Why does Covid-19 lockdown really feel tougher the second time?

🕒 3 minutes read

For those who live in England, we’re just over half a second ban. Granted, the lockdown isn’t as severe as the UK’s first lockdown back in March this year, but it still means we have to severely moderate our lifestyle.

Then why is the second, shorter lockdown taking such a mental toll on us after we had gone through a much longer and tougher lockdown earlier this year?

We were told to work from home and reduce the use of public transport. Gyms, a lifeline for many, are closed again. Friends and family cannot see each other. People are encouraged to go out only once a day to exercise. Travel and overnight stays are again prohibited. Welcome to life under Lockdown 2.0, but this time things are different.

In the spring we adjusted, although what we saw felt draconian for some and too late for others, with long and bright sunny days and fine weather during much of the lockdown.

We went for more local walks and experienced nature in miniature through our back gardens. Many of us even camp in our gardens to ease the boredom of spending so much time indoors and not being allowed to travel.

You’d think that a month-long lockdown with slightly less strict rules would be a breeze if you had survived the first full lockdown, which began on March 23, 2020 and lasted about seven weeks. Not correct.

Although the early fall was glorious, November was certainly bleak, wet and gloomy in Cheshire, where I live. Good weather for hiking was fleeting, but the real mood zapper is the shorter, darker days.

There are fewer opportunities to go outside and benefit from the natural mood enhancement that nature and daylight provide.

It’s dark around 4 p.m. and when many of us work from home and most of us don’t finish work until 5 or 6 a.m., there are fewer opportunities to go outside and benefit from the natural mood enhancement, that offer nature and daylight.

A local walk during lockdown 2.0A local walk during lockdown 2.0

For those with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), this time of year is always difficult anyway as we find it difficult to adjust to the dark, but many of our coping mechanisms, such as meeting friends, going out, working out at the gym, and getting away on weekends, are commonplace , were taken from us, make us fidget; struggle to find new ways to cope with the double mess of lockdown and the shorter, darker days.

We are no longer in it together

Shorter days alone cannot be the reason Lockdown 2.0 is so much harder to endure, it is the fragmentation of Britain that makes this period harder to get through.

The conflicting messages we see. The confusing different levels affecting different friends and family members across the country. The frustration of doing our weekly grocery shopping and seeing so many people selfishly ignoring mask use and social distancing guidelines.

We all agreed to be very British and to understand it well for the common good.

The first time you love or loathe it, clap on the front door, rainbows in windows, daily briefings, and our social media streams filled with random acts of kindness and people sharing what they’re doing around Dealing with all of them strengthened the understanding that we were all in this common, that we were all united, being very British and happily getting along well with it.

Last time we felt like we were all in the same boat and the unity of a shared experience and camaraderie helped us through.

It feels like what we’re missing out on is only relieved more sharply.

In the spring, nobody had great adventures or fun in the great outdoors because none of us were allowed to. However, this time around we have family and friends who live in different parts of the UK and who talk to us about it or post their adventures on social media. It seems like what we miss is only relieved more sharply.

Seeing others enjoy the freedom we long for while we are back under house arrest undermines the feeling that we are all together because we are not all making the same sacrifices at the same time this time around.

The lack of British cohesion during this second lockdown could be one of the reasons why, at least anecdotally, more people seem to be ignoring the guidelines this time around, and our usual coping mechanisms are being removed from us, only making winter bleak for many.

Coupled with the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Christmas and whether an extension of lockdowns or local lockdowns will prevent us from seeing our family and friends, it’s not hard to see why this second lockdown turns out to be more psychologically difficult.

Where to go next

Shell loves all things travel and the outdoors, and is a nature-loving, comfortable camping girl. Shell started the Camping with Style blog after a serious snowboarding accident that left her with a broken back. Even so, she used the outdoors and nature’s healing powers to relax, and she continues to spend time outdoors whenever she can.

From swimming in the open water, snowboarding and kayaking to mountain hiking and meditation, Shell shares their travels and micro-adventures here on the blog. In various publications she has written for, Shell has a particular interest in promoting the well-being and the many benefits of natural therapy.

Latest posts by Shell Robshaw-Bryan (See everything)

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