Christmas 2020 certainly isn't going to be what we imagined it would be before the COVID-19 pandemic (that's if anyone was even thinking about Christmas way back in March!).
You may have noticed that the title of this article is 'The Cons and the Pros' as opposed to the usual phrase 'The Pros and the Cons'. We've done that very much on purpose: because we want to finish on the good points! And, while people with disabilities will certainly have some challenges to face, there are also just as many positive outcomes. Think positive, feel positive, BE positive!
The COVID Cons
- Being restricted from interacting with people can aggravate stress levels, increase blood pressure and generally leave people feeling down
- Cancellation of normal exercise activities such as going swimming or to the gym can have negative impacts on physical health. It can also affect the wellbeing of people who rely on such support networks
- If people are unable to shop anywhere but locally because they can't drive, they may be unable to get essential items (a fact certainly not helped by selfish panic buyers). A lack of facilities and poor access only compounds the problem
- Toilet restrictions may be in place, causing anxiety
- Long queues and one-way systems can be difficult to navigate
We're sure you can think of many more but DON'T! Instead, lets look at:
The COVID Pros
- Busy high streets are no fun for anybody, least of all for a person with autism who may experience a meltdown due to all the noise and movement or for a wheelchair user who is rudely barged past because they're 'getting in the way'. Shopping from home can be done at your own pace, in your own space and at your own convenience
- 'Absence makes the heart grow fonder'. As with most proverbs, there is a difinite nugget of truth to this one. Being restricted from meeting our family and friends has made us value them all the more. Things like Zoom meetings have connected, or indeed reconnected us with people we wouldn't always have the time to visit pre-COVID
- People are rediscovering their own home towns, getting the exercise they need by good old-fashioned walking and enjoying the fresh air
- Communities have come together like never before, with neighbours and even strangers helping one another out in any way they possibly can
- This is not only true in local communities: thousands upon thousands of new Facebook groups have sprung up, connecting people from all over the world. Your support bubble is global
- People have had time to explore new things, starting new hobbies, learning new languages, discovering new music, building their talents and increasing their repertoires
We're sure you can think of many more and that's exactly what EVERYONE should be doing. In fact, we'd like you to share YOUR positive lockdown experiences with us. Send us an email and we'd love to see any pictures too. Happy lockdown!