People's experience of lockdown

How has lockdown affected people's lives?

Read about how COVID-19 has affected people's lives, routine and mental health.

Gaile's story

Gaile.jpgGaile has been a longstanding member of Healthwatch Coventry, volunteered in various roles including taking part in our Enter and View visits and sitting on our Steering Group.  Gaile is sharing her experience of lock down so far……

We have coped reasonably well by ensuring, as far as possible, we follow our normal routine at home.

Keeping in touch regularly virtually is good but not the same.  In addition, being with someone, however well you get on, for 24/7 is not always easy, having individual experiences does give you something different to talk about.
Like everyone I can't wait for the hairdresser to open, also the dentists, I lost a veneer on my front tooth the first day of lock down.

I think the instruction to socially distance has been quite well observed.  On our walks for exercise others will usually make sure the 2 meter space is observed as we do although there have been occasions when this has not happened and as my partner walks with a stick it is hard for us to take avoiding action.

What has been the hardest thing?
The hardest thing is being unable to visit /have visits from children/grandchildren, they all live out of Coventry so it may still be a little while.  Seeing your family cope with home-schooling, additional house duties and not being able to help has been hard.

Top tips
Getting up and dressed as near normal times as possible, have meals at your usual times, do the jobs around the house on the days you would normally.
Fill the gaps left because you can't get out or meet people with a mixture of gardening, reading, walking/exercise, other household jobs. Keep in touch with friends /family in whatever way you can. Try not to sit down, only when you need to. 

“Try to watch something amusing on your TV or computer, it does make you feel better for a while. We are watching Benidorm for the first time from the beginning”

Heather's story

Heather is a local resident in Coventry and is a Teaching Assistant at a Primary School, here is her story of lockdown……………HT Case study.jpg

Working at a school has meant that I am classed as a key worker and I am not able to work fully from home. All staff work on a rota basis as well as having online training which can be completed at home. I have found the situation at work hard with having to keep my distance from the children especially with them being so young.  Trying to comfort them if upset and reading from a distance.  In my personal life not seeing my own children and granddaughter was the hardest thing of course but then my dad of 91 went into hospital after a fall and he tested positive for corona virus.  Two weeks later he passed away, not being able to see him and not have physical contact with my five brothers and three sisters was so hard.  Then to arrange a funeral, only six could attend - it was surreal.

Im quite independent and before lockdown I would regularly go to the local shops myself.  The first time I went to the supermarket in lock down I was shocked to see empty shelves and items on the floor, I actually felt scared.  After that day I made myself go to the shops and each time I went, it got easier and shops started putting in restrictions which helped.  I now feel happier and back into a routine of being able to go to the shops for my necessities.

As a family we have made more of an effort to arrange online quiz nights which has been nice and reading books to my granddaughter on a video call.

Top tips
Take each day as it comes, give yourself time to relax – for me that is a bubble bath. Try and keep in touch with work colleagues, we had a Whats App wellbeing group (no work talk allowed).

“Have a laugh – it does help”

Sam's story

Sam is a member of the Healthwatch team and is currently working from home with her husband and daughter……………SB Case study_0.jpg

The past ten weeks have definitely had some major highs and lows for me personally.  At first it was a struggle to get ourselves into a good routine balancing work and school work whilst making sure we were still having family time.  I always felt guilty that I was spending too much time supporting my daughter with school work and not enough time with work and vice versa. We made sure we got up at the same time as if we were leaving for work and school, have breakfast together and got dressed.  It made us feel like everything was ‘normal’ – this helped us settle into our new routine.  I am lucky that I have a job which has allowed me to be a bit more flexible with my hours.

Even though this has been hard we have been able to make so many happy memories together, I find that as a family we have made more of an effort to keep in contact even if it’s just to have a moan.  We have new ways of staying in touch through zoom and house party being the main ones.

Not being able to see my mum was extremely hard, as a family we kept in touch virtually but it is not the same and it is the longest I have gone without physically seeing my mum.  Now that restrictions have changed I am looking forward to being able to sit in the garden with my mum and just have a natter. I also lost my Grandad and with how the situation was I was not able to go and see him when he was ill.  It still doesn’t seem real to be honest.

I also found not having my own space hard, I would normally attend exercise classes a few times a week and this was my time. The instructor started doing the classes on Zoom which I am so grateful for, exercise clears my head and makes me feel so much better.

What has worked better than I thought
Watching my daughter cope better than us in this situation amazes me, she may have had some bad days where she couldn’t really explain specifically what was upsetting her but she has powered us through the days with her cheeky and happy personality.  Going back to school is the next phase and I am sure there will be some tears – mainly from me!

Top tips
To any parent out there, try and not put too much pressure on yourself.  This whole new way of school learning from home is never going to be like school.  What is important is that your children feels safe and happy.

Try and do something for yourself whether it be a walk, watching something you enjoy on the telly or even just sitting outside.

“Exercise has helped my mental health dramatically, I make sure I go for a walk every day and also take part in my usual exercise classes through zoom”

Jolene's story

Jolene* is a Coventry resident who has been told to self-shield for 12 weeks…………

What has been the hardest thing about it:
It was hard trying to balance work and caring for a toddler which felt like never having a break especially when we weren’t allowed to see anyone. I felt extra pressure on myself that I had to prove I could do everything because I needed to work to keep me sane. Then I would feel I was letting my child down by not giving him my full attention, it definitely made me very self-conscious. I felt envious of people who got to go outside and even do their own shopping as I hated asking others to do it for me and giving them extra to do. I just kept thinking at least we are all safe and well so we are lucky.

What has worked better than you thought:
I think I coped well staying home and not going out for so long. I only had a few bad days where it got too much but I made it through them so that’s positive. Also it helped save money.

“Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, people are more understanding than you think”

*name has been changed