How our lives have changed in the past few weeks. The cessation of competitions, daily briefings from the Government, horrendous news on all outlets about Covid-19, and increasing regulation of our lives.
And then this word crept into our daily conversations – Essential. We are living with the dilemma of stay at home, save lives, protect the NHS and what is or isn’t essential that we are allowed to do. Instead of simply walking out the door, getting in the car and ‘popping’ to the shops we now check the surgical glove supply, weigh up how much hand sanitiser will be needed and think about how much energy we have to queue up outside a shop to be let in.
Is it essential that I go to the shops? The government posted that we should only go if necessary and for the shortest period of time. Obviously Boris and cabinet haven’t tried to get a delivery slot at one of the supermarkets recently. You try to get a slot less than a month away, what are we supposed to eat until then? The loo rolls that I haven’t hoarded???
Do you find yourself discussing whether walking the dogs on the road outside is your daily exercise or is dog walking separate to our once a day exercise? Do you rant at the TV when you see some dog walker get stalked by a drone? Do you agree with the police? I’m not sure I do.
Consider this – is it better to walk from your door go to the park and try to socially distance away from 100 others in the park? Or is it better to take a short journey by car (5 miles) and walk somewhere with not a soul around? We live on a little lane yet recently it has become like a mini motorway of families, prams and dog walkers from the local village. On sunny days it is tricky to find a ‘slot’ to walk in without having someone near you. So won’t be doing that thank you, I am considering my health and if someone sneezes you need to be a lot further than 2m away folks.
Yesterday I saw a photo on Facebook of people buying paint for their houses and general decorating stuff. There were plenty of people ranting about how it was non essential. Well hello there! I didn’t look ahead and think in April I am going to have lots of time to re-decorate the house so I will buy in some paint. How is going to the DIY shop to buy paint any different to going to Tesco (other supermarkets are available) to get hair colouring? Both could provide the person with a sense of positivity. Both could help your mental health, isn’t that important too? And so I come to the elephant in the room, or should this be horse???
To ride or not to ride. Some organisations have come out with their interpretation of the government advice and said that they ‘strongly advise’ that you don’t ride. Or as BD put it “Government has not issued any restrictions on riding but we would continue to urge everyone to carefully consider the risks and what is ‘essential’ and not ride.”
So ‘essential’ appears again. What if essential means you need to ride for your horse’s health? What if essential is fundamental to your mental health? Somehow lunging my horses doesn’t have the same ‘feel good’ factor as riding does, no pleasant feeling of tiredness, no mental high when you have a breakthrough. So yes it is ‘essential’ to me.
With all of the restrictions, most of which I totally understand and totally agree with, I feel we are about to take a retrograde step in our development as a species. We have just handed over our entire lives to the police, government and an increasingly draconian state. We have given up our ability to be intelligent and take responsibility for ourselves. A large proportion of us are being paid not to work and to sit on the sofa.
I wonder where this will leave us after Covid-19 has departed. Will we be worried about human contact, have children that lack social skills, be fatter, and mentally fragile. All I would say to you is take charge of your mental and physical health, make thoughtful decisions about exercise and what risks are involved. I suspect that after this is all over the mental health of the nation and the cost of other lives lost might be what we are talking about rather than whether we survived Covid-19.