This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
We've had a chance to settle now we're approaching another lockdown milestone. Daily routines have established themselves, we're not waking up two minutes before a Zoom call and hopefully we're going for a walk and eating more than instant noodles. It was touch and go for a minute there.
Among those in a privileged enough position to be safe and well and either WFH or temporarily furloughed, there's a growing understanding that there are positives to this new way of life. Not many, but some. We've stopped buying lunch from Pret. We get some laundry done. There's zero pressure to wear make-up or our work uniforms. As VICE staff learn how to best survive lockdown, we've catalogued the things we're doing under lockdown that make us forget we're in lockdown. Here are some of the changes we've made that we don't want to give up once the pandemic is over.
WALKING WITHOUT PURPOSE
Sounds like a really obvious one, but since lockdown I've been going on hour-long walks in forests, graveyards and parks. Before lockdown I only ever walked from one place to another with a clear purpose: to meet people or go to the shop or whatever. But there's a real joy in walking aimlessly. I've ended up in parts of the neighbourhood I've never seen before, snuck into nature reserves, climbed behind abandoned houses, peaked into people's gardens. It really reminds me of being a kid during the summer holidays when you did stuff simply because you felt like it / to get out of your parents way / fill time. I don't want to go back to how it was before, when I was too busy to be idle or look around properly and pay an interest in what I see. – Daisy Jones
Most of my lockdown activities are time-consuming and probably won't last past September when I have more interesting things to do than "another run... I guess." While I may not be able to maintain bread-making every week in a post-lockdown world, it's helping me manage and contextualise an endless, often lonely abyss of time, something that I would avoid desperately pre-COVID by filling my evenings and weekends with plans. Post-lockdown, if I'm able to spend a day at home without a particular plan, or a weekend alone without losing my shit, then making that loaf will be very useful. – Ruby Lott-Lavigna
As every fugitive, submarine crew and tour band knows, when you are stuck somewhere with no escape, basic games are your saviour. Not psychological ones on social media or video games, but the kind of ancient games that people have been playing for ever. We've had a carrom board leaning up in our living room for a few years. It's like an Indian version of pool that we mainly ignored. But since lockdown, playing carrom has become a daily happening. It marks that space after work and before dinner. We smooth the playing surface with talcum powder, set up the 19 discs in the centre and it's game on. We found out that we play different rules to the actual ones, but our way is better and we are slowly becoming pros. The best thing though, like a lot of lockdown basics people are doing, is that it brings us three together in a way that watching TV or staring at our phones doesn't. – Max Daly
ACTUALLY EATING MEALS
It’s not that I hated food before lockdown, it was more that generally, feeding myself seemed like a huge chore that wasn’t worth the time. Before, I sustained myself by snacking throughout the day and occasionally eating a meal if I was around people, but now I’ve found that cooking and eating entire meals has somehow brought an ounce of joy into my otherwise miserable little lockdown life. I’ll listen to music as I make roasts or a fancy little wine reduction sauce for my housemate and I. Ultimately, there is nothing better than going to bed with a full belly. – Nana Baah
Miles away, over in east London, there is an abandoned desk, covered in crystals and "sacred" "vibe sprays" and books and ear plugs. Who knows how long it'll gather dust for now we're working from home. For all the emptiness – and, OK, urgent fucking loneliness – in my current life, there's a pleasant silence in the daytime. No distracting noises, no constant motion around my desk. No more background stress that comes from draining overstimulation. I think more clearly about the work I'm doing. I haven't felt the small, familiar spikes of panic that came like clockwork throughout the working day. Lockdown has only confirmed what I've known all along: that full-time London office life isn't for everyone, particularly for those with jobs that require extended periods of concentration. Hopefully there's a balance to be made in the wider British workforce between being present in major cities and being left well alone. – Hannah Ewens
CHANGING MY ROUTINE
One of the hardest things for me about lockdown is the lack of spontaneity. Days and weeks now form the same shape, with time moulding into one big continuous blob. I've tried fighting this by not settling into the same routine for too long. From week to week, I try to switch up, where possible, the general framework of my leisure time – from what I'm reading or watching, to when I FaceTime or take my government-approved stroll. It returns some control to my daily life, and introduces me to opportunities I'd miss if I stuck to a singular routine – a way of thinking that will be helpful when we return to our normal lives. – Dipo Faloyin
COOKING ON A BUDGET
I like to think I had my life in order prior to lockdown. I would purchase cereal for breakfast, funnel fruit from the office supply, maybe slap up a healthy meal or two. Yet come the end of the month, there was still a massive hole in my budget. The cause? Uber Eats, Deliveroo, and me, in Tesco, needlessly frittering away money on crisps. Lockdown put things into perspective. I still get a treat once a week (aka takeaway), but the rest of the time I budget like an old nonna in the war, making sure to use every crumb of food in my fridge. Adulting? Hey baby, it's me, 15 years too late. – Ryan Bassil
... AND COOKING MORE AMBITIOUSLY
Over the last couple of months, I have started getting into cookbooks and doing interesting things with butternut squash. I follow recipes for arrabbiata to learn cooking techniques, instead of chucking plum tomatoes, chilli flakes and garlic into the pan and hoping the result is good. I made pizza from scratch and it was fun. My flatmate and I get a weekly veg box delivery (from Oddbox, which I really recommend). I love it all! Don’t get me wrong: my most strongly held belief is still that the nicest thing you can do for someone who is sad is cook them an entire shop-bought garlic baguette and serve it to them, but it has been good to learn what I can do with like, a radish, as well, and I hope that I continue to learn about radishes for many years to come. – Lauren O'Neill
Just beyond the park that I usually wouldn’t venture beyond is a wood – it’s not very big, but it turns out that when you need to get lost in it, you can. There’s a big hill near mine – a while ago I cycled up it, nearly fainted, and had to lie on the pavement with my legs in the air. Since lockdown, cycling up it is just a thing I do when I’m bored. A short walk in the other direction is an unbeatable view of London that, almost unbelievably, I didn’t know existed until five weeks ago. And then there’s the crappy piece of wasteland threatened by redevelopment – the former tennis courts of which have been taken over by wildflowers. I even found some wild leeks and served them with fish for my housemates – foraged from an overgrown patch of grass on a busy main road.
Getting into the natural world – strictly within a ten minute walk or cycle from my flat – is one wholesome lockdown activity that must stay. It’ll be cool to travel again I suppose, but I don’t want to stop appreciating the little things that surround me. – Simon Childs