AT the time this is printed, we’ll have just started our second weekend of coronavirus lockdown. Our day-to-day lives have changed in ways I don’t think any of us would have imagined just a few months ago. It’s been a quick, sharp adjustment and I know many of you will be finding it more difficult as time goes on. It is getting harder not being able to enjoy our usual hobbies, not being able to go to the pub or the pictures, and for some – in what is surely the cruellest consequence of this virus – not being able to visit or comfort loved ones in hospital, or attend funerals of people who have passed away.

Cabin fever will be kicking in for many of you, and the temptation to flout the rules, to visit a family member to chat through a window, or to meet a pal and go for a long walk, gets harder to resist. In the same way so many of us studiously pore over graphs about infection rates and death rates trying to figure out how many weeks behind or ahead we are compared to this country or that – I’m two weeks ahead of most people when it comes to lockdown. About four weeks ago, someone I had been in significant contact with developed severe symptoms of Covid-19 and thus I had to enter two weeks of self-isolation. Just as my isolation was about to end, the lockdown happened.

I must confess, I found the first few days incredibly calming. Being able to sit in one place knowing that I can still get in touch with all the people I need to get in touch with. I found myself with more time to speak directly with constituents since I didn’t even need to get out of my jammies if I felt like it.

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It can be incredibly therapeutic having the time to prepare meals, go for exercise whenever you take the fancy, and staying up until 4am with no real consequence if you so desire. There can be arguable perks to this stolen time at home. However, I quickly found myself feeling (and worryingly looking) like Jack Nicolson in The Shining. Cabin fever will undoubtedly begin to creep in for some. This is where it is important to be strict but fair with ourselves. Try to maintain some form of routine; getting dressed, going for a walk, working during working hours.

Try to complete tasks you never had time to, such as fixing that cupboard door. Discover new hobbies, read a book. Don’t spend all day on the internet in an echo chamber reading only the blogs of people you agree with – it isn’t good for the soul.

Equally, don’t be hard on yourself if this feels difficult. The world feels incredibly odd just now. We know there is a global pandemic taking place which is bringing in measures most of us never imagined.

The Scottish Event Campus is being transformed into a medical unit so that our health professionals are able to cope with the growing demand. We can only imagine the chaos and anxiety our frontline services are experiencing and yet we are contained in the silence of our own four walls to process all this. It is OK to feel worried or just plain weird.

The National:

I share all this because it’s crucially important that people don’t lose resolve now. I have seen many people try to use the war metaphor to explain why there is no need to worry. Let me add that social distancing, staying home, reducing contact, and hand washing are all by far and away the greatest weapon we have in our arsenal against this virus.

It spreads in droplets when people speak, cough, sneeze, etc. It survives on surfaces where it can then be picked up by anyone who touches that surface. What can seem harmless, such as visiting a friend, can have a chain reaction that ultimately ends with our health service being overwhelmed and life being lost. It simply is not worth it.

If that seems abstract to you, because you are healthy and haven’t been in contact with anyone for weeks, then consider those with underlying health conditions who have been receiving letters advising them to stay in the house for 12 weeks. These people, already living in such difficult circumstances, are now facing three months without even crossing their doorstep.

The healthy among us must focus on how lucky we are that we can go out for a walk each day and go to the shops when we have to.

I know the vast majority of people are already aware of everything I’ve said and have no intention of breaking the law, but it all bears repeating. The very reason the government rolled out the increasing social distancing measures slowly is that every behavioural scientist knows we will become fatigued and more likely to start ignoring the rules.

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We are already seeing worrying trends of people choosing to go for gallivants in their car, or choosing to socialise again because they feel fine, so presume they are of no danger. If everyone considers his or herself an exception to the rule, then the whole thing falls apart.

I can think of no other description for all those essential workers in the NHS and beyond making sure we still have a resemblance of normality other than heroes. From the staff in the shop across the road to the doctors and nurses on the frontline – thank you.

Every Thursday at 8pm people stand on their doorsteps to applaud all the essential workers who are taking the daily risk of continuing to work in order that the rest of us can survive. It is a heartwarming gesture, but it is meaningless without action. They are going to work so we can survive. Stay at home so they can survive, too.

We’re in for a long slog here. Stay at home and save lives.

Scotland is in lockdown. Shops are closing and newspaper sales are falling fast. It’s no exaggeration to say that the future of The National is at stake. Please consider supporting us through this with a digital subscription from just £2 for 2 months by following this link: Thanks – and stay safe.