The “New Normal”: How Lockdown Life Encourages Self-Improvement

May 11, 2020

As government guidance suggests no sign of returning to “life before lockdown”, we may well see a permanent change in our everyday lives. 

When lockdown was announced on 23rd March, there was a nationwide panic as Britons adjusted to working from home and educating their children. Thankfully, smart home tech stepped up to the plate and helped us transition. What resulted was a range of convenient online platforms, which could help to foster self-improvement.

Staying organised

Maintaining a routine is no mean feat around lockdown. While Zoom calls are the norm, smart speakers are also playing their part. In fact, Q1 saw a 6 per cent rise in sales of smart speakers, and their manufacturers are adapting the products to make them “coronavirus-friendly”. Amazon is offering remote workers its Work from Home programme, which features helpful reminders, like taking a break to stretch. 

Keeping in check

One of the biggest challenges with COVID-19 is stopping the spread of misinformation. Again, smart home devices come to the fore here. A simple song from Alexa will help you to wash your hands for the appropriate amount of time, while Apple’s Siri gives users the latest information from the Centre for Disease Control

Getting a sweat on

Britain’s gyms continue to remain closed for the foreseeable, forcing them to pivot their products to keep customers fit and healthy. Many gym chains are now livestreaming exercise classes which can be viewed on tablets, smartphones or smart TVs in real time. There’s no reliance on gym equipment (though if you have a home gym, even better!) – just an internet connection and your energy.

Others are turning to social media to livestream workouts, for example, Barry’s UK on Instagram TV. There are even incentives for those using wearable fitness gadget apps. MyZone belt users can earn cash prizes based on the amount of exercise they do. No gym? No problem.

Cooking up a storm

Need to refuel after all those workouts? As we turn into a nation of bakers, sales of small appliances have grown by 8 per cent. We’ve turned to smart fridges and freezers to maintain our stockpiling habits. These handy devices warn us when food is about to expire. Meanwhile, smart ovens even allow us to keep an eye on our food cooking from another room – perfect for watching that bread proof without leaving our seats!

Learning something new

We may all be faced with the daunting prospect of becoming our children’s teachers, but our kids aren’t the only ones learning. In fact, thousands of us are using this extra time to learn a new language on apps like Duolingo, while Google search queries for “how-tos” have skyrocketed. We’re particularly keen on trying new recipes, looking up photography courses, and yes, for better or for worse, cutting our own hair…

Knowledge for sport

In the absence of seeing each other in person, we’re now using online platforms to unleash our competitive sides. Zoom quizzes are becoming the norm, allowing us to go back to school and relearn those history lessons.

Meanwhile, others are playing board games over apps like Facetime, and chatting/video gaming apps like Discord encourage a new collaborative conversation. As we all sharpen our skills, Christmas Day board games will never be the same again!

And if you feel like you’re not “improving” …

…don’t worry. There are many images circulating on social media telling us we should be learning new skills or starting up “side hustles”. The reality is quite different – we’re facing a never-before-seen amount of pressure to maintain ideal routines in non-ideal circumstances. 

Whether we feel like it or not, we’re all improving during this time simply because we’re taking a step back. We’re learning to adapt to crises, and, more importantly, discovering what’s really important – like staying in touch. As technology helps us to keep on top of our mental health, this lockdown is a learning experience for us all, and we’ll all emerge stronger.

Discover more about technology and mental health with our latest blogs.