We are now living in times that we never expected we’d see in our lifetime, let alone 2020.

Not many people really believed Coronavirus would hit the UK, those that did wanted all flights cancelled.

At first we all carried on with life as we know it as normal. We carried on meeting our family and friends sharing hugs, coffees and drinks in local businesses.

Then all of a sudden it was here. We starting talking about it more and more.

The schools closed and rainbows appeared on windows with messages of hope and positive messages.

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Credit: The Annexe – Hartlepool

We were told to try not to meet up with families and friends and then the cafes and pubs were closed and that is the moment it really began to hit home for most of us.

We now knew it was a serious situation Coronavirus was here and it was very serious. A lot of people were now in hospital and catching it day by day.

We’d soon learn that the people who society had least valued were the people who’d be named as key workers and these would be the people who would keep the country going, The undervalued now felt valued.

We found a new pride and appreciation for key workers, emergency service workers and NHS workers who braved it everyday to keep us going and keep us safe putting their own safety and risking it all for us.

It was like the pause button was hit on life as we know it. Banned from meeting people who don’t live within our houses including our family and friends.

We were told we’d only be able to leave the house for four very limited reasons. If we failed to follow these rules we could be fined.

The reality of 2020 is being fined for leaving the house if it’s non-essential reasons although a common sense approach would be adopted by the police issuing the fines.

We really need to stay at home to stop the spread of the virus and protect people from dying before their time.

Some carried on with life as normal not taking the situation serious hosting parties and meeting in public spaces, some displayed awful behaviour and assaulted supermarket workers but society stepped in and outshined them with the power of community.

Police Shut down party

This was the reality of situation but this is not a virus to be joked about hundreds of thousands of people have died across the world, the death toll in England has already topped a thousand and we are told it will get worse before it get’s better.

At the moment we face a three weeks lockdown but how do you ensure you stay healthy and of sane mind during these odd times.

People have made the most of this and developed online communities, online pubs have opened, bingo, DJ sets and live music communities have come together within an online world like never before.

In 2020 we really discovered and learnt the importance of family and friends and how we can stay connected by using Face-time and House Party.

Many launching quiz nights with family and friends on Zoom and House Party to keep the fun going.

It’s odd when the only interaction with your closest family and friends is via a screen, Not being able to visit them and not knowing how long it’s going to be for.

Visits to supermarkets and petrol stations are now one of the oddest experiences and it’s really when you visit these places you know how vulnerable we are how easily a virus has spread.

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Credit: Trevor Sherwood

Social distancing was enforced meaning we can’t stand within 2 metres of anyone else unless they live in the same household as you lines would be drawn across supermarket floors and you’d have to line up 2 metres apart to be allowed in as another customer came out.

Coronavirus is really going to change everyones outlook and the way we do things.

Communities have really come together and shown to everyone that people really do care and will support and help each other whenever they can. People donated food and money to help support those that needed it the most.

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Credit – Trevor Sherwood

The key to a Lockdown is having a routine and treat it as some forced leave from work because we’ve all been working too hard anyways.

But keep a routine, Get up at your usual time make sure you get dressed and do a few jobs around the house with a mix of working from home.

Don’t take life too serious because there is some really sad things happening around us people are dying before their time and alone, families can’t say goodbye properly.

Personally my thoughts are with each and every family member and friend who has lost someone in the most cruel way to Coronavirus.

But life is also still going on peoples cars are still being broken into, people are still breaking bones and boilers are still breaking down. Life is still going on but in a very odd way.

The NHS are still operating on people who need urgent operations and are still treating people who need their help and developing new health conditions.

But our NHS are doing everything possible to ensure everyone makes a full recovery but sadly those who have died have simply not responded to the treatment.

The Real life doctors and nurses are facing some of the most challenging, difficult and emotional times they will ever face. They are truly amazing. We showed we cared by clapping for the NHS.

While your on Lockdown everyone is watching the news more than they ever have but my advice would be try and watch it but don’t keep it on all day.

Try and forget about what is happening outside of your house and disconnect from the world. Trust me it’ll be good for your mental state of mind.

Watch those movies and tv programmes you’ve never had a chance to watch ever. Think positive and stay positive try and enjoy the time you have off because it will soon be over.

But it’s also to remember people are really dying and people are really ill and by staying home you are really saving the NHS and a Life.

Use the time to better connect with family and friends have conversation with your children that you’d never have a chance to have again play as many games and watch as many movies as possible.

Make the most of this time because none of us ever want to be within this situation again. Value each day because it could be us suffering Coronavirus or suffering the loss of a family member. That is a truly tragic thought.

Use this time to build bridges and bonds and connect in a way that you’ve never been able to connect before.

Keep your mental state of mind in a good place by focusing on the things you enjoy and the jobs in the house you’ve always wanted to get round too but never had the time.

If you are lucky enough to have a Garden make sure you use it even if it’s just once a day to get some fresh air, between making the most of your daily exercise outside of the house.

If you have a coffee machine make the most of it and make it part of your new daily routine. When was the last time you had time to sit down and enjoy a coffee.

It’s really important to keep your routine, writing news it’s important to stay connected with what is happening in relation to coronavirus and getting key updates out there but also trying to match this with positivity.

But as a writer it’s also important to be able to switch off from the world and focus on doing the things you love, This for a lot of writers is something we have to do most days otherwise we’d be completely sucked in and living and breathing media.

It’s important to turn your phone off from time to time and not check social media and simply try and enjoy this time as much as you can. It’s often a good thing to disconnect from the reality of life.

But not to forget what’s happening within the world maybe check in every now and again to remind yourself of why it is so important to stay at home.

If the lockdown is getting you down think of it another way and make the most of it before we are back to the rush of and normality of everyday life wishing we were back in self-isolation.

We won’t be able to watch all the box sets we planned to watch, we won’t get all the jobs finished that we wanted to finish in the house but we will recharge our batteries and we’ll soon rush out to support our local independent businesses who will need our support more than ever.

But that moment when families and friends can come back together and meet in coffee shops is going to be emotional and special.

We won’t take that time for granted and we will remember to appreciate the simple things in life.

But we will always remember those we lost and we will take away a new way of thinking and a new way of life with better connected communities.