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Lockdown looms

25 March 2020

As I write today's column we're just hours away from lockdown.

Unless you're a worker in an "essential service", you will be required to stay away from other people and subsist in the tiny "isolation bubble" that is your home.

While this sounds potentially a bit of fun and an interesting challenge, I suspect that it'll be only a matter of days before tedium sets in and people start going stir-crazy. TV and the internet will be the opiate that most people turn to in order to aleviate the boredom but, as we know, even that has its limits.

Once you've watched all your favourite shows several times over and after you've exhausted YouTube's array of interesting stuff, what are you going to do with your time?

And, heavens forbid, what if the Net was to go down???

Smart folk will already be mapping out some challenges that will help them through the coming days and weeks.

So long as the Net is still working, I'd highly recommend setting some learning goals.

There are a huge number of resources available online for those who want to expand their knowledge and understanding. YouTube alone is a vast repository of knowledge and there are countless university lectures that have been uploaded to its servers -- albeit you may find the Indian ones a little hard going due to the thick accents often involved.

Have you always wanted to increase your math skills or learn more about a specific subject?

Well go for it!

How about learning a new programming language... there's a thought.

Don't just browse around aimlessly and play at it... set yourself a firm goal to learn something to a predefined level and then go for it! Remember, you'll probably have a lot more time than you expect and if there's one thing I've noticed over the years, time really flies when your mind is busy acquiring knowledge.

However, do set aside time to spend with your partner or family.

My wife and I have "date night" every Saturday, regardless of what else is going on in our lives. Okay, we're newly-weds who tied the knot less than a year ago -- but we have been living together for almost 40 years. Keeping the fires of relationships burning is essential and I fear that many folk who do not normally spend extended periods of time living in their partner or their family's pockets may suffer quite a bit of stress over the next 4 weeks.

I fully expect that the number of "domestics" will go through the roof -- as some people find it impossible to escape their loved ones and familiarity breeds contempt. I'm fortunate insomuch as I've always worked from home and thus am very used to spending both day and night with my wife. We understand each other's foibles and traits. We've learned to be tolerant of the things we don't like and embrace the things we do like about each other.

Something else to consider is physical fitness.

The overwhelming temptation for many folk will be to move the comfy-chair a little closer to the TV and then veg-out and chomp down on junk-food whilst binge-watching their favourites series on Netflix. Noooo!

Not only would such an attitude almost certainly play havoc with your body but it would also risk one's mental health.

Even before frustration sets in it would be a really good idea to start a simple exercise regime. Nobody has to run marathons or lift huge sets of weights -- just a regular walk or some push-ups and squats will likely be extremely effective in clearing the mind and also flushing some of that plaque out of your rapidly occluding arteries.

I'd love to hear from regular readers as to what steps they're going to take to avoid boredom and frustration. To be honest, I'm picking that this will not be an issue amongst the Aardvark community. It's been my experience that smart people are never short of ideas and initiatives to keep them busy and happy, regardless of the situation.

Never the less... let's hear from you in the forums. Share your hints, tips, attitudes and plans. Perhaps others can learn something from your insights.

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