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News & Comment COVID-19

Tips for getting through lockdown, from those who lived through World War II

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We’re living through the strangest time right now.

COVID-19 has turned our lives upside down – six weeks into lockdown and it still feels like many of us are still adapting to our new “normal”. We’re at home all the time, can’t go and visit our friends and family, have limited opportunities to go outside, and lots of us can’t get hold of our usual groceries either… when was the last time you saw flour?!

It’s been said that the challenge we’re currently facing is the biggest one since World War II. We know you can’t compare the horrors of the war, food rationing, and air raid shelters to our current daily routine of staying at home and watching Netflix – but there are definitely some parallels in how much our lifestyles as we know them have suddenly changed.

The generation who lived through the war are perhaps the best-equipped people to get through this global pandemic in the most calm and pragmatic way. So we decided to get their advice.

We spoke to an inspirational group of seven people in their 80s and 90s and asked them to share their experience of living through World War II – and how the things they learned back then could help us get through COVID-19.

Their advice covers everything from how to come together with your flatmates, how to “make do and mend”, and how to stay positive and hold onto the hope that better days are ahead of us.

We’ve brought these conversations together and made them into the booklet below. This collection of stories is designed to give help, hope and optimism to young people during the pandemic – as none of us have ever experienced something like this before.

This project follows our recent survey findings, which revealed that 32% of millennials and Gen Z-ers are already turning to elderly relatives for advice during the pandemic. Of this group, 89% have found the stories and words they received to be helpful, and 65% said the conversations have given them a newfound appreciation and understanding of their relative's life.

We really hope you find the stories useful, uplifting and a source of comfort in what is an incredibly challenging and difficult time for us all.

Download the booklet >>


In the meantime: stay safe, stay at home, and stay positive.

Image credit: @anastasiiachepinska.


Although we endeavour to keep our coronavirus (COVID-19) content as accurate and as up to date as possible, the situation is rapidly changing, so please ensure you refer to gov.uk for the latest advice and information.

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