of the lonely girl

Solemnly counting her steps alone

 

A good child, all agreed

But a changeling nonetheless

Riding life’s storms

With passions deep and unresolved

 

Always questioning, never finding answers

Why am i here, what happens next?

 

My ghost child sits within me

I accept her pain

Do my best to comfort her,

Keep her safe and cocooned



Submission

Dementia the Thief

17 August 2020

Dementia the ThiefA close-up of a face in profile. Across the scalp, the drawing shows a mind filled with trees.

 

The thief that stole you away from me

it started so slowly that we didn’t see

the thief that stole you away.

 

Your chair is empty and looking at me,

and I know it’s where you should be,

but the thief it took you away.

 

You sit in the Home but I cannot see,

as the Covid has made it so hard for me,

the thief that stole you away.

 

But my love it grows stronger and you always will be

the love of my life,

and that cannot be stolen

from you or from me.

 

PL



Submission

A Countryman

17 August 2020

A Countryman.

Imagine a life spent mainly outdoors,

Where the fields are your carpets

The hedges your walls.

With the sun on your face

And the sting of the rain

Tending your flock, or planting the grain

 

Imagine a time when you looked to the sky

Sometimes too wet and sometimes too dry.

But the seasons rolled on

and you managed the land

if it’s not in your blood

you may not understand.

 

Imagine a man who knows every tree

And the roll of each hill from the gate to the sea,

And the days turn to weeks

And the months into years

Of a lifetime of joy

And occasional tears.

 

Imagine that man as he now grows old

And he struggles to walk back out in the fold.

Then he starts to forget

All his family and friends

and he worries about

where all this will end.

 

Imagine that man now stuck in the house

Inside those four walls, just him and his spouse

And she struggles to cope

As he’s slipping away

And their brightly lit world

Has all turned to grey.

 

But deep in his soul is the murmur of trees

The feel of the sun and the soft summers breeze

It’s all still inside

He just needs us to see

That he wants to get out

Where he can be free

 

Please don’t lock him away, it will do him more harm

Give him a chance to get back on a farm

Remember the man,

It is no disgrace

To get mud on his boots

and a smile on his face.

Jan Millward©

 

 

 

 



Submission

Life in ‘Lockdown’- the first month…

17 August 2020

Buildings, trees, sun and tree. A person trying to gain access to the building, but it appears to be a fake set.What a strange world we find ourselves in! I know I am not alone in having to re-invent myself and realise what is important to me in my life. I am a social animal ………………… I thrive on company and meeting people. Fortunately I have a partner who had moved in shortly before lockdown so I have company as I know that being on my own would not have been good for my mental health. I think too much! Even so, it is still odd.

Being able to jump in the car after work and head to the beach for a walk or go out for coffee with a friend now seems such a long time ago…..and a long way off. It doesn’t stop me dreaming about it though!  Not having my children to stay over the Easter holidays and not seeing my elder son before he heads off to danger zones with the RAF is something I really, really miss. Caring for my elderly, isolated mother……the weekly shopping, cleaning and hair washing which I now find are my responsibility. Vidal Sassoon now has nothing on me!! (I’m not sure she…or my partner would agree!) I think his number ‘3’ looks great! My mother hasn’t got a number 3…yet!

My son’s wedding, planned for June this year had to be postponed until next year…so much planning and looking forward to has gone on hold. And I will have to lose the half a stone I have now put on during lockdown due to comfort eating, or I won’t fit into my outfit!

In my ‘every day’ life, lack of routine and motivation are two of the most difficult things for me, and I realise now that I actually thrive on the organisation I once had during the day, the full diary of work meetings with participants, and supporting them and my work colleagues are what I looked forward to most.  I have moaned so many times about using the laptop and phone constantly for work and for socialising but where would be now if we didn’t have technology! As much I hate it, I am so grateful that I have the knowhow to use it or the guile to ask someone to help me to use it!

I’ve been introduced to’ Zoom ’this week, something  I previously thought was an ice lolly!

It’s brilliant! A Coffee morning in your lounge! Great for catching up with work colleagues, participants and my pub quiz buddies!

The good things: Yes, there are actually several. I now have more than enough ‘spare’ time for all those things I was going to do ‘when I retire’! The keyboard has come out of the loft and I have reacquainted myself with it! There’s a way to go! Yoga sessions in the lounge…via Zoom!

I have sorted through the garage, and now need a skip to get rid of all those things I kept ‘in case they were ‘useful’’!  Two jigsaws down and one to go……thousands of photos to store ‘somewhere safe’! GARDENING….well, where to start! A new fence, old one painted, not a weed in sight, plants re-planted in bigger pots, walls and decking pressure washed…. A never- ending work in progress, and I love it!

Finding local walks, back lanes and woodland. Listening to the birds in the amazing stillness and quiet everywhere. Being able to cross the main road without looking, as there’s No traffic! Even the cat accompanied me my on my walk around the block last night, unhindered by cars and ‘strangers’.

Strangers….there’s a thing….EVERYONE says hello and smiles when they pass you out walking now. And Maybe it’s just because they haven’t spoken to anyone all day/all week, but how lovely! I’ve met my neighbours! Each week when we are ‘clapping for the NHS and Essential workers’, (last week I got a bit over excited and broke my wooden spoon on the saucepan I was banging!) new people speak across the road or the fence. It’s so nice!

People are being kind to one another, whether it is helping someone who is isolating by collecting/delivering things or just calling them on the phone to say hello, are you ok? It’s the little things, reaching out to someone that means so much right now.

I hope this doesn’t change when we reach the ‘other side’ and that we will continue to be ‘friendly’ and realise that we are all ‘In it’ together, and there’s no separating us through social standing or what we have, or what we do. We are all the same underneath! We all have our vulnerabilities.

I was recently asked to provide a simple sentence about ‘what we do’ as a company at Active Plus. And whether I actually manage it or not….I like to think that, in or out of work  ‘ We make people smile again’. A smile costs nothing but it can mean a lot to the person who receives it.

Stay safe and well everyone, and try to find one small thing each day that makes you smile 😊I look forward to shaking your hand again very soon…and I think we’ll all deserve a Big hug!

 





Submission

A letter to past me

7 August 2020



Submission

Lockdown tips

7 August 2020

This lockdown has been, for me, a time of reflection and personal growth. I’ve experienced along the way significant mental distress, but by having the time to find the root causes and thoroughly analyze my experience, I’ve been able to grow out of my negative phases and learn how to tackle them once they reappear. Moreover, I have also built on my transferable skills and boosted my employability through the various webinars/courses/virtual projects I took part in. In essence, this lockdown has given me an unprecedented amount of free time. Which can be both a good thing and a bad thing, but mostly a good thing if you know how to go about it. So, without further ado, here is my advice for anyone who finds themselves with copious amounts of free time and no possibility of going outside:

  • Write about your negative feelings if you experience them.

Journaling has been highly beneficial for me in terms of my mental health and I would recommend doing something that would mimic its effects. Allocating an hour per week to express your feelings on paper is enough to make you more aware of and consequently more able to deal with your mental health problems.

  • Take online courses

The lockdown was literally the perfect time for me to learn new things. There are loads of sites with free trials and courses on everything from coding to knitting. I learnt a new coding language for free and in the process I have also improved my knowledge of other programs.

  • Attend webinars

Previously I hadn’t known what a good source of free information the CareerZone was. There are loads of interesting speakers whose experiences you can learn from and the soft skills sessions are incredibly useful.

  • Stay in touch with your friends

When I was isolating, I found it very easy for me to not answer calls or not respond to messages since I was “isolating anyway”.   It can be a slippery slope so find time to FaceTime your friends and make use of apps like House Party to play games together (since there’s likely going to be little to talk about anyway)

  • Relax

Lockdown can be very overwhelming. When you realize you have so many choices and so many things you want to do, you might panic because there is still limited time. Have a bubble bath, watch a good show and meditate. You can’t do anything without mental clarity.

  • Find an alternative source of money

I left this last because I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone. It really depends on how willing you are to take on another responsibility and allocate time to another activity. I personally sold some of my items on a Facebook group and started to invest, but there are many other ways to make money online nowadays.

 



Submission

How I feel after 40 years of knitting

7 August 2020



Submission

Isolating Shift Patterns

7 August 2020

My job in the MoD means that I’m deemed a Critical Contractor. At the start of the pandemic we were working on projects that were critical for National Defense tasks for next year. To minimise the effects of a Covid outbreak in the work place, and following government guidelines, those who could work from home, did so. Our shifts were altered so we didn’t see any of the other shift patterns. This was fine at first, but as time went on you start to feel more isolated, strange when you are working with a small team of 4 people, just a quarter of what our normal shift structure would be.

When the country was placed into lockdown we were ramping up towards our ‘Live firings’ trial. This was made harder due to people working from home, communication was by email and it was a slow process which highlighted the isolation that those of us left on site were facing. This was further amplified by the fact that we couldn’t go into other buildings, nor take our lunch to have with our colleagues who were working on other aspects of the same project.

Travelling to work, it was noticeably quieter on the roads, a few cars, the odd ambulance and a lot of lorries. We knew something was coming a few days beforehand, as we all got ‘Classified National Contractor’ letters sent to our home addresses…

19 weeks later, as far as work goes little has changed. Being able to see friends and family has been a big bonus.



Submission

Window Pain

7 August 2020



Submission

My Loneliness in Lockdown

7 August 2020



Submission

Exeter connected

7 August 2020



Submission

How to survive isolation in Covid times…

7 August 2020

Have a routine.

Be flexible.

Average 5 fruit and veg daily but eat more of them – you have the time.

Smile when you read, think or watch TV.

It’s good exercise.

Move as much as you can and be moved.

Be very moved.

Ask for help.

Accept help.

Live with orderliness – it shows you care.

Nod to flowers.

Wave to trees.

Hug yourself hard.

Smile.

Make each day a golden opportunity day.

Make something.

Biscuits.

Treasure those random acts of support.

The universe is listening.

Do something.

Cleaning but not too much.

Be flexible.

Have a routine.

Sturdy walking shoes help.

Go to those places in your meditations.

Spiteful people have suffered somewhere along the line.

Put downs teach us that some rise up by putting others down.

Draw that bow and rain on them those arrows of love.

Learn something new.

Keep learning.

Share.

Keep sharing.

Be flexible.

Listen to music and sing along.

Ring your children and talk about good times to come.

Tell them of your love for them.

Have a routine.

At the end of the day, clean kitchen surfaces before attending to your own hygiene.

Practise out-of-the-body experiences with divine sunsets and delicious moons.

Have thoughts but think hard about your opinions.

Where do they come from?

Restrict your intake of news from TV, radio and other sources.

Watch, listen and read regularly.

Spare a thought for those who yearned for power through leadership.

Hope those arrows hit those targets..

Be flexible.

Acknowledge beauty.

Acknowledge ALL truths whose roots lie in human experience.

Stay afloat with those truths.

Learn about the Uyghurs in China, the Aboriginal peoples of Australia and all who live here be-cause they would otherwise die there..

Open windows often.

Have a routine.

Remember the universe gets stronger when you are kind to yourself.

Tidy up.

Don’t forget to drink water, wine and human kindness.

Be flexible.

Love as a matter of routine.

 

 

LC 08/07/2020



Submission

EMPTY PLAYGROUNDS

7 August 2020



Submission

You

7 August 2020



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