Spain went into lockdown on March 14, just under two weeks before the UK did. As restrictions begin to lift there, two Time Out Spain editors reveal what they've learned from lockdown so far – and what we should know about our weeks to come.
Jan Fleischer, editor of Time Out Barcelona’s and Madrid’s English websites
Here in Barcelona (as well as the whole of Spain) we are in week five of a countrywide lockdown. As part of our lockdown, we are not allowed to go out for daily exercise, so count yourselves lucky in that sense! Many of us, and many of you as well, are doing exercise at home, and if we have no outdoor space where we live, we’ve taken to just leaning out the window for sunshine and fresh air.
One thing that’s been easier than I thought is the actual staying in. As I write this, I have not set foot out of my flat for 16 days. What helps me personally is to avoid chat groups that have more than, say, five people in them, and to avoid thinking about ‘what-if’ scenarios, including paying attention to projections of numbers of cases and deaths and ‘when this will all be over’. I find a lot of friends who go down that road are driving themselves to mental anguish. I’m not usually one to live in the moment, but I’m surprising myself with my ability to do just that.
It’s also been nice to have group phone calls with my siblings, who are both in a time zone nine hours behind me, and whose schedules are usually very different. It’s important we stay connected and empathetic. Look at confinement orders not as something being done to you or your freedoms being taken away, but as something you are actively doing to contribute to the slowing and eventual end of a global pandemic. And try to not be bothered by those noises you suddenly realise loved ones make while eating porridge.
María José Gómez, editor of Time Out Barcelona
Confinement is further proof of the incredible adaptability of human beings to any circumstance. After our initial feelings of disbelief and a strange sense of eeriness when we went out on to the empty streets, it’s all now part of our daily lives. We’ve become used to silence when we open a window on to our usually busy city, and we’ve developed new routines: indoor exercise sessions, telecommuting, applauding at 8pm, family video calls at the weekend.
With this period we have renewed contact (virtual, of course) with friends and relatives we hadn't spoken to for a long time. We have realised that we care about them even more than we thought. We treat our friends, partners, relatives, neighbours with more affection than we used to. We ask them how they're feeling. And we do it from the heart, because we all know someone who has lost a loved one, if we haven’t ourselves.
This lockdown has forced us to reflect, both as individuals and as a society. What do we have and what do we really need, what do we miss, what worries us, how do we want to live when everything goes back to the way it was before... Will we be the same as before? I’m sure we will, and we’ll have some new lessons at our disposal that will help us live better moving forward.