With various restrictions lifted and few introduced, we are relatively close to ‘business life as usual’. You can now go to a gym, have a massage, eat out and have your hair cut. Whether you should do all of these things is down to your individual situation and your judgement. It’s easy to forget that corona virus hasn’t disappeared anywhere and we still have a distance left to go. Here’s a checklist of things you can do to make it safer for yourself and others whilst enjoying your life to the full (well, almost).
Here’s how you up your corona game
1. Use your elbow (or, failing that, knuckle) to press buttons.
At the traffic lights, on a train, in an elevator. Not touching something that hundreds of fingers touched before you is a sound precaution. Just don’t be like those guys who were using condoms on their fingers (if you haven’t seen this, consider yourself lucky). Unless you want to creep out all the handsome strangers in your city, that is. Gloves are also not great because you will end up touching everything and spreading the germs all over the place.
2. Keep a mental list of the people you’ve recently been in contact with.
Specifically, you’ll want to remember who you’ve hung out with over the last two weeks. So that if the worst happens and you get infected, you can warn others to self-isolate. It’s not pleasant but it’s totally the decent thing to do. Real friends will appreciate that you’re keeping them in the know. Think of it as your own track-and-trace.
3. Don’t stand in a cloud of vape.
The mist that vapers exhale is finer than droplets and it can even penetrate cotton masks. In addition, it’s not nice having that stuff right in your face anyway. Stand to the side and stay safe. If you vape yourself, it’s a good idea to use a device that doesn’t make you exhale massive clouds of smoke in public spaces. Even if it looks kind of cool.
4. Be selective about where you go and who you see.
There are always risks and no one can avoid them 100%. But you can choose which risks you take. When you think about going to a restaurant, shop, bar, for a beauty treatment or a massage (or on a date!), be choosy. If it’s something that will enhance your life and make you feel better, go for it. If you’re just going through the motions, leave it. For example, I don’t think grabbing a sandwich at Pret is worth the risk but gym makes me genuinely happy. Find what’s important to you.
5. Get your vitamin D.
Vitamin D is important for our immune system (read: fighting the virus) and almost all of us in the northern hemisphere are deficient. Did you know that we are supposed to supplement it from autumn to spring, every year? No, I didn’t either, because it’s buried somewhere in the NHS guidelines on nutrition. Right now you can get enough vitamin D from hanging out in the sun, but it’s important to supplement from September on.
6. Use your own head.
The government has to balance the conflicting priorities of encouraging spending to stimulate the economy and preventing the spread of the corona virus. It’s worth to see what they have to say, but ultimately, it’s you who makes decisions regarding your health and well being. Use your judgement and let others use theirs. Some things are clearly ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ at this time, but there is also a lot of grey area. Don’t bully your friend for going out for a pint but don’t feel like you absolutely have to ‘eat out to help out’, either. Your life, your choice.
7. Don’t assume that places you know and love will be the same.
It’s a brave new world! For example, if you’re going back to the gym, a lot of things might be different. Less equipment might be available and you might need to book to get in. Changing rooms might not be available. Some equipment, if it’s hard to clean, might be locked away. If in doubt, call ahead to be sure.
8. Don’t panic.
At the moment there’s no evidence of people picking up infections from groceries or money, and the chance of getting infected by a passer-by is relatively low. So there’s really no need to wash your vegetables in soapy water or to barricade yourself indoors. And if you go out just to see that the world is crazy and people are not following the rules? Breath in, breath out, honey. You can’t control all that. Focus on the things you can control.
9. Handle your mask right.
Hold onto the elastic bands when taking it off (don’t touch the front) and drop it straight in the washing machine. Wash it at normal temperature along with your other laundry. That’s it, done. Now you can wear it again when going to a shop and your cashier will feel a little safer. It really is not that big a deal.
10. Supermarket delivery is back.
If you used to order your groceries, now you can do that again. Sheltered status is being lifted from August, so there will be fewer vulnerable people in need of delivery slots. So if you’re tired from lugging all that heavy stuff around – be it tins of tomatoes or bags of cat litter – just put an online order in.
You’ve got this
This is not the end. Plenty of rough patches to skid over before we’re out of the woods. But hey, at least now we can see our friends, go on a date and even get our hair cut (hair before the date, preferably). There’s a fine balance where you’re careful but not panicky, and relaxed but not careless. You’ll find it. This is the new normal and humans are some of the best adapting organisms on Earth. We’ll work it out.