It has already been five months since the official lockdown for Covid-19 in the UK. From the outset, the public has been confined to their own living spaces and were only allowed to leave to purchase necessities, go out for exercise, medical or necessary work purposes. Several businesses and venues, such as theatres and leisure facilities, have been ordered to close. These conditions undoubtedly brought the country to a standstill!
The global pandemic has changed the flow of life in an unprecedented manner; it has affected our way of thinking and our relationship with others. In this sense, lockdown serves as an important time to contemplate on ourselves and what we value.
Giving time for self-care
Lockdown has raised moments of uncertainty amongst the public. No one is exempt from the effects of the virus. Everyone has been impacted regardless of their class, gender, or status. There is still an intensified fear of no job security, and sickness, added with the lack of clarity as to when the pandemic will end. Stress is contagious, as scientific research suggests, and never has this been more evident from being with roommates or family members, where emotions nurture each other. To diminish our worries, we seek closure from the internet and the media, only to be left with more anxiety and sleeplessness from constant media exposure as the crisis unfolds!
Staying at home has allowed many to slow down and find other ways to fill their time. Some may have learnt skills they never tried before, from meditation to playing a new musical instrument. Some may have turned to Netflix Parties to simulate long-lost physical company, whilst staying at home. Therefore, socialisation is not truly lost, as individuals have been forced to adapt to the situation in ways they see fit. These resources serve as alternative ways of coping with stress. They can improve mental health and are worth treasuring even after lockdown.
The value of materialism
With the closure of various establishments, we would never have realised how happiness can be achieved without materialistic goods. From the announcement of the coronavirus outbreak, people around the globe resorted to stock piling toilet rolls, hand sanitisers and other essential goods. Shelves are emptied at an alarming rate, leaving some less privileged empty-handed. This emphasises how materialistic the society has become, to satisfy their personal needs. As the outbreak continued, supermarkets restricted the number of items per customer to prevent this stock piling. Hopefully, we have learnt from this situation that we do not need as many materialistic things as we think.
Our experience during the lockdown could offer a shift from excessive consumerism, to being compassionate to others. We can build a better society by consuming less and giving more! Happiness comes to you and to other people as you share genuine love and care for them.
We are stronger when we are united
The lockdown period has brought us a sense of unity, amidst a time of uncertainty. Through cooperation and being considerate, we are able to make a difference for the common good. This strengthens our relationship with others in a profound way. We truly appreciate what we have and support each other. This extends further to valuing the role of essential workers. In the UK, crowds clapped in front of their doorsteps, balconies, and windows at 8pm, every Thursday for ten weeks, to show their support for the health workers. This became a huge part of society, and plans are now in the works for a National Clap for Carers Day to take place on 25th March 2021, which marks a year since the first ‘clap’ took place. This campaign continues to use #clapforcarers, showing society has learnt to care for one another in a way that we failed to do before.
Acts of kindness were also found throughout the globe from cooking and delivering food to hospital staff in Malaysia, to celebrities raising funds for various causes. This highlights the potential benefits of collective and compassionate action to resolve worldwide problems.
As the lockdown restrictions begin to relax, I hope we hold on to the lessons we have learnt from such unprecedented times. Once we realise the importance of care, community, and cooperation we can realise our commonality with others.
Feature Image: Flickr: @Sameer0406
Last modified: 24th August 2020