The Benefits of Lockdown
The world is changing forever as the coronavirus lockdown forces us to adapt, but what are the positive effects we may wish to hold on to?
Family time, nature bouncing back, getting to know neighbours and avoiding the daily commute – these are just some of the ways in which the lives of millions of us have actually improved in the last few weeks.
We asked the Fegans counsellors and volunteers about the unexpected benefits of the lockdown.
One colleague based in Eastbourne told us how, in the beginning, she may well have been in denial that the lockdown was actually happening and hoped that she would be back at work by Easter: “ Sadly this was never going to happen and once I accepted this, life became so much easier and harmonious for my husband!
“Life has changed in so many ways and this is how it will be in the new normal, I am loving the one-way system in the supermarkets and think it is one thing that should stay! Mind you it has highlighted how much we dither when we are shopping. The queuing to get into the shops gave me the opportunity to talk to those in front and behind, and the store staff that were supervising the line. Actually, just going shopping has been an experience, as my husband did all the shopping before lockdown whilst I was at work. We combined our daily exercise with our shopping trips, walking the long way round to the supermarket, discovering new parts of town that I did not know existed!”
For the majority, the last few months have been a time to reconnect with neighbours, albeit from the recommended social distance, to take the time to engage in conversations with them instead of the usual hurried “hello”, to get to know neighbours from further down the road as we met on Thursday evenings to clap for the NHS and other key workers. There is no doubt that communities have been brought together in a new way.
Our colleague also mentioned how grateful she was for the technology that enabled her to still ‘attend’ Church on a Sunday and Life Group on a Wednesday evening. She said: “Meeting friends for the first time, for a socially distanced picnic or a walk, was lovely once the urge to hug each other had dissipated.”
Everyone was unanimous in appreciating the fact that this pandemic lockdown has given families more quality time together. Never before, in modern history, have so many parents spent so much time in one place with their children. For some families, the enforced lockdown has provided a unique opportunity to reconnect, create memories and evaluate priorities.
The simple pleasures in life are being rediscovered too – a family walk has become a precious time of the day that everyone looks forward to, something many families may never have enjoyed before. Families are also rediscovering board games, doing puzzles together and making fun TikTok videos. These are all things that may not have happened in the usual hustle and bustle of pre-lockdown life.
For millions of people the prospect of working from home – or WFH as it’s widely abbreviated to – wasn’t even an option before coronavirus struck.
For most of us at Fegans, this became a daily reality… Gone was the commute, the dithering about which clothes to wear or what to bring for lunch, some even enjoyed not having to get up before 9am, but still logging on in time to get through their workload!
Some have said they are more productive as they are taking more breaks from their screens. Many are getting more exercise outside, which in turn is improving their overall concentration.
Shhhh… stop what you are doing and just listen. What can you hear? For many it’s been the return of nature. In a suddenly uncertain world, it’s been wonderful to see nature lifting the spirits of so many people and being able to watch, and hear, wildlife has offered many of us not just a welcome distraction, but genuine happiness in reconnecting with nature.
A colleague told us how she appreciated “being able to sit by a local duck pond and watch the ducklings and goslings, taking the time to actually look around and see the amazing gift of creation, a time of reconnecting with God and spending quality time with Him, grateful that He has kept us all well during this time.”
Other benefits included:
- No having to get up early, and do the school-run, life is more relaxed.
- More time to spend in the garden, and growing vegetables from seed. Seeing how hard it can be for farmers, with the rest of nature competing for the vegetables too! (snails, slugs, moles and badgers)
- Having more time to go out cycling in the countryside as a family.
- Teaching my son, and enjoying the up times, like writing silly limericks, maths, drawing and marble runs. Seeing how he learns, captures the idea, smiles and makes it his own! Precious.
- Having lunch and dinner on the patio in the garden in the glorious weather than we are having.
- Really appreciating the few friends and family that we have seen, and just being able to chat at a distance.
- As a family we have talked and laughed more together, watching comedy series on Netflix.
- Keeping in contact with people more via letter writing, WhatsApp and Zoom
- Rediscovering a love of home baking, mastering pizzas (and now many of us have a slightly bigger waistline as a result!)
- Dates nights!
- Saving money on pub/restaurant visits.
- And last but not least, “my nephew is going to be born in this country now, it was Africa and I wouldn’t have seen him but due to the pandemic the parents-to-be have moved back to England.”
For most of us, lockdown has meant life has been drifting along at a slower pace. Our social calendars are populated by virtual events only, in which Friday-night glam has come in the form of loungewear; commutes are now seconds long; and our leisure is focused elsewhere.
Lockdown has given us space to reflect on the effects of our busy lives, and our health, the environment and our lifestyles have all been affected. This has led many of us to consider making permanent, constructive changes to the way we live. For however dark a cloud may be, it can bring with it a silver lining.