Ultimate Guide to Easing Lockdown

Cycling. Face masks. Managing expectations.

We know it’s gradual but there are some key adjustments we’re all starting to make in our day-to-day lives. We take you through each step, from the comedic hairdresser trips to the crucial task of managing expectations. By the TMIK Team.

1. Managing expectations is vital

On Sunday 10th May, the country experienced a collective anxiety waiting for Boris Johnson’s announcement. Rumours were swirling for three days prior, and WhatsApp groups were inundated with ‘what ifs’.

Of course when the speech aired, our predictions fell flat. There would be no significant changes to the lockdown, just a few minor adjustments. This was a vital lesson in managing our expectations. The PM has repeatedly said we may never find a vaccine.

We think the best thing we can do is read the guidelines, be positive about the good bits, but maintain awareness that we are in this for the long haul. It’s an unknown situation for all of us, and being realistic about our hopes and predictions, will help us keep more level-headed.

Okay. We’ve got that bit out of the way. Now for the essential and trivial tips that you simply must send to your friends.

2. Cycling

We’ve been advised to stay clear of public transport if possible. Enter: the year of cycling. This green mode of transport might be second nature to some, and a scary unknown for others, but we’ve got some great advice to help you either way.

a) Buying a bike

If you are employed, your first port of call should be the bike to work scheme. This is a tax free purchase (woo hoo!) and you can pay in more affordable monthly instalments.

You may find that the big bicycle retailers (Halfords, Evans) are low on stock right now. Keep checking their sites, but also look at other retailers. We recommend Bikester, CyclesUK, Cycle Republic and Rutland Cycles. Of course, local bike shops may also be an option.

When you spend money on a bike, it’s a good idea to invest in a decent lock too. The brand kryptonite is very well-rated for safety, though ScrewFix do a £10 D-lock if you’re on a budget.

b) Safety

Got a bike? Great. The world’s your oyster. But you must legally have certain safety measures in place. A helmet is a must, as are reflectors, and bike lights (when it’s dark). It’s a good idea to read the bicycle highway code. It’s not too long, don’t worry.

c) Share or borrow from a friend

Struggling to get your hands on a bike or just don’t have cash to part with right now? Borrow from a friend, or go halves on one. The chances are you won’t need a bike everyday for a long time; many workplaces are planning a rota-approach for returning to work, so sharing a bike could be viable. Better still, find a real bargain on Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace.

3. Mask chic

We’ve been advised to wear a face-covering in places where social distancing is not possible – like public transport and shops. But fear not, not only are these new accessories easy to track down, they can also be fun to make, and a new opportunity for self-expression.

If sewing is not your thing, we recommend buying a face mask from Etsy. Look for UK-based sellers (it’s better for your carbon footprint, and the goods will arrive sooner, too). We like this camo-print mask, this chic black one, and these bandana style ones too. Very Bonnie and Clyde.

Up for making your own?

This simple guide will help you along the way. If you learn better from a video, watch this. We’d love to see the colours and prints you’re using! Send us all your photos.

4. Dealing with unemployment, or fear of

Don’t worry – we are covering this topic in detail next week. We’ll be covering the mental wellbeing aspect, talking to a life coach and HR specialist. We’ll make it crystal clear what your rights are. We’ll discuss what it means to have an involuntary “career hiatus” at this time. And don’t worry, the Bank of England thinks the economy is going to bounce back.

5. HAIR.

In lockdown, people have been taking hair matters into their own hands. The results are great… from the front, anyway. But as we slowly leave lockdown, the bald patch on the back of your head that was acceptable when the only person you saw was your cat might feel a bit conspicuous. So here are our top tips for hiding your haircut horror show…

💇 Go big on accessories – if pieces framing the front of your face are uneven, twist and pin them back. If your bangs now look like baby hairs, throw on a headband to cover them up.

💇 You’ve got time to play with, so buy a couple of hair tools such as cheap straighteners or curlers and see what the results are. At this point it’s all about trial and error.

💇 Tie it up. If it’s long enough, this is a sure fire way to make sure no one notices the fact that one side is drastically longer than the other.

💇 Invest in good shampoo and conditioner. It’s a pick me up that can make a big difference. Take time to shop around – a brilliant shampoo for masses of curly or afro hair (like Creme of Nature Argan Oil Moisture and Shine Sulphate Free Hair Shampoo) won’t work for thin, dry hair (SISLEY Paris Revitalizing Volumizing Shampoo).

💇 Try this online tutorial for how to braid your hair.

6. Summer holidays

Ok, so a lavish international holiday this summer is looking “unlikely”, as Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said. But, the EU commission suggested that a way around it was to create “travel bubbles”, meaning that travel would be possible between countries with similar infection rates. Where does that leave us then, I hear you asking?

Well, worry not. There are a few options to save your summer holiday this year.

🇫🇷 Visit France: The UK has imposed a 14-day quarantine for international arrivals apart from France and Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. It is expected that French President Macron will make a similar announcement within the next few weeks. But bear in mind that the tourism sector in France is due to open only in mid-July. Also it could be a faff to get there given that many airlines are still not operating. Your best bet is the Eurostar train which is still running, just not offering any refreshments. But prices are way cheaper than usual – just don’t forget that you must wear a face mask on board.

🇬🇧 Stay in the UK: What?! Are you serious? Yes, but it can be fun!

a. Go camping: the best way to keep social distance while enjoying nature. Pitchup website is a good place to start exploring the ideal campsite to stay at. From fancy facilities with swimming pools and tennis courts to romantic caravans by a lake, there are plenty of options to choose from!

b. Rent an isolated chalet in the countryside: an upgrade from camping, just make sure you can get there by car or train, because coaches are still not operating in the UK. Check out Skyes Holiday Cottages, they will offer refunds should you need to change your booking due to government’s advice.

b. Rent an isolated chalet in the countryside: an upgrade from camping, just make sure you can get there by car or train, because coaches are still not operating in the UK. Check out Skyes Holiday Cottages, they will offer refunds should you need to change your booking due to government’s advice.

c. Hire a caravan or campervan: a great option if you like driving and want to explore the country at your own pace. No need to worry about finding a place to stay and you can cook your own meals! Camplify website has thousands of vehicles you can hire depending where you live.

d.Swap houses with your friends: If all goes well, hospitality will start reopening on the 4th of July, although destinations such as Cumbria, Wales and Scotland already said they are not that keen on receiving thousands of visitors, so swapping houses with your mates might be a good way around it. It’s definitely easier if you live on your own than with flatmates, we get it, but it could be fun to swap houses for a week or so, especially if they live in a different city from yours! If you don’t mind swapping with strangers then websites like Love Home Swap or Home Exchange are good places to start.

⚠️ There is still a lot of uncertainty regarding summer holidays, so whichever your option is, our best advice is for you to book your holiday with a company that offers flexible booking options!

7. Remembering how to dress your bottom half again

Have you enjoyed the blessed new experience of sitting on a zoom call wearing a beautiful Peter Pan collared blouse, with your faithful pyjama bottoms hidden off screen? Us too. A little too much really. But as we venture out a little more, and look towards…actually…seeing people….we might want to reconsider.

Dressing the bottom half is a wonderful task, though.

We’ve got mini skirts, midi skirts, jeans, cigarette trousers, bermuda shorts, cycling shorts, SKORTS, paperbag trousers, yoga pants, culottes…. We could go on. It’s time to embrace our options and have fun with it again. We’d love to see your hotly anticipated outfits.

8. Alternative sports to try

Unlimited outdoor exercise means you can now ramble or run or do a spot of outdoor yoga without worrying about time. You can also play some sports – though only with your household and/or one person outside your household who you must maintain a 2 metre distance from.

Although that rules out team sports like football and rugby, there are plenty others you can play including golf, tennis and basketball. Depending on where you are based (and now we’re allowed to drive to places to take exercise) you could even try wild swimming or head to the coast for surfing!

9. Think before you ‘gram

Remember some people will still be in full lockdown and essentially need to shield until there is a vaccine. This is a time to be cautious with social media and humble brags. Another thing to note: some people have fewer friends and family racing to see them. Is there someone you can plan a walk with? Who might need the company? Now is the time for care, kindness and warmth.

10. Keep your good habits

All this time cooped up indoors forced us all to recalibrate and adjust our daily rhythms. And while it may have felt frustrating, it’s also been a unique opportunity to try new things.

Think about the new habits you might want to hold onto even as lockdown lifts. Could you keep up that 20 mins of morning yoga? Taking a stroll just for the pleasure? Baking your own bread or practising a new language? Tucking into a good book on the sofa? Playing board games? How about calling family and friends more?

Or simply making time to do very little, as John Lennon is quoted as once saying: “Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”