Lockdown 2.0: Mamma Mia, here we go again

It seems that all of my writing is currently tinged by lockdown life as restrictions gradually become more integrated into our daily lives.  ‘Lockdown: Winter Edition’ seems to be on the way, and as we gradually lose our daylight hours, it feels like all of our days are rolling into one. So what can we do to ensure that we have a balanced home/work life and to ensure that we won’t get too restless, too quickly.

We’ve made banana bread, tried enough home workouts to last us a lifetime and made too many TikToks… So, what are the plans for lockdown 2.0? Here’s your survival guide:

  1. Create a suitable winter aesthetic and space:  We’re aiming for maximum comfort, warmth, and enough blankets and pillows to last a lifetime. Having a space that you want to spend time in is so important. I am always exceptionally cold in my flat (really I think my ability to feel the cold all the time is my party trick) so I recommend electric blankets, extra pillows, throws, and of course, fairy lights. Redecorate, re-organise, re-shuffle everything to give your space a sense of newness. 
  1. Potluck dinners with your flat: create a rota, cook together, re-create your favourite meals. Lockdown 1.0 was mostly spent around family, let’s make lockdown 2.0 about friends. I think the one thing I want to ensure I implement into this new lockdown life is appreciating living with friends. There are so many activities you can plan with each other, especially involving food. We also cannot forget the fact that a winter edition of lockdown also includes festive baking. This thankfully gives us a break from banana bread because truly I don’t think I could survive that trend again… Let’s start the cinnamon and gingerbread trend!
  1. Set up a flat instagram documenting your experience: This is a controversial one but technically I’m just modernising journaling and making it a social event. This has been a fun method to encourage people to cook, read, decorate, and then share their experiences in a way that allows you to stay in touch with your friends, family, and significant others, whilst getting to save your memories as a sort of digital scrapbook.  
  1. Fresh air & the Outdoors: I hate to tempt fate, but the autumnal Edinburgh weather has really been a highlight this year (a positive of 2020!) and with the current lack of exercise restrictions, it is important to utilize this whilst we can. Even if it is just a walk around the Meadows with your flatmates, I have realised how much my mood relies on even 20 minutes of fresh air. 
  1. Podcasts/Books/TV/Films: The usual recommendations to pass the time, however, it is now socially acceptable (at least in my head) to start watching festive films on Netflix, which truly increases all of the options and improves everything. Recently, I have also found a new love for the Off The Menu Podcast with Ed Gamble and James Acaster. The co-hosts invite guests into their ‘magical restaurant’ to create their dream menu and drinks. It’s incredibly light-hearted, funny, and perfect to put on in the background whilst your cooking or doing chores. (Also, the episodes with Dolly Alderton and Louis Theroux are my favourite, but if you read my last article, that will not surprise you!) 

I think the most we can do for this second lockdown is ensure that we are separating our study and relax spaces. Trying to divide that even mentally is incredibly stressful! However, it is crucial that we find a way to create a healthy work-home life balance whilst spending our time in the same space. 

Most importantly, reach out to your friends and family. As we can all remember, receiving a spontaneous text or call is sometimes the one thing that can change your mood – as cheesy as that sounds. Be nice to yourselves, take care of yourselves, and remember we have survived this once before and this time we have the holiday season to help us through!

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Illustration: Erin Cole