Our diarists were asked, on week six of the diaries, what one thing would make the current situation easier to manage. 

Health was understandably on the minds of some of our diarists, including “knowing if I’ve already had the virus”, as well as having good health, so there would be “no need to go to hospital during CV19 for investigations and surgeries.”

We also heard from diarists that “being able to shop myself” would make the difference, or “not having to queue”. Having a routine was mentioned, as well as a fairer division of household work. But the most common responses were about clarity from the government, job security, seeing family, and support with care.


Greater clarity from the government and faith in the decisions being taken was one of the most frequently mentioned responses. For example, one diarist told us:

Clarity from the government. It's been really hard - especially at the beginning - to work out what we were and weren't allowed to do, especially with my business.

Another wrote:

Clearer decisions and directions from the government.

For some diarists, the clarity was in relation to a specific point. Those shielding and caring for others have had to endure weeks indoors and/or living separate, parallel lives to those they share a home with. One asked for clear, and realistic, advice for those in shielding households:

For the advice for those living with shielded people to change… It currently says that those living with shielded people don't have to shield, but the shielded person should have a separate bathroom, and should sleep alone. This is maybe ok if you have two bathrooms, and can sleep separately, but it's not ok for me. My GP has said that the safest thing to do is to shield with my partner, and it would help me if the official guidance said the same.

Clarity of message was not all that diarists were asking from the government. They also want faith in the decisions being taken and the plan of action to control the outbreak:

For me it would be faith in the leadership of this country that they are doing everything they can to manage the spread of the virus
More faith in the government; more certainty about the future. I know the latter is impossible really, which makes the first even more important.
The government having a cohesive, realistic plan for easing of lockdown in terms of testing, tracing and isolation those that are sick in a timely manner.
Some stability and guidance from the Government, as at the moment it seems like there's no real structure as the messages are confusing.

Certainty about my job

Income and job security was mentioned by some of our diarists. One diarist wrote about, “not having to worry about lost earnings”. Another mentioned a “guarantee that my job will not disappear.” Several others told us their anxiety about the risk of redundancy:

Knowing what might happen with my job. I fear I'll be made redundant, bus travel has been badly affected by this situation. I trust my boss, but such things may not be wholly within his control.
Certainty about whether my job will still be there after furlough, which has now been extended to end July.


For those caring for others, respite was mentioned – and the possibility of having some time to themselves:

If there were activities that my disabled adult son could participate in, I think it would be better for him and me.
Respite. My son has special needs and we get no respite.
More time - time alone, time to do something for myself, time to rest or just time to do nothing and watch TV.


Support with young children, or schools reopening, were mentioned. For some diarists, childcare would be the one thing that would make the situation easier:

Child care!! Whether that be professional or family members being able to help out for the odd day or two. I'm in my 3rd trimester of pregnancy and have two young children and get fairly exhausted by the relentlessness of looking after them all the time. They are 3 and 2, so still need a lot of care and it’s a physical job which is getting more difficult as I get bigger and sometimes I ache so much by the end of the day!
Safe, familiar, and reliable childcare for when I go into labour (and for short periods prior to and after the birth, to give me a little break and a bit of time to myself).
Some childcare. Some time off looking after children 24/7. Even just to be able to go for a 20 minute walk on my own. Or shopping in the supermarket on my own. To be able to have a bath on my own… To go to the toilet alone etc etc etc anything alone! An uninterrupted cup of tea or coffee alone!

Permission to see my son

Contact with family was mentioned by several respondents – both for their own sake, and because they are worried about family members who they are not able to check on.

For me it would be if I could touch and hug my 92 year old mum and go back to taking her out to lunch once a week.
Permission to go and see my son struggling with his mental health in London who I haven't seen since January. A round trip of 120 miles, not 260!!!
Seeing my granddaughter who is 17 months. I miss her dreadfully.

If I could drive

The easing of the lockdown has favoured those who can drive. Several mentioned that being able to travel more freely would make the difference:

I think it would be good to see more solutions for reducing the lockdown for those who do not own cars… public transport is a terrifying concept, so even if I did decide to move back up North as restrictions ease, I have no way with which I’m comfortable to actively get there.
If i could drive it would be much easier… I could go work on my allotment, go to shops for bigger things my local shops don't have, help others by running errands, drive to visit my family now that we can socialise outside. I'm too wary to use public transport for that.

Last week we asked diarists for their thoughts on how the Government is handling the easing of the lockdown. We’ll be sharing their thoughts on this.