I have been isolating for nearly 4 weeks now and thought I would share a few reflections and tips in this difficult and uncertain time.
I believe it is important to look for positives to be found anywhere possible in this awful situation and I think a lot of people have used this time to take stock of things in their life and make plans for self-improvement – whether that be to get fit, learn a new language or even just tidy up their wardrobe! It’s a bit like being stuck in a perpetual New Year’s resolution which can feel quite suffocating because whilst you feel like you should be doing something all the time, it can be hard to get motivated!
I have found that making lists and sticking to a routine help with keeping things as normal as possible and making me feel I have made the most of my day. Having a fair bit of school work to do has been helpful in maintaining structure to my days and making downtime seem more special, when I have had lots of fun doing artwork (mostly relating to the classical world!), baking, making up silly games and quizzes with my family and playing the guitar – my goal of learning NME’s 100 greatest ever riffs seems like less of a stretch since lockdown! Zoom and FaceTime have enabled me to keep up with friends and also to continue with my guitar and Thai boxing lessons where, oddly, we have got more done than usual!
The Coronavirus will provide Behavioural Psychologists with enough material to study ‘till the end of time but I was happy to hear that people’s dutiful and caring response to the plea to stay home and protect the NHS has been way more effective than the Government’s ‘Nudge’ team dreamt possible. Yes, crises can bring out the worst as well as the best in people, but for every one fight over the last loo roll in a supermarket there have been 100 acts of kindness – from cakes being randomly delivered to those being shielded, to the rainbow art project lifting spirits all over the country, to the weekly cheers for the NHS. It’s impossible to quantify the selflessness of those key workers from supermarket staff to NHS workers and from delivery drivers to refuse collectors. They must be scared, but their overwhelming emotion and drive is to do their best to help us all.
The community spirit and sense of care and love for one another that has been brought into sharp relief by all this is something that I think we had thought was from ‘the past’ when, for instance during WWII, the Blitz Spirit brought people together. It turns out that we hadn’t lost that ability, respect or care; we just hadn’t been in a situation that allowed it to reveal itself until now. Our generation are often referred to in the media as self-obsessed or flaky but I think this proves we are not – many young people are connecting with the elderly and the frail to help where they can. Relationships with grandparents or great uncles and aunts are thriving more than ever as we try to keep them from loneliness via the very technology that has so often been derided in the past. People are phoning and FaceTiming each other more than ever before and long-lost friends and family have reconnected. As a friend pointed out, phone calls are great – they’re like listening to a podcast but with people you actually know!
I think the most important message in this situation, as we all struggle to find a way through our individual isolation struggles as we search for a ‘new normal’, can be summed up by the words of stand-up comedian John Robins who recently said “It is better to be kind than to be right’.
Lara Pomphrett joined Highgate in 2006 at the age of 3 and is now a student in Year 12 currently studying Latin, Classical Civilisation, History and English. She has a passion for the study of the classical world and loves playing hockey and cricket. She is a key member of both the Charity and Community Committee and the School Council. Lara enjoys drawing, playing the guitar and Thai boxing.