Living through the coronavirus pandemic has been strange and unsettling for every single one of us. Our lives became unrecognisable overnight, as lockdown brought restrictions to a level we had never seen before. Being confined to our homes has been challenging, but for some of us, in amongst the fear and uncertainty, there have been moments and experiences that we will treasure.
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For many of us before lockdown, our time was the greatest restriction and the pace of life could be difficult to juggle. But after having time at home with our families and adjusting to living through a global crisis, even with restrictions now easing ‘normality’ still feels a long way off. But, do we have a chance to learn from our lockdown experience? To alter our behaviour for the better. From finding new hobbies, to saving money, here are a few of the unexpected positives to come from lockdown, that we should try to carry on as and when we return to some form of normality.
Maintaining sense of community
During the lockdown, it was hard to miss the revived sense of community. From seeing our neighbours on the street during the clap for carers on a Thursday evening, to checking in on elderly people throughout the week – many of us have connected with people who we wouldn’t necessary have spoken to before, and established new and stronger roots within our communities. Not only has this reinforced the notion that ‘we’re all in this together’, but for many this has given them a newfound purpose.
A sense of community is important, and not just in a pandemic. It allows us to support one another, and share experiences in our modern life struggles. Having this open bond with others is what builds valuable relationships and gives us a deeper sense of belonging.
Rediscovering family time
For those of us living amongst family members during lockdown, this will have likely been an emotional roller coaster at times. From feeling thankful to having them around us, to the frustrations and irritability that comes from being in a confined space with other people – whether they are family or not.
This forced family time is likely to have included bickering, moments of high stress and the occasional argument, but this newfound sense of togetherness is a concept that we should all aspire to hold on to as we come out of the pandemic. Even if it’s just eating meals together more regularly, or spending one evening a week together, maintaining these moments will ensure your family unit, however that is made up, has an opportunity to socialise, learn from each other and treasure the company of those around us.
Some of us have learnt to cook or bake – as evidenced by the lack of flour available in the supermarkets. For others gardening, decorating, crafts, reading and further education became fixtures of our lives.
Activities such as those help our brains switch off from life’s pressures and were a great way to spend the extra time we were forced to spend at home. Anything that took you away from troubles at home or work will have be worth every minute you spent on it. What’s more, a hobby gives us a sense of satisfaction whenever we achieve or finish something we’ve been working on.
With the majority of shops closed, our usual spending habits have been deeply impacted by the lockdown period. Instead of being able to wander around clothes shops or spend our cash on eating out, some people have used this time as an opportunity to save money and change our habits away from frivolous spending. That is, for those of us who didn’t succumb to online shopping. Lockdown has inadvertently allowed us to really explore our relationship to abundance and examine what we need and what we don’t need in our lives.
The first phase of lockdown saw us restricted to leaving the house for just an hour each day to exercise. While it was very quiet out on the roads there was certainly an increase in joggers, cyclists and families out walking. A survey by Nuffield Health found that walking, specifically for exercise, has been the most popular new activity, with three in ten (30%) introducing this into their lockdown regimes. This was followed by jogging, yoga, HIIT, running, home treadmill, weights and cycling outdoors.
Encouragingly, of those who have become more active over the lockdown period, either increasing exercise levels or taking up a new form of exercise, 8 out of 10 (81%) say they will try to continue with their new exercise regime once life returns to a ‘new normal’.
Lockdown has seen an increase in pressure and anxiety across the board. Be it due to juggling parenting and working from home, difficulties working remotely, financial strains, caring for families remotely or anxiety over not being able to see your loved ones. There is a tendency to remember the bad days instead of focusing on the success and it’s important moving forward and returning to whatever normal looks like that we remember the small victories, the laughs and the moments to cherish. But also the positive changes and benefits we introduced, we should try to find ways to instill these positive actions into ‘normal life’, whatever that looks like.
By, Laura Little, Learning & Development Manager, the wellbeing charity