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19 things to look forward to once lockdown has ended

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Now that restrictions are lifting and some parts of our lives are beginning to feel normal again, it feels right to look forward to the things you didn’t realise you’d miss, until they were taken away. We’ve got our list ready and waiting, have you got yours? Here are the things we look forward to do!

Things to look forward to after lockdown

1. Extended Family Meals

We love a big chaotic family meal. And not just with immediately family (who we’ve been locked up with for months), but extended family meals where you have to search for chairs around the house to seat all the aunties and uncles, and someone is perched on a piano stool at the corner of the table, there’s spilled drinks and cousins and your mum is at her happiest feeding everyone…

2. Spontaneity

“I can’t wait to see someone I know and dart into a café for coffee or a nearby bar for a glass of wine with them,” says Sasha, 27. “Pubs and bars are starting to open up, but I’m looking forward to when we don’t have to order drinks through perspex screens, and don’t feel scared to start random chats with people on the next tables.”

3. The Commute

Who would have thought we’d miss the commute – squashing onto public transport, delving into a book and avoiding eye contact with those around you. Never in my wildest dreams  did I think commuting would be one of the things I’d look forward to. And it’s not just the commute, there’s the human contact you get from being at work, the office banter, the water cooler chats, talking with actual grown-ups (rather than just your children) and someone making you a cup of tea.

“I’m missing my desk at work,” says Ali. “Working from home means I’m squashed into our walk-in-wardrobe room in the attic, which is hot with a sloping ceiling so very claustrophobic, but it’s the only place I can have Zoom meetings without the kids interrupting me.”

4. Travelling Abroad

I always took living on the doorstep of Europe for granted until my Australian sister-in-law mentioned how lucky we are that we can be in Paris in an hour or nip to Barcelona for the weekend. She’s right, we can see the Norwegian Fjords, ski in the Alps, have dinner on the Danube or wonder the cobbled streets of Positano in only a short travel time.

9/11 changed how we travelled the world and the pandemic will certainly change the way we move around the Earth, but perhaps for the better. Daily global CO2 emissions have decreased by 17% during lockdown, mainly because of fewer flights, so whilst we might be dreaming of the Greek Islands, it’s up to us to make responsible changes to how we travel once the world opens up again.

I can’t wait to swim in the med, but I’ll be planning my next adventure by train…

5. Popping to the shops

What a treat it will be to pop to the shops without the fear or the face masks. “Because I try to minimise my trips out, my shopping trips are very functional and I’m buying only practical food and bulk buys, so all really boring,” says Lisa, 29. “I’m looking forward to being frivolous with food again, so choosing something in a cookery book and searching for obscure ingredients rather than just seeing shopping as a grocery haul.”

6. Hairdressers

I think a lot of us can relate when we say that we look forward to the hairdressers being back in business. it will mean that we can finally say goodbye to overgrown locks, trying to cover the increasing grey with home dyes or unsuccessfully cutting our partner’s/children’s hair as hairdressers start to open up. But with all the new rules in place, we’ll still miss the pre-Covid natter, closeness and putting that world to rights that came with a trip to the hairdressers.

7. Hearing the kids playing at the local primary school

Whether you have kids or not, there’s something reassuring and familiar about seeing hordes of uniformed kids marching to and from school as well as the screams from the playground. A return to the routine of school after months of home school, plus summer holidays will see many parents weeping for joy in September, but will also be a welcome sight for everyone as it signifies a return to normality as we settle into old routines again.

8. Local Sports

Football might be back, but we can’t wait for local sports to return so we can play netball again, run in our local Park Run, or do a few lengths at the local swimming pool.

“It’s the weekly ritual of playing team sports or having something scheduled in, that I miss,” says Mary, 37. “But also the human contact, the competitiveness, and the feeling of getting better each week at the sports I play.”

On the plus side, bike shops have reported booming business during lockdown, and everyone seems to be running, so when local sports do return, we’re expecting lots of very fit people.

9. Birthdays

We’ve tried our best; but celebrating birthdays in lockdown is rubbish. Big birthdays even more so and Zoom calls with family and friends don’t really do the job. We can’t wait for all this to be over so the only decisions we have to make are: big birthday out in a bar, or dinner party with friends? Invite everyone we know, or quiet weekend away in the country? Whatever you decide, the biggest treat will be to have choices again.

10. Live Music

With 80% of the UK’s music venues under real threat of closing and festivals cancelled, we’re mourning (and worried for) the live music industry. Sadly, and because of the close proximity of hundreds of people, live music events and crowds will be one of the last things that return to normal. As soon as it’s safe, we’ll be staying up until 3am to book our tickets, packing our tents and joining the hundreds of packed together sweaty bodies enjoying the music we love.

11. Meeting new people

As we form ‘bubble family groups’ and our social lives are reduced to seeing a few close friends at a distance, we’re missing the variety of life and prospect of meeting new people. “I work in travel publishing so used to travel all around the UK meeting lots of different people,” explains Emily, 31. “I really miss meeting new people, finding out their stories and having that moment where you totally ‘click’ with a stranger.”

Meeting new people opens up opportunities for us, both in forming new friendships and discovering new situations – don’t worry new people, we’re coming to get you once Lockdown finishes!

12. Being on our own/being with people

Whether you’ve been stuck at home on your own, filling long hours working from your kitchen table, or stuck with your family, pulling your hair out at another day of home-schooling, trying to continue your job and never being alone – you’ll want the exact opposite when restrictions lift. “I’m dreaming of a whole weekend on my own with no kids asking me for food, no husband hanging around the house and definitely no Zoom calls,” says mum of three, Margot.

13. Not worrying so much

One of the things we really look forward to is to not have to worry constantly. Worrying about being too close to people, worrying we’re breaking the rules, worrying we’re hibernating for too long, worrying about a second wave, worrying when we go to the shops, worrying that if we don’t go it will cause a recession, worrying about our jobs…. There will be new worries of course, but we can’t wait for there to be zero Coronavirus worries and we can enjoy a meal out with good friends in a restaurant like in the good old days.

14. Conversation killer

How bored are you talking endlessly about Coronavirus? Every person you meet discusses it, you catch snatches of Covid conversation as you pass people in the street, the news is full of it, the magazines you enjoyed now mention it and you can’t even go on holiday to escape it! How refreshing it will be to talk about your holiday plans, or an exciting new job or a new relationship, without having the backdrop of Coronavirus to spoil it all.

15. Seeing parents properly

“Even though I sit in my parents back garden and we’re more than 2m away from each other, I can tell they are scared I could give it to them, and I feel guilty when I leave that I somehow have,” says Milly, 33. “I can’t wait for the day when each visit doesn’t come woven with guilt and anxiety.”

16. HUGS

See point 15, not only are we longing to hug our parents and for grandparents to hug grandchildren, but also friends hugging friends. “I’ve always been a hugger,” says mum of two Laura. “I’ve found this experience really challenging. I just want to embrace my friends who are having bad days, get close enough to smell my mum’s perfume and give my dad a massive hug.”

Oxytocin (the love hormone) is released when we hug one another, which calms us, reduces our stress and anxiety levels and lowers blood pressure so it’s no surprise, we’re longing to hug and be hugged.

17. Theatre

Going to the theatre is intoxicating; it has an ability to transport you to somewhere completely different, to scare you, to make you cry or laugh out loud. Sadly, because of the nature of theatres – lots of people who don’t know each other packed into enclosed spaces, means they’ll be one of the last activities to re-open. This means many theatres – especially small local theatres, may not survive.

We can’t wait for the lights to dim and the magic to begin and we’ll be first in line when they open up again. Check your local theatre websites to see if they have any fundraising initiatives or donate if you can, to help keep them running.

18. Retail Therapy

As much as we love those amazon and eBay packages arriving through the door, we want to walk into a boutique, try and few things on, and leave with that giant paper bag of happiness. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of choosing new clothes straight off the rails and that’s something we look forward to.. Shanali, 32, says: “If I was going out for dinner in the evening, I used to nip out in my lunch break to Zara and buy a top to pair with jeans. There’s nothing quite like putting on something new and feeling special.”

19. Looking forward to Christmas

It’s strange to think about Christmas after months of lockdown, but we all need something to look forward to especially with summer holidays in jeopardy. None of us know what Christmas will look like this year, but we’re hoping it has lots of point 1. (big family meals) and point 15. (seeing our parents again), we hope point 13. comes true (fewer worries) and we can’t wait for plenty of point 16. (hugs).

What are some of the things you look forward to when this lockdown ends? Let us know below!

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