Lockdown easing

I have never exercised more than since we've been in lockdown. Ten weeks ago, my son Bryn, a regular gym user, came to stay. Without the opportunity to take his usual workouts, he persuaded me to join him on a daily cycle ride. To begin with, they were leisurely affairs, providing plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful countryside, take in the spectacular views and breathe the fresh air. However, both being unhealthily competitive, the rides have morphed into an Olympic trial! We start at approximately 7.15am and ride as hard as we can for up to an hour. We record our times on a Fitbit and analyse the data over breakfast. If I don't see progress, I'm not happy! However, that doesn't mean I have to win (that's only possible if Bryn gives me a 30 second head start). If I can burn a few more calories, do a single segment faster, or occasionally beat my record, then I am content.

Lockdown can have some surprising outcomes and, thankfully, not all of them are bad. Recently, I read that more people are volunteering than ever before and many have made a commitment to continue, even when things have improved. Fuel prices have come down and so has pollution. Foodbanks are well stocked, and funds have been replenished. Church attendance is growing and there is a greater sense of community as people applaud key workers and look out for their neighbours .

But sadly, there are plenty of situations that we would love to change. A particular challenge for many is adjusting to long periods of being 'locked in'. Some people hate the sense of confinement whilst others become frightened of going out to the supermarket, bank or petrol station. As the easing of lockdown begins, there will be new problems.

One group of people that may never experience 'lockdown easing' are those who have been trafficked. There are many thousands of people who are locked away in domestic service, prostitution or other forms of modern slavery. They are hidden and exploited, their spirits crushed and their hope extinguished.

Justice and Care* is a charity that has been working for many years to fight all aspects of modern slavery, both here and abroad. They have a campaign running at present to draw attention to the desperate situation these vulnerable people endure. If you get a chance, perhaps you could add your name (and photograph?) to the cause.

I like to imagine that the easing of lockdown could mark the start of creating a new society (not simply discovering the 'new normal'). We have the unique opportunity for a re-boot. Together we can build something better, a society where no one is locked down, whether that be physically, financially, emotionally or spiritually.

Whichever way you are experiencing lockdown, cycling or not, keep safe.



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