Lockdown has been tough for us all and as the restrictions are lifted and life begins to return to ‘normal’, we may notice the new habits that we’re not ready to leave behind just quite yet. During the past few months, its become clear to many of us what really matters and what we may have taken for granted before.
As our daily lives became significantly disrupted, we had to find ways to cope and adapt to the changes. Yet, many communities and families found ways to cope that have been a refreshing benefit to them. Therefore, we wanted to shed light on these simple habits that have had a positive impact on our lives and got us through a challenging period in all our lives.
For many the slower pace of life during lockdown allowed family time to return as the usual stresses and hustle of day to day life were removed. For some, ‘dinner time’ returned for the first time in years.
This change may have felt unremarkable at the time but sitting down together at the end of the day allowed many families to relax, regroup and spend quality time together in a way they hadn’t previously felt able to.
The importance of this family connection and the importance of relaxation was recognised by many, not to mention its benefits for our mental health.
Lockdown was a challenge for us all, from those with existing mental health conditions to those who were simply finding it more difficult to adapt and deal with the sudden change. Yet these challenges can in many ways be seen as a blessing, in allowing us to focus on ourselves and looking at ways we could help ourselves at home or even reaching out to professionals and acknowledging our true feelings.
Many took up yoga, made use of their one hour a day to relax in nature, took up journaling or even began to meditate. All of these new activities allowed people to find a way of managing their stress and anxiety and connecting on a deeper level with their mind and body. Thus, allowing people to slow down, relax and rationalise their worries rather than ignoring them.
Lockdown left many feeling trapped inside their homes but this, in many instances, only increased our appreciation for the outdoors and the hour we got to spend within it. Many who previously chose to stay indoors now felt compelled, when and if they could, to get outside and get active.
From taking up running to family bike rides, new ways to exercise that didn’t involve a stuffy and expensive indoor gym or a rushed and potentially stress-inducing workout began to become the ‘new normal’. Thousands of people took up ‘P.E. with Joe’ and took advantage of the free exercise content that filled every social media platform as exercise felt more accessible and exciting than it ever had before.
This has shifted mindsets in regard to staying active and produced a positive change which we’d like to hold onto, even as lockdown begins to become a distant memory.
The inability to see friends and family was extremely difficult for some, however in many cases the awareness of potential loneliness in fact led to many new initiatives, new relationships and brought communities closer together.
We saw a growth in community meal schemes, a shift to online community work, online events and neighbours helping neighbours, with everyone doing their bit for their community during lockdown. And why should this end? This is a change that can stay even when the old pace of life resumes, with communities continuing to use all available methods to help each other.
Communities also came together in the ‘clap for carers’ movement, as the workers and services we may have taken for granted became even more essential and all jobs were seen as increasingly valued. We all began to recognise the importance of their work and we came together to celebrate it.
Throughout the UK adults spent an average of 80 minutes less per day travelling, instead they were walking to work or working from home and enjoying the break from the daily commute. This meant that our environment could prosper once more. The water was clearer, we saw animals return to the uk that hadn’t been seen in years and people found a new appreciation for this, adopting new hobbies such as birdwatching.
Holidays also became a thing of the past as people began to ‘stay-cate’, camp in their gardens and find new ways to enjoy half-term breaks. There is no denying of course that this was challenging, but the lack of available alternatives forced us all to find enjoyment in more simple days out that didn’t cost the world and didn’t involve polluting methods of travel.
The shift to local activities and essential travel, may have begun to fade away but the realisation that nature is important and beautiful and that we don’t have to go far to have fun, we believe should remain.
Obviously we’re aware that things are changing day by day. And whilst we cannot deny the devastating reality of this horrible disease and the heartbreaking challenges this has brought for some, it is important that we recognise the number of positives in this negative situation. Some of which, have been deeply valuable to our family lives and have left us with a huge appreciation for the small things, bringing a balance to our lives that we probably couldn’t have imagined exsisting before lockdown.