Today I thought I would share how I’ve been getting along in the current COVID-19 pandemic and the government restrictions that have been put in place. Some of it has been relatively simple, and some of it more difficult.
I appreciate that I have it easier than a lot of people. For one thing, I don’t have any children or other dependents to worry about, and for another, I’m able to work from home; I’ve even been able to come up with ideas on how to rework the procedures of duties that would normally require face-to-face meetings. As I have Asperger’s, I always prefer to have a routine, so having to take working from home on a day-by-day basis at the start caused some anxiety; however, once it became clear that things would operate this way for the next few weeks at least, I was able to settle into the new routine.
I’ve been able to keep myself occupied – for one thing, I learned a coin trick this weekend – and I already have a list of things to do or reflect upon over the upcoming Easter break. I’ve been taking advantage of my one permitted period of exercise per day, usually either by having a run, or going for a little walk after work on non-running days – making sure to stick to quiet areas and maintain social distancing, of course. On Sunday afternoon, in the pleasant weather, I had a walk up and down my garden while listening to an audiobook; even a small dose of fresh air was nice. I had planned to run my first half-marathon later this month, but naturally the event has been postponed; since the new date happened to be on the same day as my favourite 10K event, which I don’t want to miss, I decided to take the option of running the half-marathon virtually in my own time. I’ll still have done it, after all. In the meantime, I’m staying fit until the time is right.
The main problem is social contact, or lack thereof. Although I’m an introvert by nature, I still like having the opportunity to talk to people. Right now, I can’t go and see my family, and I certainly won’t be taking the social benefits of being in the office for granted in the future. There have been times this week when it’s felt very depressing. Some things have helped to make me feel better, though: speaking to family members through FaceTime rather than calling or messaging, and being reminded that I can still turn to others for support (even if it’s remotely) and we’re all in this together. One evening, my work did a remote social gathering session, which was a lot of fun.
Going out for the weekly shop has been quite stressful, too. Before the restrictions, there were a couple of weeks where panic-buying and stockpiling had left shelves almost empty of various items I wanted, such as tins and cereal. In the past fortnight, with only a certain number of people being allowed into the local supermarket at a time, item availability is better – though some are still in relatively short supply – but there are other problems. Having to queue to get in isn’t fun, though the worst is that it’s hard to maintain social distancing in a supermarket, particularly when other customers don’t seem as concerned about it as you.
The pandemic has obviously impacted all of our lives in a significant way – even those of us fortunate enough to not yet be ill or have loved ones who are – and I find myself wondering how we will look back at this years from now, and tell the next generation about it. What sort of books will be written about this time? What stories will it inspire? Having everyday life be turned upside down by something so serious has certainly provided a new perspective on things; when I was writing my last post on Doctor Who Series 12, and reflecting on the things that members of the fandom had complained about, I found myself thinking how utterly trivial all of that seemed now.
I expect there will be some pretty big celebrations once something resembling normal life can resume – whenever that may be – and when I can go back to the office, and see my family properly again, I’ll have a new appreciation of how wonderful it really is.