No Duck Was Harmed in the Retrieval of the Twig

May 1 2020 Laura Murphy 5th Year

Living in a state of lockdown is something we never expected to endure. Despite having its challenges, establishing a new routine and setting daily personal tasks can prevent the day becoming consumed solely with school work.

By changing up your exercise routine, variation can be incorporated into the repetitive lockdown lifestyle. Personally, I generally do not have the opportunity to exercise before school as I have a time-consuming commute. Lately, however, I have been utilizing the time I would have otherwise spent in the bus or car, out on a run. I view exercise as not only a way to improve my physical health, but also my wellbeing. The endorphins and hormones released during exercise certainly boost my mood and prevent me from getting into an unmotivated rut during this prolonged time in isolation.

Alongside receiving daily exercise, I make an effort to hit my daily step count, get some fresh air and vitamin D from the sun every day. Usually in the afternoons, I take a study break by going on an ‘adventure’ with my dog, whilst staying within 2 km of my house. On some days, I take her to the river to go swimming, or we go exploring in fields and forests near my house, where I can leave her off the lead. Podcasts are great to listen to during this time. It is typically a really nice way of spending the afternoon, with the exception of one particular day. On this occasion, instead of jumping into the river she dashed in the opposite direction, and launched into the pond, sending the ducks into a frenzy. Nearby walkers thought it was hilarious, but I can assure you the ducks were not impressed. She had seen a twig land on the water and in pure retriever mood, she went to retrieve it. I pretended to not know whose dog that was, but it was made obvious when she ran over to me with that stupid twig to throw again.

P.S. Thankfully no duck was harmed in the retrieval of the twig!

Monitoring my screen time is something I have become very conscious of lately. My phone is my best and worst enemy! It’s amazing for communicating and connecting with people, but it can also hijack the day and take you down the anti-productivity motorway. Although very much of my school work is done electronically, I put pen to paper as much as possible. If I need a break, going for a walk around the block or doing some stretching in the garden are great alternatives to looking at another screen.

Doing something creative is also a great outlet to combat the almost inevitable boredom we are all facing. For me that meant releasing my inner Picasso and splashing some colour onto my bedroom walls (after eventually receiving parental consent). Unfortunately, I ran out of paint and must wait until lockdown is lifted to complete my ‘mural’, but here is what I have accomplished so far.

Last but certainly not least, in the evenings I turn my phone back on and I FaceTime and message my friends to compensate for the distance. Today I wrote letters to my grandparents who are cocooning and to my friend who will be celebrating her 18th birthday in lockdown.

It can be difficult to maintain a positive mindset during lockdown, but by sticking to a routine, keeping busy and connecting with friends we can help make this time more enjoyable. Remember that these short term sacrifices will have a profound impact on the preservation of life during this global health emergency, and we must all play our part in keeping each other safe.