We’ve been in COVID-19 lockdown for about six months now. Melbourne has one of the stronger lockdowns in the world. It’s probably the strictest when you look at it relative to case counts. Most of the Australian cases and deaths have come from Melbourne, but this is minimal compared to many countries. That’s because of the lockdown here. Those who could work from home have done so since March. We’re allowed out of our homes for only four reasons and then we need to stay within five kilometres with patrols, checkpoints and fines for compliance. One person from each household can go once daily for supplies, and we’re now allowed out for two hours of outside/exercise time. A week ago it was just one and just for exercise. Sitting in a park wasn’t permitted. Oh, and masks are mandatory and there’s a curfew from 9pm to 5am daily.
While this is hard, it’s not that bad. I’m fortunate that I don’t think anyone I know has been infected. But it’s still hard. We’ve been on a form of lockdown for six months and probably will for another six months. There’s a roadmap out of lockdown, but it’s aiming for virtual virus elimination and I don’t see it as achievable.
Here are some strategies I’m using to make lockdown more bearable.
Change the story
This morning I woke with dread at the four academic articles I need to read before my online lecture tonight. On top of lockdowntitus, I am not enjoying university and expect this last unit to be a frustration. But no, I’m not reading academic articles: they are magic tomes required for my wizarding apprenticeship. Then inspired by my favourite running app, those slow-walking people blocking the path on your one chance of exercise? They are shambling zombies. Make it a game and don’t get bitten. Following that theme, a supermarket visit becomes a supplies run.
Adopt a Pet
I don’t mean a real animal, unless you were meaning to do that all along. Getting a pet for the pandemic is the same as adopting a dog for Christmas—a terrible idea. This is Succubus, my pandemic pet succulent. I love that my local café is selling items from other small businesses who can’t open. Succubus came home with me from an important supplies run because, coffee.
Send a Letter
Here’s my other pandemic pet: Octy. His full name is Octocrank because he is adorably cranky. My friends and I have always sent postcards or just random cards to each other. Octy was one of those letters that randomly appeared two weeks ago (thank you, Kathleen). They are just little gestures to say hi and help cope with lockdown a lot. My partner has taken to moving Octy around the apartment (that’s how the letter turned into a pet). Currently, Octy is sitting on my large monitor giving me stern looks.
Spring clean your life
Remember all those plans we had at the start? We were coming out of lockdown, highly talented and skilled in all those things we never got around to. Yeah, right. We binged Netflix and when we finished that moved on to Disney+ and any other streaming service we could get a password for. This strategy is a simple one (but also one we all stall on) and can be done watching a movie. As your emails come through, unsubscribe to anything that no longer helps. For me, it was most of the emails from the States. But all those weighted blanket offers and news updates: do you really need them? Then consider the same for your social media feeds.
Cry and eat corn chips for dinner
We can’t be strong every day. On Friday, a tech problem meant I had to call a government department. It broke me. That evening may have included chips, dessert, and candy. It’s not an evening I’m proud of, but I’m also not going to beat myself up over it. It was needed at the time. Try for moderation and accept it as lockdown life.
I hope these help. Lockdown isn’t easy, but I prefer it than seeing people ill and dying and in constant fear. We can do this, and while we do, I’m donning my mask to navigate the shamblers on a supplies run because, coffee.