After a few sweet months of restrictions easing, countries and cities all over the world are starting to head back into another lockdown. But there’s a difference: unlike the first time, this one likely won’t be coming as a surprise. If your city is set to follow in the footsteps of France and the UK and introduce strict new stay-at-home measures, then you’ll want to make sure you’re ready to ride it out.
So take a tip from Cass Knowlton, editor-in-chief of Time Out Australia. As a resident of Melbourne, she’s already gone through two lockdowns, the second even longer than the first. Here’s her hard-earned advice on what to do before that second lockdown hits, so as to make it that tiny bit easier. Note: buying six packs of toilet paper and a year’s supply of pasta does not feature on the list.
1. See your friends. Don’t put it off because it’s raining or it’s cold or you CBF. Keep your plans like they’re the last plans on Earth – because they might well be.
2. Get your hair cut shorter than you normally wear it. You don’t know how long it’s going to be until your next cut.
3. Go for a walk in a national park (here are the best in the UK and USA) or somewhere you can appreciate natural beauty. Even if it’s raining and you’d rather watch Netflix – there’ll be lots of time for that later.
4. Foster a cat or dog. Shelters might close, and you’ll appreciate having a furry friend around to keep you company. (And yes, we mean foster, not buy or adopt. If you did not have time for a dog in the Beforetime, you will not have time for one in the Aftertime.)
5. Cancel your monthly or yearly public transit card. It hurts watching those days tick away, unused.
6. Visit your favourite restaurant or bar, several times. You’ll want to really get the most out of it. (And remember: solo dining is surprisingly awesome.)
7. That goes double for faves that are across town. Some cities have been imposing 5km restrictions – and that turns out to be quite a small area.
8. If there’s a shop that sells a particular thing you like, stock up on it – especially if they don’t deliver. Maybe it’s a speciality tea shop that sells a blend you like, or a particular kind of insulated socks. For me, it was 2kg of Peanut Butter M&Ms at the American speciality junk food shop.
9. Get a pedicure, or your feet will be gross all lockdown.
10. If you colour your hair, get an ombre colour put into it. That way, when your roots grow out you won’t feel like a skunk.
11. Attend to maintenance on your house or flat. An occasionally dripping tap becomes a constantly dripping tap becomes a major annoyance if you can’t have traders in your place.
12. Spend time doing something you really love. If you love the cinema, see a double bill – make a day of it. If it’s theatre and they’re open, go see something, even if it’s not something that would normally be your first choice. Take a spin through an art gallery. Get some culture. (For a head start, here’s what’s going on in London this week.)
13. If you can, see your co-workers IRL. You’ll be talking to them more than anyone else bar your housemates and pets, and it’s a good idea to build up some social capital and trust in each other – sort of like charging the batteries on all your devices before you head out on a trek.
14. If there are grocery delivery services or farmers’ market boxes in your area, sign up to one. The main grocery delivery service in Melbourne closed its books to new customers during the first week of our second lockdown because demand was so high. (Here are the best ways to get your groceries delivered in London.)
15. Get some home exercise equipment. But only if you’re the kind of person who’ll actually use it.
16. Also buy a foam roller, Shakti mat or other massage-type device. You are going to get sore sitting at your desk without being able to go anywhere.
17. Speaking of: if you can, get one last massage. The blissed-out feeling won’t last all lockdown, but you’ll feel better if you start loose and limber. (Here are the best massages in London.)
18. Go to the dentist and get your teeth cleaned. If dentists close, as they did here, you won’t be able to go again for a long time.
19. Same goes for all non-essential medical appointments. Do you need a vaccination, bloodwork done, a yearly check-up? Do it while you still can. And make sure you attend to your pets – get them up to date with their jabs, as vets might close for all but emergencies.
20. If your pet eats fancy (i.e. non-supermarket) food, find out where to buy it online or stock up.
21. Get whatever you need to have a comfortable living space. If you’ve been thinking about a new TV, a robot vacuum cleaner or a more comfortable couch, get them. You’re about to spend an indefinite amount of time at home – you should be as comfortable as you can.
22. Buy a Zoom subscription (or another video chat app), and consider setting up a standing video date with friends or family overseas. I have a regular slot to play games with my parents. I won’t be able to see them at Christmas, but now it feels like we’re in the same room every week.
Good luck, and remember: even if that tunnel keeps stretching longer and longer, there’s still a light at the other end.