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Between the Wary and the Paranoid: Reactions to Covid-19 and Beyond; Balance and Awareness

Author:

Ann is interested in nature's interaction with humans, its influence on our thinking and how walking paths can take us to unexpected places.

Balance

19th Century Scales

19th Century Scales

Keeping the Balance

Keeping a balance in all sorts of situations is how we live our lives. Normally this is looking at the choices and being reasonable. We choose for ourselves and we react with others in an acceptable way.

For ourselves, a choice might be easy. However, if we then need to consider others in the mix, it can widen the choices or it can limit them, depending on the situation.


Out in a Crowd

Milling in the Market

Milling in the Market

Changes in Social Behaviour

Life before Covid-19 included going about our daily routines; washing, gardening, shopping, exercising, walking the dog, travelling, socialising, working and going to school.

Now? We disinfect or wash everything if there has been contact from outside. We wash our hands more frequently; no bad thing and new to some! At least it cheers us up to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice each time. My birthday has just passed, so I got one day right!


Shopping

Food shopping for the self-isolated is done on line. Deliveries are booked. We stay up until midnight and grab any slot available. That’s fine for us but there are many who cannot physically do that through illness, incapacity, having nobody to help them or even having no computer! Do they starve?

For others, shopping means social distancing, queueing outside shops with markers in place and being allowed in one at a time. There is a safe system, trollies are disinfected by shop staff and so it continues. Most obey the rules.


Walking the Dog

Walking the Royal Corgis

Walking the Royal Corgis

Exercise

We have permission to take daily exercise, walk the dog, go in the garden. Initially that was all but the boundaries are easing. Social distancing is still a must at all times when away from home.


Travel and Social Pursuits

Travelling belongs to those who are key workers and others who are unable to work from home. We cannot travel to holiday homes, we cannot visit other members of our families, we cannot go anywhere by plane. Other transport is almost impossible as social distancing becomes a huge problem.

Socialising is an obvious no-no. That leads to the suffering of businesses such as pubs, restaurants, cafés and hotels, many of which will go under. Again, this is easing but much of the damage has been done. Not only people’s businesses and therefore finances suffer but the consequences can affect mental health.


Self-Isolating

I can go for a walk but further horizons are closed....

I can go for a walk but further horizons are closed....

Two Extremes: Self-isolating and Key Workers

Those of us who are totally self-isolating due to age and/or being vulnerable, are asked (not quite ordered!) to stay at home, not even see family. I understand all that and therefore get annoyed at those who think it doesn’t apply to them. Consideration for others doesn’t seem to cross their minds. They want to push down the boundaries.

Those still working do so from home if possible and if not, stick to all the other rules as best they can. Those most affected by that, of course, are the NHS* staff, the carers and the key workers; public transport staff, delivery staff, some teachers and various others. They are heroes for doing their jobs even though they are going to be exposed to more people and therefore more risk.

These two categories are the extremes. There are no worries for the first group, apart from everything that goes with being in that group in the first place. There is a gamut of worries for the second group.


Rainbows in Windows

Rainbows by my two youngest granddaughters

Rainbows by my two youngest granddaughters

Help and Community

We have spent Thursday evenings at 8 o’clock, standing on our doorsteps and clapping, banging drums and cymbals, for the NHS and those working in Care Homes. We have put rainbows, mostly made by the children, in our windows, as a reminder of hope at the end of all this, to raise a smile for those who walk past or see them from their homes. We have put candles in the window for the same reason. It all increases the community spirit, gives us that warm feeling that we are working together against this silent, invisible enemy, that we are closer than before, looking out for each other. I don’t think that feeling will go away when this blows over. I pray we will all cherish and maintain that feeling of togetherness and keep it going, looking out for those who find life more difficult.


The Mantra: Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives

That will be imprinted on my brain for ever. In fact, lots of aspects of these last couple of months will never be forgotten. I don’t think life is ever going to be the same again but not necessarily for the worst.

Then came the change of message from Boris Johnson, but only for England (is this really the United Kingdom?!): Stay Alert, Control the Virus, Save Lives.

It is now that many begin to feel uncertain, more at risk, as we are told to use caution, wear masks, keep to social distancing. There are so many variations and interpretations within this statement that it’s mind-boggling. Some are panicking when they feel there is no blanket control but we have to be careful to recognise the balance between some control and the danger of over-control. In other words, we have to decide for ourselves what is fitting, what is common sense and what is individually reasonable.


Mask - Gloves - Stay Apart!

I could go out in a space suit and I wouldn’t have any worries. That peace of mind comes at a price though doesn’t it? Not literally the cost but the inability to walk properly, pick something up, talk to anyone… Sound silly? Yes, but where do we stop with the barriers? Where do we draw the line between personal safety and overreaction?


Life

Life is not without risks. Do we stop walking down the street in case someone is running amok with a gun? Do we stop driving or travelling by plane in case there is a terrible accident? Do we stop swimming in case we drown? No but we do take precautions, we do watch what is happening around us, we do think about possible dangers and take precautionary action. There is a balance. Nature is a balance. Life is a balance.


Amazing Masks!

The Lone Ranger?!!

The Lone Ranger?!!

Approach?

I believe we should do what we feel is sensible and best for us, as individuals. We must consider our safety and that of others. Common sense is the key. Do we all have common sense? It seems not when we see footage of people in the parks and towns, thinking that they’re now free to do as they wish.

So we have to trust; trust in others’ sense of responsibility and thoughtfulness. That’s all we can do, if we are to avoid becoming paranoid about going anywhere near others, if we are to be able to push the boundaries of re-connecting with our fellow beings.

My personal plan of action is to finish my self-isolation in mid-June as planned, still go for the occasional short walk keeping to the rules of social distancing and to wear a mask should the need arise, should someone else come too close. My daughter has made us masks but so far they have not been necessary.


Don't Panic!

I have had moments of panic, for example when deliveries first arrived I was bothered about some of it harbouring the virus, despite cleaning it while wearing protective gloves and washing my hands immediately afterwards. Now I am more measured but I still have to remind myself that the risk for me is low as long as I stick to my present routines. That reminder is necessary or else I shall be a nervous wreck! I can understand how some have become so through overwhelming worry.


Positives

Apart from saving lives what have all these preventative restrictions achieved?

  • Less traffic, so…
  • we save on petrol, so…
  • less noise and pollution, so…
  • more birdsong, more wildlife activity, so…
  • nature benefits and so do we.
  • Use of our braincells:

though we might watch more TV, there is more thought as to what we can do with all this extra time;

we are becoming more innovative as access to outside facilities is restricted and

becoming more conscious of those around us who need help,

therefore doing more of the helping, so…

making us all feel better, the helped and the helpers.


I don't normally sew, nor do I cook cakes or biscuits. Here are a few things I've done over the past two months (except the chicken coop - that's my partner's handiwork!).



Future Balance

I just hope we keep some of this awareness of responsibility and innovation. It does us good. We shouldn’t be relying on everyone else, we should be looking to ourselves to do what we can for ourselves. It makes us feel better, feel proud of ourselves, when we take responsibility.

The natural world around us has benefited; the birds are singing more loudly, the trees at the edge of the road are returning to green instead of emission-burnt, the sky is blue instead of scratched with vapour-trails. We are breathing cleaner air and so feeling (let alone being) more healthy.

I want it to stay this way. Of course, that’s not realistic because people have to make a living. But we can try to strike the balance better, we can try to curb our ways a little more, behave more responsibly towards our environment and towards each other.


Notes and Updates

*NHS = National Health Service (in Britain)

I am of course referring to our rules here in England and Britain (they differ within Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), with regard to the restrictions and how they have shifted; I realise they vary around the world.

Updates:

On Thursday 5th November (Bonfire Night!), after having a system whereby local regions were subject to some lockdown rules, the whole of England is now in lockdown, similar to the initial started in March but not so strict, until the 2nd of December. Other parts of the UK are doing their own thing (not really 'United' is it?).

As an informal child-carer I am allowed to go to my daughter's, as part of their bubble, to help when the parents are at work. Otherwise, I am not allowed to meet anyone in my or their garden, though I can go walking outside with one other (no, I don't get that either!).

It remains to be seen whether or not this month's lockdown will make a difference; we might remain within these rules for longer. If people respect the social-distancing then it might just work. 'If'; such a little word but it means such a lot.


How will you act when we return to 'normal' life, such as it might be?

Do you think your interaction with others will change?

© 2020 Ann Carr

Comments

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on June 12, 2020:

Thanks for your comments, Denise. Yes, cycling is good. I love it but my old bike is no longer viable so I'm off to buy a new one too, as soon as I can. I've cycled since I can remember!

I've enjoyed all our dialogue in the last few days!

Ann

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on June 12, 2020:

Balance is important and I agree that I will never be the same after this. I have already started limiting my environmental impact with less plastic but I think driving less is a good idea. My husband went out yesterday to shop (with a mask and gloves) for a bike. It sounds like a good idea to me.

Blessings,

Denise

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on June 09, 2020:

Thank you, Eric. Good to see you today! Yes, it's good to hear how everyone else is getting on and what's happened locally. I'm so pleased with how many readers I have and the lovely, friendly comments. Hope all's fine with you and yours.

Ann

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on June 09, 2020:

Ann this is very good. I am glad I came late as the comments are real interesting. Me thinks you run around with a great crew. It is cool that I know you are doing well from your comments and writing.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on May 29, 2020:

Hello Mary! Good to see you. It's great that you're making scrub hats. What a good grandson you have too!

Yes we are safe and we're all helping where we can.

You keep safe and well too, Mary.

Ann

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on May 29, 2020:

You are so right about balance and taking responsibility. I can sew a bit so I helped make scrub hats for nurses. We do everything you do and maintain social distance. I am lucky that our grandson brings me groceries so I don't have to do it myself. I hope everyone is safe and yes, we help each other.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on May 29, 2020:

Thank you Peggy. I'm so sorry to hear of the death of your neighbour; that is so close to home. It must devastate the family and friends. So far, we don't know anyone who has even had the virus so we're lucky and I pray it stays that way. Being away from a large conurbation probably helps.

I think all shops should insist on masks but I suppose they're afraid of turning away custom. But then there are still those who say they make no difference though I'm sure they must do something, even if it's only stopping our own 'droplets' spreading.

I appreciate your comments and support. I hope I get to hug the children soon too! My daughters are sending me photos of them all regularly so that helps and keeps me up to date.

Keep safe and well, Peggy.

Ann

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 29, 2020:

It sounds like what you are experiencing is just about the same on this side of the Atlantic. We have ventured out to the grocery store a few times and always wear masks and have also been wearing gloves. We go as seldom as possible. One of our stores (Costco) mandates the wearing of masks, or they do not let people enter the store. With others, it is optional, but most people are doing the right thing. There are always a few, who do not appear to care about their safety or that of others. That is maddening.

A 49-year-old wife and mother of 3 teenagers across the street from us died of pneumonia and COVID-19. Over 400 people in our Houston metro area have died of this virus. So we are well aware of the risks.

I like your thoughts of the positives coming out of this pandemic. Let us hope that some of them remain after a vaccine is found and this pandemic ends. Stay safe and well, Ann. I hope you get to hug your grandchildren soon.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on May 29, 2020:

Hello Shauna. Thank you for your kind words and your great input. I think you're right about business etc, sadly. I know I shall do my best to keep to the 'eco' side but it's not so easy for some.

Well done for working all along; that takes some doing at the moment.

My partner has endless projects, having finished the renovation of our abode. The lockdown hasn't made any difference to him, he just likes to do something, even though age and arthritis don't help. The alternative is seizing up and giving up!! I'm not sure that I'll keep up the sewing though, as it doesn't come naturally. However, I have decided that I'll re-hash some of my clothes that I rarely wear so I'll have a new wardrobe without buying a thing!

Thanks for the suggestion, Shauna. I was thinking of writing a sequel when the world has gone back to being more sociable - I hope I can write about positive progression but we'll see.

The plant on my window sill is a streptocarpus saxorum, commonly known as a Cape Primrose. A cutting was given to me by some friends. It took us ages to find out its name! It grows like wild-fire and is so easy to transplant. You chop off a bit, trim the last inch or so, stick it into some water until it roots, then put it in some compost and hey presto it grows! The flowers just keep on coming!

I appreciate your support, Shauna. You always have something uplifting and interesting to say.

Keep safe and well.

Ann

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on May 29, 2020:

Ann, I love your message. Yes, the earth and wildlife are healing during the pandemic due to human activity restrictions. I think when it's all over, individuals may make better choices for the planet, but I highly doubt business, industry, and people movers (planes, trains, buses, etc.) will. Once they're back in the groove, the damage will begin once again.

I love the hobbies you and your partner have undertaken. I've been working all along, so I don't have extra time on my hands as many others do. I actually would welcome a change in my life right about now.

What are the beautiful purple flowers in your window sill? So cheery, embracing yet dainty.

I enjoyed reading your perspective and sharing of your thoughts on how you're dealing with these strange times.

June is drawing near. I'd love for you to do a follow up to this once your self-isolation has come to an end.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on May 28, 2020:

Umesh Chandra Bhatt: Thank you very much for your kind comment; much appreciated.

Keep safe and well.

Ann

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on May 28, 2020:

Ann, congrats, you have put it so nicely. I could not stop in between, the content was flowing so smoothly.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on May 27, 2020:

Hi Devika! It's good to know that you have had no cases there lately. I hope it continues to be the case. Thanks for your comments.

Stay safe and well.

Ann

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on May 27, 2020:

Hi Ann it is important what you say also precautions to be safe. Croatia is only European country that has no cases in the few days and this makes me feel at ease. Been out shopping and didn't need to wear a mask then again we are in charge of our health and need to take these precautions however, I don't feel the need to.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on May 27, 2020:

Hello Pamela! The positives could be a big deal if we stick to them - it's all too easy to slide into old habits though isn't it? We're getting an electric car so doing a little for the environment. We're good on recycling too!

I think there are many things in common around the world when dealing with this pandemic.

You keep safe and well too, Pamela. Thank you for your visit and valued contribution.

Ann

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on May 27, 2020:

I really like your list of positives, Ann. I hope this pandemic has changed us for the better. I would like to be more thoughtful. It sounds like your experiences are just about like ours.

Stay safe and healthy, Ann.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on May 27, 2020:

Hello manatita! Thanks for dropping by.

I can't quite see how it can all be a conspiracy theory when so many people are dead! However, there are always the theorists.

Glad you're fine. You are so right about the noises. I tend not to listen to the news, read a lot more and catch up with all sorts during this 'spare' time. We don't go out much, except for family, so it doesn't disrupt us much.

Keep safe and well.

Ann

manatita44 from london on May 27, 2020:

The hugging will be an interesting one. I go to several poetry circles and they all like to hug.

You have done well and highlighted the major concerns, as well as the confusion too. We probably don't have as much as some countries, but still humans are humans. You only need to look at Face book or some of the text friends send out. Conspiracy theories are on the move also.

Much, if not all of it reflect who we are, of course. This 'friend from the universe', has most certainly made us reflect some more. Things are uncertain now, but yes, your common sense ideas need to prevail.

Happy to see you so creative. Me, life is fine. I stopped work eighteen months ago and so I will only miss going out. Socials are a big part of who we are as humans, as we are gregarious by nature.

Meditation and increased spiritual discipline helps. One's mind needs to be as calm, silent and still as can be. Right now, worldwide, there are too many noises. Good to see you writing, Ann. Stay safe.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on May 27, 2020:

Hi bill! Yes, I expect it's similar the world over, except those places who are used to doing what they're told or else! It has its advantages I suppose.

Glad life is good with you and Bev, bill.

By the way, I'm itching to get hens in that coop; only 3 or 4 but I'm looking forward to it.

Keep safe and well.

Ann

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on May 27, 2020:

Thank you, Liz. Yes I think you're right about the 'Cummings backlash'. Many will feel 'if he can do it, then so can I'. Many would have done it anyway. However, I think the majority are sensible, though that doesn't keep us safe from the rest, does it?!

I know some who say they are self-isolating but then add that they just popped down to the shops to get something! Der...!

Glad you feel this is accurate as far as the UK is concerned. Thank you. I appreciate your support.

Keep safe and well.

Ann

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 27, 2020:

Sounds pretty similar to the States.

I like us humans. We do adjust when called upon to do so...well, most of us. We have some idiots crying that their liberties are infringed upon, but no matter the time or place, there will always be idiots. :)

Stay safe! Thanks for the look into daily life in the UK.

All is well, and life is good.

bill

Liz Westwood from UK on May 27, 2020:

You have documented the UK pandemic response very well. I fear that we are suffering from the Cummings backlash at the moment. A trip today to the supermarket saw people less careful about social distancing. Those self isolating are starting to take more risks too.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on May 27, 2020:

Thank you, Lorna. Yes it has made us appreciate what we have, that's for sure. I appreciate your support and your kind words.

Keep safe and well.

Ann

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on May 27, 2020:

Thank you, Rosina.

Keep safe and well.

Ann

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on May 27, 2020:

Yes, Rinita, I totally agree.

Thanks for your visit; always appreciated.

Keep safe and well.

Ann

Lorna Lamon on May 27, 2020:

A thoughtful and timely article Ann as we take our first tentative steps out of lockdown. I think we will all be wary for a while and hopefully will still maintain the various measures put in place to protect us and others.

However, nothing remains the same for ever and as time passes we will eventually return to normal. Personally I feel that each one of us will have been touched by this experience in some way.Things that I used to think important, no longer matter as much. I have a greater appreciation of family, friends and nature, because I have seen how easily these things can be taken away. There will be many lessons to be learned from this shared experience, which I hope will make us stronger and wiser.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on how you are coping Ann, which I found very encouraging.

Rosina S Khan on May 27, 2020:

Beautiful thoughts; beautiful ideas. A great hub, Ann.

Rinita Sen on May 27, 2020:

Timely article and of course, well written. Restrictions are easing here, too, because, like you said, people need to earn their livelihood. I think this pandemic has changed everyone in some way or another. Hopefully, the changes will last, at least the positive ones.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on May 27, 2020:

Thank you, John, for your generous and interesting comments.

We are being wary so not venturing into shops yet though we are allowed to, though it's purely because we are lucky in that we can rely on deliveries. The children are keeping an eye on us too!

Yes it's the family I want to see but I'm afraid that not being able to cuddle them will be worse than just seeing them on screen! The youngest one won't understand either. I'm hoping the next few weeks will give me that luxury - the best thing in the world!

Locally there haven't been many cases either.

Keep safe and well.

Ann

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on May 27, 2020:

A very good article, Ann. We have to expect that this virus will stay around in some form but we can’t be locked down and have businesses closed forever, so yes, we have to find a balance. There are lots of risks in life and we can’t shut ourselves away completely to avoid all risks.

It isn’t so bad here as there have been no cases in my town and in recent weeks have been few new cases in the state. Restrictions are beginning to ease but we are still taking precautions and only going out when necessary to buy food etc. We are considering visiting our closest son and family next week for the first time since the lockdowns started.

Thank you for sharing how you are dealing with the situation. Stay safe.