Updated: Jan 15, 2021
COVID-19 has been the biggest challenge we've faced as a society for years, and it has without a doubt turned each of our lives upside down in some way.
But with every negative, there is a positive, and I'd like to take a minute to think about the positive things that have come out of lockdown...
*Disclaimer: I’m not a psychologist, these are just my opinions.*
The pandemic has given many a chance to reset and change their priorities. We are often in a haze of rushing around, often not entirely aware of what it exactly is we are rushing around for. If we actually sat down and listed our top three priorities in life, I wonder how many decisions we make each day would actually be aligned with them?
As Will Smith famously once said “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.”
Having had the time to rethink and reassess, the allure of prestige and career may not seem so appealing to some right now, as the apparent damage to their overall well-being might have been highlighted by being able to stay at home.
As bleak as it sounds, if you were sitting on your deathbed right now, would you wish you had worked more hours, or bought a bigger house, or gone to more parties? Probably not. The most common thing mentioned is spending time with friends and family.
The saying “It doesn’t mean anything without someone to share it with” shows us how we are built for connection. Some of the poorest people financially are the richest in emotion, and vice versa. That should tell us all we need to know. After all, we buy nice things because of how it makes us feel most of the time.
HEALTH AND WELLBEING
Whilst some people are viewing the lockdown period as a chance to ‘Netflix and chill’ all day every day (nothing wrong with that by the way, Tiger King was another level), a lot of people are really taking the chance to look at their fitness and health in a new way.
The excuse of not having enough time is no longer an issue for many. This means meal prep and eating fresh, as well as daily exercise has no doubt increased. Fast food restaurants being mostly closed and having online workouts at our finger tips has made living a healthy lifestyle more accessible and realistic than it has ever been.
This is hopefully another realisation for many. With gyms having been closed and only set to be opened with restrictions in place, it has raised the question of whether we really need to attend a gym to exercise. Online home workouts might be the preferable choice for many, given the convenience and time it saves. The ‘back to basics’ approach of home cooking and outdoor exercise has been extremely refreshing for me to see as a nutritionist/ personal trainer.
Alongside physical health, the effect on people’s mental well-being has no doubt been polarising as well. Whilst I don't want to ignore the many that are no doubt suffering from the isolation, there are also many people who are now looking at their mental health carefully. This isn’t surprising. With less distraction from the outside world, it can quieten the noise in our heads. I have certainly had time to look at my own habits and behaviours to attempt to identify where they might come from.
I am sure there are many people having a few extra drinks than they normally would right now. Indulging in addiction is the behaviour that everyone sees, but how often do we question the root cause for that addiction? For example, if someone is drinking heavily during lockdown, the focus around the behaviour itself is useless without understanding why the person is drinking so much.
Less judgement and more understanding is the way forward in helping people rehabilitate, and the more awareness there is around the root cause of addictive behaviours in society as a whole, the better.
In certain locations around the world called ‘blue zones’ (places where they have an abnormal amount of centenarians), addiction rates are extremely low. This has long been attributed to their strong sense of community and belonging within their societies. Could this suggest addiction related to loneliness? Are we becoming more and more isolated here in the West? Perhaps.
I really do feel as if we are going through a consciousness shift in society. For years now, we have been paying more attention to the environment, social injustice and our health. The pandemic may have now pushed awareness on these issues 10 years forward. All the things we knew were important but never time to focus on, all of a sudden are the only thing we can focus on. Will this change public opinion moving forward, or will we eventually return back to old ways once we are allowed? Time will tell.
What have you learnt about yourself during this lockdown?
What are you hoping to change, if anything, when this is all over?
What has it made you realise about your priorities, and how you want to achieve them moving forward?
Leave any thoughts in the comments below guys, thanks!