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Coronavirus: The advice you would give your pre-lockdown self

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With the benefit of hindsight, it’s easy to think of things we wish we’d done before coronavirus uprooted our lives.

We asked you if you could go back to the beginning of 2020 what your pre-lockdown advice for yourself would be. This is what you told us – and you can add your own responses on social media using the hashtag #MyLockdownAdvice

Hug mum. Hug mum. Hug mum. And savour mum’s pancakes… you won’t get them for a while – Liam Black, 33

Never take going to see your dad in a care home for granted. I’d do anything to be able to give him a hug right nowKim Wilson, 48

To treasure life, and hugs, a lot more. To give my nana the biggest hug and kiss before saying goodbye forever, and to eat whatever I want! Megan, 26

You have one week until your aunt will die and six weeks until your father will die. Take the kids and see him from a distance daily Sarah Brooks, 42

Be around loved-ones

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Vicki Thatcher

Spend as much time with loved-ones as you can and hug them extra tight. I lost my dad to Covid-19 two days into lockdown. I miss him.

My dad was 87 but he wasn’t just a normal 87 year old. The last time I saw him, we did a seven mile walk together. It was two weeks before he died.

It was so muddy – the type of mud that really sticks to your boots. When we got to the pub my dad said he was really pleased to be getting a gin and tonic down him.

He was a keen cellist and was playing in a very high-level orchestra, also just a couple of weeks before he died. He was pretty immense and pretty amazing.

Sometimes it just doesn’t even feel real because it’s a weird situation and you’re not doing your normal things, so you’re not missing him in the ways you normally would.

One of his dying wishes was not to put anyone else at risk. He asked us to do a closed ceremony, so we just had a glass of champagne in the house.

Vicki Thatcher, 34

Don’t move out of home. If I had realised I wouldn’t be able to go and visit my parents I wouldn’t have moved out Brandon Fleet, 18

Buy toilet paper, visit your grandparents in early March, make sure to be where your partner is when the lockdown startsFelix Stamm, 24

Show my parents how to use Zoom

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Pat O’Connor

I would teach my 87-year-old dad and 84-year-old mum how to use Zoom and buy them an iPad.

My husband has gone to great lengths to try to make Zoom accessible. After many hours on the phone, he did actually eventually manage to connect my dad to some of his friends so he can speak to them on Tuesdays. But we have a family quiz every Saturday and they haven’t been able to get onto that. It makes them feel isolated when they can’t join in.

We’ve spent hours and hours and hours of time trying to explain “press this”, “press that” and they’ve tried really hard.

If we didn’t live near them it would just be horrendous.

Pat O’Connor, 58

Say yes. When friends/family ask to go out, go! Don’t worry about money or always revising, nothing matters more than seeing those you loveMolly Clough, 19

Buy stock in Zoom, don’t start your spring cleaning early, buy extra loo roll and hand sanitiser in January, get a dog – Clair, 34

Buy hand sanitiser. Buy flour. Give away anything I no longer need or want to charity shops to make space for exercise at homeDeborah Young, 69

Buy a new fridge/freezer now! Mine died in the first week of lockdown. It was full and I lost the lotNick, 57

I wouldn’t have cancelled my broadband and TV package. I’ve had no broadband and only free to air TV since FebruaryStuart Dunsmuir, 47

Fix the grey parts

Get your roots done. Get your eyebrows tinted (grey as a badger). Ask my youngest son to come home.

My hair was last done in January. It’s supposed to be an ash brown but the dye has started wearing off – it looks like a road-kill fox. I’ve started putting a headband on which detracts from the grey where my roots are growing out.

I usually go to a local girl to get my eyebrows and my eyelashes tinted. I was meant to go in February or March but I kept putting it off and putting it off. Then lockdown happened.

After all this, I’ve just decided I’m going to go grey disgracefully. I can’t be bothered any more. I will be seeing how soon I can get my eyebrows done though.

Christine Jones, 59

Enrol on a sourdough baking courseKat

I would have eaten out every day knowing that once lockdown came I would get heartily sick of cooking my own meals and washing up afterwardHazel Sampson, 76

Get the notebook ready! You are about to create the greatest cookbook for a lone person! Side note: buy a set of small pans – Emilia, 32

Learn to be a hairdresserLaura Campbell-Young, 50

Buy an ice cream van and get a liquor licence and as a side line, stockpile a garage full of hair clippersFrank, 53

Don’t do dry January. Go to the pub as much as possibleHannah, 23

Steel yourself

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Amy Buckingham

Prep yourself for how lonely this will feel and choose some hobbies that keep your attention for a long time. Perfect a sleep routine now.

I ended up getting one of the shielding letters from the NHS and I was dealing with quite difficult mental health at the time.

I live with my partner but we sleep in different bedrooms because my partner’s a key worker. I don’t see anybody from work, I don’t go out any more and he does all the shopping. Even though I’ve got him with me, you just suddenly feel very lonely all the time and like a massive burden.

I’ve started knitting, which I really enjoy. I tried it quite a few years ago but it didn’t stick, whereas now I’m churning loads out.

Amy Buckingham, 30

Find a partner to self isolate with! Paul Shillito, 39

To spend more money locally! Small businesses are the ones struggling the most and I wish I had supported them better before lockdown!Becca, 22

Don’t try to predict when it will be sunny

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Ngoneh Ndow

Worry less about the weather!

We got married in February with four family members but planned to have our reception on a sunny spring day in April.

We did a registry wedding in February. The unfortunate thing is, it was a fairly bright day so we could have done our reception then.

We were having people coming in from all over the world in April. It would have been a nice day with some drinks outside and we’d booked a suite for the night.

We kept postponing and postponing and eventually decided it couldn’t go ahead this year. Hopefully we’ll be able to do the reception one day in the future.

– Ngoneh Ndow, 32

Take a one-month January holiday in Las Palmas. A week wasn’t long enough in retrospect Chris, 67

I would have given myself the advice to just get outside as much as possible whilst you can and to not stay inside on your computer! George Daldorph, 16

*Additional research by Rozina Sini

Have you done something during lockdown you’d like to confess to? Something you’re a bit embarrassed to admit or maybe shouldn’t have done? Whatever it is let us know, we won’t judge, but we might publish a selection using your name and location – unless you tell us you’d rather remain anonymous.

Please note we will never publish your contact details.

Please ensure you have read our terms & conditions and privacy policy.

Use this form for your confession:

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