Over the past year all of us have spent periods of time living under certain restrictions. We have been going out less. Our offices have been closed and families have been spending more time together at home. As we go into autumn you may be thinking that another lock down is on the horizon.
For some the past eighteen months has been a very difficult time. They may have lost loved ones or been working on the front line in the NHS nursing those with coronavirus. Others might have been furloughed or lost their jobs. For the majority of us though it has just meant more time at home. I think that there’s been a lot of benefits. I would encourage you to embrace them if come winter we find ourselves in another period of enforced isolation.
Fewer cars on the road
One of the upsides of lock down was quieter roads. I am sure that for anyone who lives on a busy road this was great. Not only was the noise level reduced, but the pollution and ultimately the environmental impact. This has got to be good for humans and the planet. I hear interviews with people lamenting the loss of office-based work due to the impact on businesses around those offices, such as coffee shops and restaurants. The thing is when it comes to being kind to our planet and addressing climate change continuing to work at home when we can has got to be the way to go. So, if you find yourself at home again make sure you take the time to go out for regular walks. Enjoy the peace and quiet.
For many months social lives were cancelled. Pubs and restaurants had to close. Shopping centres as well, although if you were desperate to spend money you could always do it on line. Holidays and in particular holidays abroad weren’t easy. That is unless you were prepared to take the risk of having to dash home at short notice or isolate when you returned to the UK. This might have been depressing for some, but others haven’t minded too much and have saved a fortune. Instead they’ve just enjoyed several staycations. For those wanting to save, sometimes we succumb to peer pressure and end up spending money when we don’t really want to in order not to miss out. When no one can go out drinking or for an expensive meal then you don’t have to find the courage to say no.
Working at home with children off school was I know a nightmare for some. Now that the kids are back to being educated by teachers instead of their parents your home should be distraction-free, enabling you to concentrate on work. Whilst some people have had to use the kitchen table or a desk in the corner of their bedroom, the upside is that there is no commute. You may miss this, but not doing it saves you both time and money. Extra time you can spend with your kids or just reading a book. Money you can save for next year’s holiday or spend on some treats for you and your family.
A Slower pace of life
Without a commute and also fewer activities for you and your kids life can slow down a bit. When I was young I don’t remember breakfast clubs or a lot of after school activities. Maybe I was just lucky or neglected, but nevertheless I find it extraordinary how much families attempt to pack into their lives nowadays. When they aren’t at school kids are being ferried from one activity to the next, then it’s homework time, food, bath and bed. There’s very little downtime just to play or be together as a family. An absence of these activities means that life can be lived at a slower pace. There’s no schedule to follow and instead of needing to be constantly entertained kids can learn to use their imagination and play with their toys at home.
Makes you re-evaluate how we do things
Most of the time we don’t stop to evaluate why something is as it is. It’s not perhaps until we go to another country and see a different way of doing something that we might question our own processes or habits. A prime example of this I think is how GP surgeries run. If I wanted a repeat prescription I had to write a letter – yes an ink and paper letter – and take it to the surgery. I always had to post it through the door on the weekend as I never had time to drop it in during the week. If I needed an appointment I had to ring on the day at 8.30am and battle with others who were also trying to do the same or wait three weeks to be seen for a planned appointment.
Now I just type my symptoms into a form on their website. I can upload photos. Within 48 hours I receive a call from a GP. Most of the time they give advice and prescribe over the phone, all without me having to go and see them. If I need medication I don’t have to go and pick up a prescription from them and take it round to the chemist myself. Instead they send it directly to the chemist who makes it up for me and sends me a text message when it’s ready. All so much more efficient. Why didn’t we do all this before? Because we just continued doing what we’d always done without evaluating whether that was the most efficient method.
So if you’re dreading another potential lock down over the coming months try to focus on the upsides. Make the most of the positives, which can be many, if you just take the time to think about it.