Pandemic life: "optimism and liberty with the sun in my face"

Sussex student Jenny Bathurst has been writing for us about pandemic life since lockdown began back in March last year.

Jenny Bathurst
Jenny Bathurst

The pandemic robbed her of the chance to sit A levels. But she ended up with three As and is now studying journalism at the University of Brighton (Eastbourne campus).

Here is her latest contribution.

"After almost an entire year of every social situation surrendering to the world of Zoom, it would be safe to say that my back is on its way to slowly transforming into the shape of a ‘C’ and I am finding my glasses less and less effective every day. On my busiest days I often find that my movements consist of desk chair, bed, desk chair, bed, dining room chair, bed, desk chair, sofa, and I consider a trip to the freezer for a chocolate biscuit (controversial, I know) my daily exercise.

"In true British fashion, as soon as the first ray of sunshine made its appearance early last week the advice to ‘stay at home’ was brushed under the carpet and every man and his dog put on their summer clothes in anticipation for weather that we wish had been the case for the entirety of lockdown - myself included. It is an indisputable fact that exercise is beneficial for your mental and physical wellbeing, but when the sky was (emphasis on ‘was’ – it’s horrible today) free of clouds and the fields no longer caked in mud, I suddenly didn’t care about anything that had to get done at my desk and only where I could go and who I could walk with outside. Perhaps it is the effect of a challenging lockdown amidst a cold winter, but the optimism and liberty I experienced when walking alongside the river with the sun in my face and music in my headphones was enough to make me forget about the pandemic and continue walking for miles.

"Sports and exercise have never been my best friend, and only now am I beginning to discover what works for me and what makes me want to throw a tantrum within the first five minutes of beginning it. I was one of the millions who attempted intense home workout challenges last year when the coronavirus first shut down our country. Perhaps like many, I began to absolutely loathe the experience. You could often find me growing extremely bitter at the lady on my TV screen who was still grinning with a perfect ponytail and full face of makeup after completing a high intensity workout, whilst I had long ago collapsed on the sofa with a face the shade of a tomato. After hitting that on the head I threw myself into jogging but became so fixated on running extreme distances every day that I knew that it was beginning to become mentally unhealthy despite its physical benefits.

"Achieving a healthy balance in any area of life is often a struggle, but with spring approaching and my body still recovering from a February illness (no, not the coronavirus) I am beginning to find what I need to stay active without pushing myself beyond my limits. It will look different for everyone and of course I have my days where I would much rather stay confined to my bed with a barrel of ice-cream, but the promise of sunshine walks and afternoons in the garden in the coming months is yet another hope spurring me on to the end of this pandemic."