Why we must use lessons learned in lockdown to aid our recovery - Laura Collins, YEP Editor

It really has been a year like no other.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 6:00 am
It really has been a year like no other.

Tomorrow will mark 365 days since the country was first plunged into a national lockdown following a stark address to the nation from the Prime Minister.

Nobody could have predicted that the long-term implications would still be felt today almost a year on, as we continue to live our lives under tough restrictions.

Here we are in a third national lockdown after parts of West Yorkshire have faced months of tight measures under the tough tier system imposed by the Government.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

It was only this weekend that a senior West Yorkshire leader warned that the pandemic was not yet over for the county as coronavirus rates remain among the highest in the country.

But sadly it has come all too late for so many grief-stricken families who have lost their loved ones to the grips of the virus.

More than 126,000 people have lost their lives and the sombre reality remains that the figure is still continuing to rise.

I’ll be blunt: I’ve struggled, I’ve shed tears and I’ve felt afraid at times.

I miss the touch of a simple hug from my mum when I just needed reassurance that everything will be alright through some of the toughest parts of last year. I desperately miss going to the gym to throw down some weights to relieve the daily stress of life in general.

I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve felt incredibly anxious when venturing out to the shop at the height of the pandemic and found myself shaking my head as the shelves were wiped clean of something as basic as toilet roll.

Our city’s streets fell eerily silent as businesses pulled down the shutters and our transport networks were left deserted as people were told to work from home where possible.

And during our darkest of moments, we saw our city pull together in a way like never before to support those who needed the help the most.

Looking back it really dawns on you just how tough the last 12 months have been on each of us as we had to change and adapt our lives.

We’re now waiting with baited breath in the hope that this will be the last time we are in a national lockdown as the Government continues to look at the roadmap to safely release us from these measures.

But this time we have something different on our side. We have a sense of hope and optimism that we’ve not had before in the form of the vaccine. Half of all UK adults have now received their first dose of the jab, while more than two million adults have had their second dose too.

And it’s this hopefulness that I’m going to continue to channel over the coming weeks.

The past year has shown each of us just how resilient we are in the face of adversity to adapt to the changes we have faced.

We are stronger, more self-reflective and compassionate to one another as we continue to pull together in the fight against Covid.

And we can all hope that these lessons will remain with us as we start to rebuild on our long road to recovery.