Wherever you are in the world, you cannot escape the subject of the life-threatening virus that is wreaking havoc across the globe. In the UK, having only just recovered from the boredom of Brexit, we’re now faced with a much more serious headline-dominating subject. The effects of COVID-19 are significant and far-reaching and whilst we were able to switch off from Theresa May’s ‘Brexit means Brexit’ crusade and Boris Johnson’s ‘Let’s get Brexit done’ mantra, we can’t ignore the on-going threat of the coronavirus pandemic.
The health and economic consequences have been, and will continue to be, catastrophic. But what lessons can we learn from this unprecedented occurrence? We know that washing our hands frequently can help prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We know that stock piling toilet rolls and other essential items is needless and selfish. And now we also know that self-isolation is not a hardship but an opportunity.
With major cities forced to shut down, people found themselves remembering the words of another former Conservative leader. John Major’s ‘Back to Basics’ campaign was designed to promote traditional values such as (to use his words) neighbourliness, decency and courtesy. These basic principles are vital when faced with something as life-changing as COVID-19 but it shouldn’t take a global pandemic to remind us of their importance.
Rather than complain about the things that are absent, the key is to embrace the things that are present. With sporting events and theatre performances postponed, flights and holidays cancelled, and restaurants and cafes closed, what better time to rediscover the joy of family life? It’s all too easy to turn on the television and binge on boxsets but where’s the satisfaction in that? Blow the dust off those board games, retrieve that guitar from the loft, find those song sheets on your laptop. Try baking, gardening or decorating. Test yourselves with a family quiz. And don’t forget to catch up with those friends and family members you’ve been promising to call. Facetime and Skype are free of charge but incredibly rewarding.
The people of Italy were the first to embrace their enforced isolation by demonstrating the power of music with impromptu performances from windows and balconies. This captured the hearts of nations and reminded us not just of the importance of togetherness but also the relevance of passion. Despite the exceptional and challenging circumstances, passion for life should prevail.
In a time when freedom of choice and freedom of movement are taken for granted, it’s hard to accept advisory or mandatory restrictions. As social beings, being asked to stay indoors and self-isolate goes against our natural instincts. But instead of seeing this as time stolen, consider it as time gained. Remember the joy of laughter and the importance of hope. It’s easy to forget life’s simple pleasures such as music, singing and reading but they are perfect examples of the ‘back to basics’ theory.
It’s also easy to overlook those people who are taking care of the sick. Care workers and medical staff are working exceptionally long hours in incredibly difficult circumstances, putting themselves at risk by putting others first. These people are true heroes and should be treated as such, even when this pandemic eventually comes to an end.
Life has a habit of throwing us challenges. Coronavirus, like any other challenge, will be overcome. It’s how we deal with it that makes all the difference.< Back