Straight Outta Lockdown Vol 3: Socialising
So .. you may have been wondering.. the last 5 months.. what was that?
A lot has happened in 2020. If you're feeling a bit lost in this world, focus on what you can control; a lot can still happen.
This blog series 'Straight Outta Lockdown' is not only a nod to my fondness of 80s & 90s hip-hop, but hopefully a way for us to scope out the lay of the land looking forward.
Reflection has a role to play in our lives, yeah, reflection is cool. There is a time for reflection, but reflection can easily become negative; time spent too long in reflection can lead us to dwell in the past.
Vol 3 is the third and last instalment of the blog series. I wanted to look at the social aspects of our new world. Is it unsocial to be social right now?!
I'll thread the narrative through my own lens, but throughout I invite you to cast that own lens inward too. If you're not keen and just want a quick read, that's cool too.
Through lockdown I had a steady routine of Zoom appointments to check in and catch up with friends and colleagues. It was a relief that this is even possible through the interweb with the weeks and months of not being allowed to be in the company of groups of pals. Lockdown and isolation didn't have to feel so lonely.
I quickly found that I maybe even had more invitations to virtual gatherings than I would have had in real life!
I like a good quiz, don't get me wrong. But after a while, the Zoom-fatigue sets in real hard. Video calls take socialising to a whole new skill.. Where larger face-to-face groups would normally sub-divide and organically converse, re-group and repeat, the etiquette of screen dialogue is a lot trickier. Sitting stationary, staring at a screen for a few hours starts to take its toll too. With not much going on in the day-to-day I also felt that my bank of conversation material often ran into its overdraft, repeating stories or offering up the standard 'ohh yeah, we're fine, just getting on with it you know' ..
How have you adapted to the video calls? A great way to keep in touch with friends and family from near and far .. but did you ever struggle with it? It's not exactly easy to offer an excuse to having alternative plans when everyone is staying at home saving the NHS .. or in fear of upsetting people when you say you just don't feel up to it.
Back to life
As venues re-open and restrictions ease, we can now get back to slightly more normal social events (well, aside from the hand gel, face masks and the sizeable 2m gap between everyone..)
How do you feel about that?
I saw people on my social media channels who absolutely jumped at the chance to get back to the pub, or enjoy a meal out again.
I also saw people who couldn't fathom the thought.
I'm somewhere in the middle. For me, I do not need the pub in my life and I could happily abstain from visiting a licensed venue for a very long time under the current circumstances. But I do like to meet up with people and enjoy their company over a nice cup of tea or bite to eat. Friends and food, ideal.
If you are someone like me but with friends who fall into the alternative category, how do you manage that?
Listen to these words: you are not being judged for being worried during a pandemic. It's okay to not want to join in.
For the social butterflies I would also encourage you to look out for your slightly anxious friends and be understanding that they may not want to be in public places for a while yet, but they may still want your company!
I saw a good post on Instagram a couple of weeks ago and shared it to my Story .. If you think going out and about isn't sitting quite right with you, but don't know how to vocalise this, here are some suggestions:
Other than eating out in restaurants/ cafes my partner and I have had fairly limited social meetings. We have visited family fairly regularly but haven't seen much of our friends. If we do arrange a social date it's been to a household and still socially distanced. We had a lovely dinner at a friend's house with another couple which felt safe and sociable .. I was being so careful not to touch things and was scrubbing my hands throughout the evening, I didn't want to leave any trace of myself behind!!
Likewise when family have visited our home we are super conscious of handling mugs/ cutlery and offering food. Anyone else?? Will that feeling ever go away!?
I have spoken with someone close to me who has a family member that is fairly lax on being safe and respecting govt guidelines. It's a hard position to be in, to tell a family member that they are doing something wrong or that you don't want to be party to their ways .. but right now it takes everyone to make this a success, so as difficult as it is, hold those close to you accountable .. they maybe just don't realise what they're doing is wrong or unsafe! They will likely admire you for looking out for them too.
Just the other day here in Scotland restrictions were reintroduced in the Glasgow area due to small clusters arising from large gatherings in households. This is different to the Aberdeen localised restrictions, which were a result of poor safety measures in licensed venues and patrons visiting multiple venues (pub crawls). So whilst folk like me who are feeling anxious about going out and about to public venues it's clear that we need to be just as cautious in homes!
Complacency and fatigue will set it - being alert is exhausting, right!? It'll be worth it in the long run.
One of the positives I've found this year is just how much I love being in the outdoors. Due to its accessibility, I have been running a bit more through lockdown. Working from home has cut out prospects of commutes, tea break steps and lunch time breathers.. so heading out for a run has become something of a regular feature in my schedule.
I don't know about you - and I acknowledge that I write from a position of privilege based on my spare time and location - but getting outdoors has been fantastic for grounding myself during all this chaos. Have you tried more of that, has it helped? If not why not?
Nicola Sturgeon (First Minister of Scotland) usually puts it quite aptly; life should not feel entirely normal yet. But for the sake of sanity I can empathise with those who are keen to be out and about once more.
We are keen to go to the cinema and see some new releases, but with general question marks over how this will be executed safely and relying on other movie-goers to be sensible, will it be as enjoyable as we hope? What have you noticed about some of the changes to your favourite pastimes?
We resisted a Disney+ subscription thus far - but if we approach a second peak through winter it's going to be at the top of my lockdown wishlist!! #JustKeepSwimming
It seems as though we've all just adapted to our new routines and now it's all changing again. The uncertainty and anxiety repeats itself all over again. There's a wide range of tools available to help you with any of these unwanted feelings, but a very simple tip which has helped me when it all gets a bit 'too much' is just to acknowledge how you feel. A problem shared is a problem halved .. normally when I pluck up the courage to say whatever it is I'm feeling worried about I'm just as quick to identify how I can get through it (or usually how irrational it is). A partner, a friend, a diary. Talk it out before you chase yourself into knots.
Anyway the main point I wanted to cover in this entry was that you shouldn't feel bad if you are not yet ready to venture out in the big world again. It's open for business, but it's not quite the same. You do you, and any friends or family will respect you for it.
I felt that including a little entry about 'socialising' would be an interesting talking point. Writing the Straight Outta Lockdown post as a mini-series has helped to communicate my thoughts, observations and reflections on current times. It's not been 100% fitness chat, but sometimes it's good just to look back on how far we have come this year and put it into perspective! Take care peeps, and I look forward to the next entry!