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Life After Lockdown: Why We Shouldn’t Neglect Health and Wellness

June 30, 2020

The results are in – just six per cent of us want to return to a “pre-pandemic economy” as lockdown eases. As we all look toward a better future, with fewer emissions, a better work/life balance and more investment in repairing inequality, we must remember not to neglect our health.

Lockdown has offered us never-before-seen opportunities to shape up, build skills and reconnect. That’s why it’s so important not to return to the “old normal” as restrictions ease. So, what have we learned from this crisis?

Loneliness is very real – we must stay better connected

Staying at home, away from our friends and family, has led to a spike in loneliness across Britain. In fact, 2.6 million adults said they felt lonely “often” or “always” between April and May. The figure is even higher for the elderly, who, as a vulnerable demographic, may see their loved ones even less often.

With the rise in communication apps like Zoom, we must continue to prioritise these social interactions above all else – in person or otherwise. Countless studies have shown that socialising improves our mental health, lifting our spirits and reducing anxiety.

No more taking nature for granted

With gyms closed up and down the country, those of us without access to home gyms are taking to the outdoors instead. This has put a renewed focus on our physical health, which in turn has myriad mental health benefits.

We need to enjoy the benefits of natural sunlight, whether that’s from regulating circadian rhythms with home tech or pounding the pavement more often. 32 per cent of us are getting more exercise, while three quarters of us are getting the kids involved too – a habit we should encourage for a longer, happier life.

Getting our forty winks

Perhaps one of the most interesting, and sporadic, trends during lockdown is our sleep cycles. Approximately one quarter of us say that we’re getting more sleep and feeling more rested during lockdown. Could this be the lack of pressure to get up and commute to work?

Conversely, 47 per cent of us say that stress from the coronavirus, for example issues like job security, is disturbing our sleep cycles.

On both counts, we need to leverage home technology and personal techniques to improve our sleep cycle. Apps like Headspace allow us to tackle our worries head-on and drift off, while automated lighting can slowly wind us down in preparation for sleep. Screen time is up during lockdown, so we need to put this habit to bed!

Working from anywhere

Not only is remote working doing wonders for the environment – it could also have a better impact on our mental health. According to the NHS, 55 per cent of us felt more stress with our commute, and 47 per cent of us said that commuting led to less physical activity.

Lockdown has seen employers revising their working from home policies, and some are abandoning the office altogether, such as Twitter. As videoconferencing apps take centre stage, we’ve had to accelerate our digital transformation, negating the need for a physical office.

Redressing the work/life balance

While remote working is a godsend for some, up to 59 per cent of us have admitted that the work/life balance has worsened since lockdown. This puts the onus on us to address our home environments and distinguish the working office from places of rest. It could be something as simple as changing lighting to reflect productivity or relaxation, or committing to leaving all mobile devices in one room.

One thing’s for certain, though – even if we are building our own workspace, the home should always be a haven of relaxation.

Getting ourselves organised

One habit which we’d do well to carry on post-lockdown would be the new organisational skills we’ve all gained. Whether we’re filing our tax returns or Marie Kondoing the bedroom, we’re using this additional time to get our lives in order and emerge ready to take on bigger challenges.

We need to apply these disciplines to our everyday life, whether we’re returning to work or simply honing a skill we’ve learned.

Lockdown: a serendipity?

It’s a situation that nobody asked for and nobody could have predicted, but it’s not been without its benefits. As more of us turn to focus on what matters, like family, physical health and mental wellness, lockdown has set in motion a series of good habits for the future.

What’s your best lockdown habit? Let us know.