‘Staying up too late and sleeping in until midday’ a common formula that now encapsulates the UK’s experience of lockdown.

It’s safe to say that during the Covid-19 pandemic people were spending a lot of time in their homes and I'm positive that boredom set in pretty quickly. As of March 17th 2020, the prime minister's advice for people to avoid pubs, clubs and theatres was announced, triggering the start of a lockdown which would impact people's lives across the country. On Wednesday 18th March, schools were announced to close indefinitely and examinations were cancelled. The lack of warning along with minimal information being broadcasted, stress was likely setting in for all school children up and down the country. The sudden closure of schools caused drastic pressure, especially for those who found school to be a safe and comfortable environment in which they would go to feel supported. 

Grace Cobb, student of St Philomena’s Sixth Form, reflects on the time during quarantine and how she used her “allocated hour of exercise in lockdown to start going for runs with [her] dad”. It was important for many to connect in the midst of lockdown- whether it be on facetime, text or cheeky socially distanced stroll in the park. It was clear people needed an outlet for their energy, with downloads of fitness apps, created by the NHS, hitting one million during the peak of lockdown. Grace “enjoyed the fresh air and release of endorphins” stating that it was “a huge factor in maintaining [her] mental health”. Significant improvements in people's mental health were linked with the new found affection for enjoying nature. Although lockdown measures relaxed during the final summer months, then subsequently reinforced in early November, Grace stated that she “still runs on the weekend” and is “grateful that lockdown provided me with this new hobby and way of improving my mental and physical health”.

Opposingly, there were many teens who felt lockdown was more detrimental to their overall health. Tiktok downloads skyrocketed in April, surpassing 2 billion downloads according to Business Insider. It began to become an escape for teens and a distraction from reality. Martha Nestor, student of Coloma Convent girls school, states she “spent too much time on [her] phone and formed an unhealthy addiction to tiktok”. The reliance on social media has increased drastically with teens spending more time on their phone isolated in their rooms rather than conversing with their parents. The transition from real to virtual lessons was sudden and unprecedented, with many students perturbed by the change. Martha “didn’t want to admit what was going on or recognise how [she] was feeling”. It was apparent that people needed cheering up during the quarantine period with many of the households taking up new and creative hobbies. In particular, Martha said she “started overinvesting breakfast” and compared her breakfasts to “a parisian hotel campaign”. She claimed that this small appreciation for her meal, set her up for a motivated day. When things began to get back to ‘normal’ and schools reopened, it was difficult for many to readjust back into their ordinary lives when they had a newly established ‘lockdown’ schedule that was hard to separate from. Martha felt “happy that things were getting back to normal but felt very claustrophobic”. The pressures of school, alongside the Covid-19 outbreak caused discomfort for the nation's teens and led many of them to struggle with previously easy tasks.


It wasn’t only the teens that struggled with lockdown, teachers throughout the country experienced major uncertainty. Ms Victoria Pearce, KS5 Coordinator at St Philomena’s High School says she began “excessive amounts of reading” as well as attempting “to learn to sew”. In the beginning of the emergency lockdown, thousands of teachers were thrown into unfamiliar practises such as digital learning and lessons via Google Meet. However, throughout the lockdown teachers managed to adjust into their new routine with many taking up new hobbies outside of their work hours. For example, Ms Pearce “bought a sewing  machine and started to learn how to make [her] own soft furnishing” all the while “listening to podcasts and radio programmes”. Teacher or not, the population began to uptake new hobbies and delve into their creative side in order to pass time. Inevitably, bad habits began to form in peoples newly acclaimed lives and this would’ve affected their attitude and motivation. Ms Pearce stated she wasn’t “getting properly dressed” and was becoming “slightly people-phobic”. However, once the society started transitioning back to ‘normal’ and people began returning to work, it was challenging having to adjust and aim to dissipate any bad habits that had formed in people's lives. Luckily, Ms Pearce felt “that the imposed structure of the school day helped [her] to readjust to post-lockdown life swiftly, despite it being something of a shock to the system”. Overall, life became a challenge due to the abruptness of the lockdown but society managed to transition pretty successfully in the end.

Lockdown left some stranded at home with no one to talk to, with elderly becoming the most vulnerable. A survey of 500 people, conducted by Elder, found that over half were less likely to be in contact with family. As well as being three times more likely to fear being left alone. With the survey being conducted during the last two weeks of April, government guidelines were enforced which impacted people's ability to get essential items, such as groceries. Unfortunately, the survey discovered that nearly 40% of people didn't leave their home anytime during lockdown. 

The first lockdown was sudden and challenging for everyone across the UK, but with continued high spirits and help from loved ones, the young and old, persevered.