Living in Lockdown: Key findings from week 4
How many days...weeks...months...have we been in lockdown now?* Well, if one day is merging into the next, with little to differentiate the week from the weekend, you’re not alone! Our Community Perspectives panel of 16-25 year olds are experiencing similar frustrations. Which is why we’ve provided them with a platform through which they can connect with each other and share how they’re feeling. In return, we’ll provide support and resources to help them navigate this new normal and better prepare themselves for whatever the future has in store.
Same old. Same old.
For most of our respondents’ circumstances, little has changed. And this is reflected in how they feel this week. Boris’s announcement on Sunday, only succeeded in muddying the waters for many, with his vague, unclear messages about the lifting of lockdown increasing their sense of confusion and depression.
“The news raises more questions than answers. The messaging is inconsistent and confusing, at odds with the rest of the UK countries and seems poorly thought out.”
“The government statement given was so vague I feel like I have no idea what is going on…”
The lack of clarity in the field of education is also contributing to high levels of stress and frustration, in both teachers and students.
“I feel stressed as a teacher about the upcoming wider opening of schools.”
“’I’m unsure about what’s happening at university.”
Although, on a positive note, a handful of respondents do feel more positive that at least there is a plan now.
“On the lockdown rollercoaster, I'm on my way back up. Last week I had a negative blip and I think that was because we hadn't got an update in a long time. Now that we know some sort of plan for the future, I'm less frustrated and anxious as it feels like there's a rough idea for when things are going to gradually go back to normal. I'm feeling more creative as my mind is freer (less anxious) to think up ideas…”
Eat, drink, sleep, repeat
Being on a monotonous, domestic hamster wheel is responsible for increasing levels of boredom and a lack of motivation for many of our respondents, reflected in the fact that almost 50% of 16-25-year olds feel less inspired now than they did.
However, as time goes by, it seems that an individual’s mindset can determine how easy, or difficult, it is to be pro-active and manage time. Structure and routine, or a distinct lack of it, clearly have a big part to play, with some saying that listening to music gives their day a structure, helps to motivate them. While for others, having a dedicated work environment and reminding themselves that one day, all of this will be over are also motivators.
“Timetabling a plan detailing what to do during the day so I don't get bored.”
“Waking up early helps, so I can start my day sooner. Setting tasks to complete gives me something to work towards. A quiet environment also helps.”
“Giving myself rewards for staying resilient and working hard - e.g. tea breaks or watching my fave tv show if I get a certain amount done. Also, reminding myself that this situation is just temporary and that it will end at some point and that I'll look back and be proud of myself knowing that I kept on going through this despite everything.”
Life after lockdown: fear of unknown
As talk increasingly turns to the lifting of lockdown restrictions, high levels of caution and concern prevail, with over a third of panellists worried that infection rates will rise again. They are also anxious about passing the infection to parents and high-risk family members, and wonder what will happen when younger siblings go back to school.
Social distancing in the workplace and on public transport are another high-stakes area, while concerns were also voiced over the longer-term potential for recession and redundancies.The only positives mentioned was looking forward to the start of university in September and the structure to their day this would bring.
“People not following the rules and treating it as if lockdown is fully over causing the spread to increase.”
“The virus does not just disappear - most of my family are high risk and advised to isolate for a further 12 weeks.”
“Concerned my work has not updated me at all since the update.”
“I'm scared to leave lockdown and go back to being surrounded by people. I have social anxiety.”
“My biggest concerns are a second peak like many other countries have had. I've got used to working from home and could easily continue until all of this has calmed down.”
A risk averse generation
Despite the fact that they are arguably missing out the most, in terms of how their education is delivered and maintaining social interaction, our young people are very mindful that early lifting of lockdown restrictions could cause a second wave of infection. But, as sentiments can change quickly, we’ll update you on any changes and share the support we’re offering too. To ask the panel a question or discover more about our research please contact Rachel Ditchfield (email@example.com).
*43 days and counting, at the time of writing.
In 2020, a lot has changed for all of us. And there’s a group of 16-25 year olds who are particularly concerned about university, training, or developing their career. At SMRS, we can’t make PPE. But we do excel in connecting and communicating with people. So, to do our bit, we’ve created Living in Lockdown – a research project focused on an online community of 16-25 year olds who are sharing their thoughts each week. We’re helping to connect, reassure, and support them through discussions, Q&As, webinars and advice. You can find all the weekly findings here.