Getting out in Lockdown

It has been a difficult time for everyone adjusting to the new ‘distanced’ world. The University has done a huge amount of work to ensure that residents and students are catered for as much as possible. Our lives have become more centred on our homes.

We as staff have also been working from home – much of our day is likely to be spent indoors, in one room at our computers whilst we chat to our residents and help as much we can.

During the last 6 weeks or so I have set a couple of random targets for myself and I have been working towards them. One of targets for this year is to be able to ride 100km in one go on my road bike, so I have been riding a lot more – using Boris’ ‘one-a-day’ as a bit of a challenge. Another random target is to listen to all of my iTunes music, by artist A-Z, whilst I work (I used to collect CDs but it has been rendered pointless since Spotify). I am going steady and are currently at ‘Br’ – I have a lot to get through. I like working towards random targets (they don’t always have to be defined by someone else or towards a professional goal) – as they are set by me, it means that I have an immediate investment and I know that I am likely to work towards completion. They do have to be a challenge though!

In terms of how else we are coping with life in lockdown; at the moment the big excitement is the fortnightly big shop at Morrisons. Additionally, we have got into a pattern of using Zoom and FaceTime to speak to family and friends and completing some quizzes. On a weekend, takeaways and some evening walks where we walk the road in a strange Pac-Man game trying to avoid others doing the same.

Having to spend so much time IN the house has made me value any time OUT of the house. I really value the time that I can spend walking/running or cycling (although I tend to avoid running!). We all know the benefits of an active lifestyle for physical AND mental health. The benefits of spending that time in a green and ‘leafy’ environment are also well publicised – it can improve your mood, reduce stress and help you feel more relaxed. Now more than ever, I think I need it; perhaps you do too.

As I said, Boris’ ‘one-a-day’ seems like a quota to me and an opportunity to get out. I often think about whether our residents get enough time out of their accommodation exploring other areas of the city; Leeds is a great place to get out and about and has ample green spaces to take advantage. It isn’t a surprise that when lockdown was announced, the government had to step in when people started heading for our national parks!

I wanted to write this blog post to encourage any students, wherever you are, to get out and about and especially to seek out some green space in the city to be able to get a break from your accommodation and potentially see other people, despite not being able to interact with them. Below are some suggestions (search for them on Google maps and then set yourself a random target):

  • Woodhouse Flats, Marsden House & Arena Village – get down to the Leeds – Liverpool Canal and walk west (you only have two choices of direction!). You’ll see the industrial heritage of some of central Leeds changing into the green corridor towards Kirkstall and the Abbey.
  • Marsden House, Arena Village, Woodhouse Flats and Sugarwell Court could also visit the criss-cross pathways of Woodhouse Moor. It’s just a 5-minute walk from Woodhouse!
  • If you’re at Sugarwell Court or Carnegie Village you could find the green space of Meanwood Park and Meanwood Valley Trail.
  • Kirkstall Brewery – you’ve got a head start on Marsden or Arena and can reach further out of the city along the Leeds – Liverpool Canal – you might even be able to reach Rodley. Or you could explore Kirkstall Abbey and surrounding areas. (Potentially a walk around Beckett Park).

Of course, if you are more of an urban explorer, what about some other arbitrary goal – decide on somewhere else in the city that you haven’t been before and walk/run/cycle there – sure you might not be able to stop for something to eat or drink but it’ll be a change and something different for you to do. What about going to see the house you have secured for 2020-21 or a place you have seen when passing on the bus? Whatever it is, just get out. Of course, you need to stick the those government guidelines for exercise – only do it alone or with someone from your household (flat).

As for my arbitrary goal? I’ll get back to listening to my iTunes – as I said, I’m on ‘Br’. This stands for Bruce Springsteen. My father-in-law is a big fan, he took us to see ‘The Boss’ in Coventry a few years ago and then I borrowed all the albums on CD and put them on my computer. I now have about 16 Bruce Springsteen albums to listen to – like I said, most targets worth working towards have to be a challenge …. wish me luck!

More from the blog

All blogs