COVID-19 Social History Project - The Coronavirus Diaries

By Suzette Llewellyn-McKenzie

We are living in unprecedented times and I thought it would be a good idea to mark this bizarre chapter in our lives by putting together a collection of insights and opinions from a range of people.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced people across the globe into an unnatural way of life, where social contact is minimal, mental health is tested and people are dying before their time.

The idea behind this project was to mark a period in history through video, sound and written word. I got a fantastic response to the video with submissions from people in Scotland, England and as far afield as the United States of America.

For me personally I thought it would be fascinating to listen to the experiences of others to a crisis which continues to affect people across the planet.

I wanted to reach out and ask people what did the enforced lockdown mean to them, to their businesses, to their families and what adjustments they had to make to meet the new challenges presented to us all.

On a personal level I felt the lockdown had some very positive aspects, such as meeting up regularly with my neighbours during the Clap for Carers/NHS every Thursday at 8pm. It’s something our street has continued even after the official clapping ritual came to an end.

One thing that was clear through the peak of the pandemic was no matter how old we were or how healthy we were, we all felt and actually continue to feel a sense of vulnerability.

During my research the common theme was an awareness of nature and the natural world around us. Some people told me they didn’t sleep well, some found the silence wearing and others enjoyed the peace and tranquillity brought on by a world which had effectively stopped.

During this time I also made great contacts with small businesses across the UK. It also made me more aware of the importance of sustainable living and how we can reduce the damage we have done to our incredible planet.

As a writer I spend a lot of time in my own little world, so the lockdown affected me less than others. In fact during lockdown I attended a host of webinars in an attempt to gain new skills and experience.

Will this pandemic make us more tolerant as a race? Will it make us more appreciative of the world around us? Only time will tell, but I firmly believe that the normal we once knew has gone and we will all have to start thinking about how we can live differently and more responsibly in the future.

The lockdown has also highlighted the importance of looking out for our fellow man, particularly those who are vulnerable and/or isolated from mainstream society, for whatever reason. I don’t like to think of anyone being lonely and if this pandemic has taught us anything it is that we should be more empathetic and care more for one another.

I for one am a lot more aware of the importance of self-care and ensuring we take the time to look after our mental health, whether that be through meditation or simply stopping for a short time, unplugging and focusing on the breath.

I hope you like this video and it gives an insight into how life in lockdown has been for a cross section of people. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to take part in the video.

If you would like to comment about your experience during lockdown please feel free to leave comments at the end of this post or get in touch via the social buttons at the bottom of this page.

Peace, health and positivity

Suzette Llewellyn-McKenzie

A short section of the video, specifically the scene with Isle of Skye Candles features an excerpt from “Heroes” by Tidelines (2020) Tide Lines Music.(c) All Rights Reserved