I don’t know about you, but I’m getting rather fed up with all of the coronavirus doom and gloom that’s dominating the news at the moment. Every day, we receive the saddening news of the lives that the pandemic has claimed and there seems to be no end in sight to this horrible illness.
The lockdown, closure of businesses and social distancing measures are inevitably going to have an adverse effect on both the economy and our wellbeing; after all, we are only human and we need interaction with other people. I think it’s been drilled into us enough times that we are a long way from getting back to normal (whatever that is) but I believe there are some positives to lockdown.
Firstly, many people don’t have to be up at the crack of dawn to catch early morning trains, the roads are quieter than ever before and there’s actually time to finish those projects you started five years ago. Whether you’ve spent your lockdown channelling Mary Berry and baking an array of goods, or you’ve become the next Monty Don with all of the time you’ve been spending in your garden, there is a bright side to the COVID-19 lockdown.
I’m sure you’d agree with me when I say (well, write) that lockdown has highlighted the amount of time that we spend rushing from pillar to post in our everyday lives. For me, the abrupt ending to my second year at University and having to submit work and sit exams from home has definitely been a challenge, but it’s made me realise just how much I needed a break, not so much from the work but more for a change of scenery.
I’d like to think that many people stand with me on the point that lockdown has made us all appreciate our natural surroundings a little bit more. If you’re like me and lead quite a busy life when there’s not a pandemic looming over us like a storm cloud, it’s nice to take the time and actually open our eyes to our surroundings.
As I write this, I’m sitting in my garden accompanied by two chilli plants and an array of my Mum’s cacti on their ‘summer holiday’, on what is the hottest day of the year. Which reminds me, I should definitely go and get some sun cream before my shoulders turn as red as a tomato!
Anyway, the point I’m getting at is, I honestly can’t remember the last time that I took the time to smell the roses – quite literally! There’s something sublimely refreshing about having a proper look at my surroundings instead of just rushing past to get to wherever I need to be. Looking around and watching the bees jump from plant to plant, the friendly robin coming back for round two in the bird bath and the wasp angrily going about its business, are all reminders that no matter how gloomy things are, the world keeps on turning.
In my opinion, this newfound appreciation for the natural world is beneficial in making sure that I’m in check with my mental health and general wellbeing. Giving yourself a break, from work, home-schooling or whatever it is that’s taking up your time, to get out and about in nature is definitely something I’d recommend.
Whether you decide to venture on a new walk or take a socially distanced trip to the beach or simply sit outside in your garden accompanied by man’s best friend (aka, a cup of tea) for 15 minutes, I’m confident that it will help to reset your mind and prevent the potential panic that a pandemic can cause.
Nature is undoubtedly thriving and taking full advantage of the positives that coronavirus is providing. Inevitably this is hard to see in all the chaos but you’ve only got to think about the decrease in emissions, reduced road noise and the more eco-friendly way of life we’ve been thrust into to see the positive side of all of this. Nature’s takeover is truly remarkable; I mean, at what other time do you see goats running wild in the empty town of Llandudno on their ITV News debut appearance?!
You’ll need to hear me out on this next, rather clichéd point. Things do get better. Although the news is dominated by negativity, nature is most definitely not. The sun is shining, some pollution has reduced and every aspect of our natural world is thankful for it. Perhaps next time you find yourself feeling a little overwhelmed or down, take a step back. Take a walk on the wild side or spend some time in your garden appreciating the little piece of nature you get to call yours.
Anna Parkinson & The Team