Howie P on 04 December 2020
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Q. Have you been able to get outside more than usual?
During the first lockdown we could only really walk around our village. We do live in a rural area and are a bit in the middle of nowhere but what seems like green space is actually farmers fields and not accessible. We did a lot of walking around the block and it did get really boring and it was on the roads. Our car broke down and we couldn't get it fixed during lockdown so we were really stuck in our village with no access to shops or good places to exercise or just be. We have a tiny garden and so we did just sit in the sunshine in the front garden for some of it. Friends of mine who live in the nearest town were struggling to get out as all the places that people usually go to to walk or exercise were really busy and particularly with bikes, and those friends with younger children didn't feel safe in terms of covid or physically due to all of the new people out. I actually feel like I had to disconnect with nature as I knew I couldn't really get to any of it and it was really hard reading about people who were feeling a better connection to the outdoors than ever and with no work or school, managing to get into natural spaces more than before. I think I a little bit went through some mourning for all of the things we had lost and getting outdoors into nice spaces was definitely one of them. It was tragic that we had all of this time together as a family but were largely restricted to just our house. Later as lockdown opened up, because we live in a tourism area we were inundated with visitors and it was impossible to go to many places as they were so busy. Many of the things that make a trip out to the woods or the beach possible had not opened up, so there were no toilets open, no dustbins and no shops or even carparks etc. Many popular places to visit were closed depending on who owned them, like parks, national trust and forestry commission which I think meant that the concentration of people in the available places left, was higher and felt more risky and harder to socially distance. I think nature and the outdoors was one of the ways that the inequity of the covid situation really hit home for me. I couldn't square that some people were stuck at home while others by virtue of where they live had access to beautiful places in the sunshine. This must have impacted peoples mood, mental health and physical health in such different ways.
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