It turns out my fourth lockdown was not my last. I am currently experiencing my fifth lockdown.
It happened all so quickly. There was a spate of cases in Sydney and I almost felt smug, thinking that we Victorians would not be affected by this and could go back to some kind of a normal life. I was actually preparing to go to my office soon. I had not been at work for almost two months and was looking forward to travelling to the city, enjoying take away coffees and catching up with my colleagues. I had also started looking at my wardrobe again, deciding on cute outfits to wear and thrilled that I would not be in active wear every day.
But sure enough, the virus leaked into Victoria quickly and sneakily. At first, we were just required to wear masks indoors. I was relieved at this, hoping we would avoid another lockdown. I met up with friends for dinner one night and one friend predicted we would enter lockdown soon. She was usually right in her predictions of lockdowns and I felt my heart sink. But as I took my uber home, I prayed that we would not enter lockdown again.
Unfortunately, my prayer did not work and the following day, it was announced by the government that we would enter a circuit breaker lockdown for five days, from midnight. I felt a mixture of disappointment, frustration and sadness. I was working from home that day and I started to feel very unmotivated, wondering how I was going to get through the next five days at home.
To my surprise, I have been more resilient this time, keeping busy with a routine of exercise, meditation, reading and cooking. Like a lot of Victorians, I have accepted that lockdowns can happen at any time and the best thing we can do is accept it and endure it and look after ourselves as much as we can.
In Australia, the vaccine rollout has been rather slow and only around 11 per cent of the population are fully vaccinated. This means that every time there is a new COVID-19 outbreak in any state in Australia, we may go into lockdown. This is a disruptive and exhausting way to live and its having a negative effect on peoples’ mental health as well as their jobs and income.
2021 is proving to be a challenging year with continual disruption caused by COVID-19. I will be getting my vaccination soon, not just to protect myself against COVID-19 but to also help in getting Australia to a stage where we can live comfortably with the virus and no longer live with restrictions and lockdowns.
At the end of the day, most people just want to have a normal life again — to not have to worry that they will catch this virus, to keep their jobs and still earn money, to travel when they want and to enjoy good mental health.
I am hopeful that 2022 will be a better year than this year — one where we can live with the virus and still live a life free of fear, disruption and confinement at home.
Right now, I will just focus on getting through this lockdown by looking after my mental and physical health. I am setting the bar low — all I need to do is get through each day as best I can and just be grateful for being alive, healthy, in paid employment and that I have a partner, family and friends who care about me.