Olivia Namutebi is a member of the Women for Refugee Women drama group. She has written this poem to share what has helped her to stay strong during the lockdown. She says, “I hope that my poem will encourage someone else and give them strength during this challenging time.”


Fear Panic Anxiety

The first three weeks of lockdown

Overwhelmed with fear, panic and anxiety

I didn’t know how I would cope.

This is how I’ve managed to help myself,

I felt very alone, I knew I had to manage to help myself.


I read recently that anything is possible if you put your mind to it

Those words have kept me driving myself forward.

I had to acknowledge all my feelings

And remember that actually I’m NOT alone:

Everyone is in lockdown

But this will end, this will end.


A positive attitude is everything

I am learning to appreciate the things I was taking for granted

Life, the support network around me, my children, a hot meal, a bed to sleep in, I can take a shower or a bath, I can do my laundry…

Perhaps someone else doesn’t even have that.

Think of the things that bring you joy

That help you live.


I disconnected myself from social media and all the bad news

Switch off the TV

Switch off your phone

Switch off all the breaking news

A quick check once a day is enough

Escape the endless repetitive news

Disconnect from the media and take time to talk so someone

Take your brain away from the screens

Talk safely to those near you, those around you,

Take time to hear their voices.


I’ve remembered to move my body

A simple workout, yoga, a dance

Twenty minutes of moving my body

Simple movements

Move your body in a way that works for you.

Stretching my arms over my head

Turning and stretching my neck

Coming back to centre

Coming back to feel the pleasure in my body

Hold your hips and swing them in circles

Turning my ankles and stretching my feet

It makes me happy, I’m laughing when I think of it!


Take a walk to slow the pressure of life

Safely walk far from strangers

Walking through the sunny park

Listening to the birds singing

Just watching them fly

Watching the birds having fun against the blue sky

The greenery blossoming in the sunshine

Yellow, white, pink flowers by my feet

New green leaves appearing each day

It uplifts my spirit!


Do nothing.  Sit and listen to the sounds of life.

Cars. The wind in the trees.

I take time to listen to the sounds of the world as it turns.

It calms me.


Be creative, write, I let my mind wander,

Remembering something I’ve read

Reading something new

My books and newspapers give me ideas

I record my new ideas

Building my collage of ideas that keeps my mind active and learning.

Do what you like: do it!  Cleaning, cooking, a massage, perfect your make up, do some painting.

Do the things that make you feel good.

A little head rub to make you smile.


Get enough sleep.  Eat well if you can.  Eat healthy food to keep strong.

It’s new to me feeling like this, so alone and isolated,

But I realise for some people this is always their life.

Those people inspire me.

For me it’s temporary, so I need to be optimistic, to keep my hope strong.


When we meet again

We’ll be so full of ideas but also mindful, careful,

Making sure we look after each other and keep safe.

Safe together again for the future.

Everything has shut down, it will open again.

As the world carries on turning we’ll have another chance,

A different way of looking at the whole world.

Hope, optimism, love

In the time after lockdown

Hope, optimism, love

That’s how we will cope…