If you loved lockdown, here’s your post-quarantine survival guide

Emily loved every second of lockdown. Here’s her guide for getting out of the bad habits you might have picked up on the way

Here’s how my life went for about four months during lockdown: I woke up at noon daily, ate three takeaways with as many Quarantinis each week, racked up insane online shopping bills and spent at least six hours binge watching Netflix, Prime and NowTV per day. 

I could no longer go out to shops or restaurants. I was forced to decline invitations to social events as the lockdown approached. I didn’t speak to anyone outside my household for weeks at a time. My family held a quiz every single night on WhatsApp, which is still running, and involves all the best aspects of social interaction without having to get dressed, shower or go anywhere.

I loved every second.

I cancelled three holidays, and I’d been counting down the days for each of them before lockdown began, but when I was at home I realised I was actually having the time of my life.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d much rather there wasn’t  a pandemic happening. I struggle to watch the news because of all the hideous things happening around the world – but to keep myself hopeful, I look at all the good that happened too. The environmental impact was brilliant for the first few months and volunteering shot to an all time high to try and help out key workers. I think those of us lucky enough to be at home during  the quarantine really needed that time where the pressures of normal life just didn’t exist for a while. 

I cancelled three holidays, and I’d been counting down the days for each of them before lockdown began, but when I was at home I realised I was actually having the time of my life. If, like me, you weren’t one of our key worker heroes and spent lockdown secretly loving the break from life like me, here’s a few pointers on how to gradually get yourself back into the swing of things without feeling overwhelmed.

Firstly, there’s the social side of things. They’re all coming back – the family barbecues, coffee dates or nights out out with your friends. Many of these things you might feel  more obliged to show your face at rather than actively wanting to attend just because people haven’t seen you in ages – if you’re an antisocial cow like me, anyway. My wisdom on this is, yes, everyone has missed you, but it’s still OK to say no! If filling up your social calendar again is overwhelming, politely decline and give yourself downtime. It’ll just shock your system if you start doing too much too quickly after months of living like a hermit and you could easily burn yourself out. Prioritise the things you are actually excited to attend over those you feel duty bound to show up for. People who care about you will understand.

My wisdom on this is, yes, everyone has missed you, but it’s still OK to say no! If filling up your social calendar again is overwhelming, politely decline and give yourself downtime.

Next, you have to tackle the lazy as hell habits you’ve picked up during lockdown. Let’s start with sleep, ‘cause it’s important and you’re probably lying if you swear you haven’t woken up at 1pm kind of regularly. This is actually pretty simple to rectify, but can take a few weeks, so start now. Practice going to bed half an hour to an hour earlier each night – I listen to sleepcasts on the Headspace app if I struggle to drift off. Headspace is paid for, but worth the investment – or there are tonnes of similar sleep aids on YouTube if lockdown has left you a bit strapped for cash. You also can’t go wrong by setting your alarm for 30-60 minutes earlier each day until you’re back to a normal sleeping pattern. I’ve gone from an 11am riser back to a 6am in two weeks, so trust me on this one. 

Thirdly, and most painfully, you have the dreaded going back to work, uni, or whatever you used to fill your days with back when people went outside sometimes. Remember that? Obviously, I don’t know what you do, but hopefully this advice will be applicable across the board. Preparation is key: ask your lecturers or boss to give you a gist of what’s coming your way when you return. This way, you can do some research or prepare some files or coursework ahead of time, so there is a lesser workload waiting when you eventually go back. Make sure, before you go back to real life that, you get things like your work clothes dug out from the laundry pile where they’ve been fermenting since April and check under the sofa for the ID badge you haven’t seen since your last shift.

Make sure, before you go back to real life that, you get things like your work clothes dug out from the laundry pile where they’ve been fermenting since April and check under the sofa for the ID badge you haven’t seen since your last shift.

Going straight from watching eight episodes of Drag Race per day to an immense workload will be extremely challenging and stress anyone out. It’s for this reason I also suggest cutting down on the binge-watching – even by an hour a day. You’ve had four months of leisure time, so it’s going to fry your brain if you give it all up at once. 

Here’s the thing – I’m clinging onto lockdown life as though it’s my air supply and I think a lot of us are. It was a blissful time in which I completely and utterly relaxed, and now it’s just stopped. During lockdown I didn’t feel bad for going to town on some steak and chips because, who cared? Nobody was going to see me in a bikini this summer. I read as many books as I could., I utterly embraced my inner sofa slug and fell into unhealthy habits like binge-watching and ordering too many takeaways. For once this was not only OK but encouraged! So maybe, if we can learn anything from this, it is that lazy days like this are not only ok, but important. Especially since we know the virus is still out there.

If, like me, you have any lingering anxiety about contracting COVID-19,  just be vigilant. Keep doing your sanitiser, face masks, and social distancing. Realise that everyone is in a similar boat, and many will still be anxious around socialising. If you do your best to prepare for re-emergence into the world and organise yourself well, you’ll be just fine. 

What about you? Are you looking forward to getting out and about a little more, or are you finding it too much too soon? Let us know in the comments.

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