So, I’ve been thinking… Lockdown #2 and the impact?!? Including those who are currently experiencing homelessness. Initially, there seemed to be a lot of incredulity. It seemed so far-fetched, everyone on the toilet roll run, shops with empty shelves and so on. Although that turned out to be somewhat overboard, we soon realised that Covid-19 was serious shit! When the first lockdown hit it seemed a bit like a holiday to many of those I spoke to. It didn’t take long for the isolation to kick in, along with the de-motivation, anxiety, family arguments, financial strain. The list is endlessly depressing.
One thing that made a positive difference during the first lockdown was the fact that it was coming up to summer and lasted throughout. Of course, I didn’t realise this at the time. I only actually recognised the seasons as a factor when talking to others. There is something about that time of year that makes everything seem brighter. Even with social distancing, neighbours could talk to each other over fences or whilst sitting on their doorsteps. It is also important to remember that not everyone has a garden fence to talk over or their own doorstep to sit on. Those experiencing homelessness have a myriad of obstacles to overcome and barriers to break down. However, from my own lived experience, summer meant warmer, drier weather. The sun stays out longer, and it feels slightly safer in the light.
This isn’t much of a relief, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t realise how different self-isolation would be in the winter for some people. How hard and extremely lonely it would feel.
The impact of the second lockdown is having a devastating effect on mental health for all of the same reasons as the first. In addition, we’ve hit the time of year when we hear horror stories of the older generation freezing to death as they can’t afford to pay their heating bills. It gets darker earlier. Well, it’s pretty much dark all the time! It’s cold, it continues to get colder. The weather is wet and dull. It is a time you need people around you. You need the safety and warmth of companionship, yet we’re told to stay apart! It’s human nature to reach out and I think this is why there are those of us who don’t seem to be taking it seriously. It boils my blood, to be honest.
Still, I try to take this into consideration a bit more now. Christmas, winter, cold, dark weather are, in and of themselves, a recipe for isolation. These are all problems people experience with the security of a roof over their head. Add to it the fear and confusion of having nowhere to go and the second lockdown is crushing. Each and everyone of us feels the closing in of winter, and those trying to help always need that extra support at this time of year too. It’s a sad reality that the second time round, many of us aren’t going to cope as well as before, if at all.
Not to end on doom and gloom, It is the time of year to be kinder to others. Many of us are more charitable leading up to Christmas. An act of kindness works both ways and even the smallest gesture could have a positive impact on people and show a little light at the end of the tunnel! ‘Tis the season to be jolly? It may be a big ask, but we can all try to be a bit more caring.