Looking forward to going on some terrible dates...

February 2021

A young person's perspective on life in the pandemic

This time last year, I thought everyone was making a big fuss over a cold. “You’ll be telling your kids about this,” my mum said, which I naturally shrugged off and told her not to be so paranoid. It’ll be old news in a month. Now, for once, mum wishes she wasn’t right.

I always imagined my early twenties to be the best years of my life. Meeting new people all the time, self-discovery, globe-trotting, learning new things, perhaps meeting the love of my life? Somehow, sitting in my bedroom doom-scrolling and eating breadsticks, eagerly waiting for the government to make a new announcement was not on that list.

I’m lucky enough to have a job, unlike so many young people. According to the House of Commons Library Youth Unemployment Statistics, as of December 2020, 515,900 people aged 18-24 were claiming unemployment related benefits - a 281,000 increase since March 2020. Other than the obvious gain of an income, a job provides structure, stability and some sense of social interaction, even if that’s over a video call. But for many young people, who may have lost their jobs or been put on furlough, those positives a job provides have been difficult to replicate. Notably the lack of structure, the ‘Groundhog Day’ effect. I have found that simple things, such as, changing up my daily walking route and mixing up what I eat every day can help it feel less repetitive.

Trying to keep yourself happy and healthy is probably the tallest task of the pandemic

It’s easy to fall into a low mood when the future feels so unsure. I know, I’ve fallen. And pulled myself out. And fallen back in again. And out. Trying to keep yourself happy and healthy is probably the tallest task of the pandemic.

But really (and I mean really) if you’re a young person who feels isolated and lost right now, you are not the only one. It can be difficult to remind yourself that’s the case, especially with the never-ending flow of social media posts at our fingertips 24/7. That’s why it’s so important to take a break from technology every day (and no, that’s not just to go to sleep!). The idea of letting your mind wander might seem daunting, but it’s crucial for gathering - and perhaps eventually vocalising - our thoughts. Try going for a walk without checking your phone, I dare you!

The looming presence of a ‘new normal’ has comfortably set up shop. But as distant as it seems right now, we won’t be locked down forever. Those things I thought I’d be doing in my twenties aren’t lost indefinitely, just postponed. The economy will recover and the job market will return. You will meet some amazing people; you will go on some terrible dates. You will dance and cheer in a crowd again.

-Imo Ettridge
If you feel affected by any issues raised in this blog post, or feel like you may need support, please reach out to us. Our young people's service (16-25) provides free access to dedicated youth workers. Due to the current restrictions, we have adapted to continue supporting people by using a mixture of phone and video calls, online groups and more.