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It’s now hard to imagine a world where we were blissfully unaware of COVID 19
A time before we had apocalyptic style words like ‘pandemic’, ‘quarantine’ or ‘lockdown’ in our day-to-day vocab. Before we fought over toilet roll, baked beans and hand sanitiser. Before we received a side-eye look for coughing in public. Before zoom quizzes became the ‘in thing’ to do, and then very quickly became the most tedious thing to do. Before the blur between home-life and work became all too real.
A time before all the uncertainty.
This one word still marks our everyday lives. We have uncertainty over uncertainty.
We live in a world where we can’t make plans, without fear that they will be cancelled or postponed. We can’t book a holiday, without stress that it might not be able to go ahead (and possibility of losing all that £££). We can’t go to gigs, sports events or the theatre without the risk of picking up the virus. We can’t visit our elderly loved ones, without being anxious that we might pass something on. We can’t confidently plan for our major life events. Birthdays, weddings, funerals all still to be planned cautiously.
There is no textbook manual which tells us how to react to the ‘unprecedented’ change we have seen over the past couple of years. Some people have been able to ignore it, others adapt to it, and there are those who succumb to it.
We all react differently, that’s human nature.
We all know it can be all too easy to dwell on the uncertainty. However, it is human nature that helps us adapt to adverse conditions, to focus on the positives rather than the negatives.
With this in mind we have witnessed some of the most touching acts of community spirit and togetherness.
We’ve clapped for carers, the NHS and Captain Tom. We put an NHS nurse on the front cover of vogue and have raised over £150 million for NHS Charities Together. We’ve underscored the impact COVID has had on our mental health, and have promoted looking out for one another, through campaigns like the Dave x CALM x Murdock London campaign. We’ve taken more time out for self-care. We’ve focused more on our own health and the health of our loved ones.
The time with the people we love is even sweeter. Going for a coffee with a friend, a games night with family, hugs with your niece and nephew. It is all cherished so much more. We have come to relish in what we would previously consider mundane. We are more thankful for what and who we have in our lives. Everything that we previously took for granted, now has a new meaning.
We’ve spent more time outdoors, with a whopping 46% of people saying that they spent more time in nature (People and Nature Survey by Natural England, July 2020). We’ve explored our local areas, and we’ve been getting our 10,000 steps in. We’ve travelled to other parts of the UK with places like Cornwall, Scotland and the Lake District seeing an exponential growth in the number of tourists.
We’ve seen businesses become more flexible, with many not fully returning to the office. This gives most employees a better work-life balance. Not commuting everyday gives us more time to focus on ourselves, it means we can squeeze in that gym class, or put our pjs on that bit sooner. It all helps with our mental wellbeing. The ability to work remotely also helps businesses. It means they can hire talent from further afield and improve employee retention.
There has been a reduction in pollution. The pandemic has cleared the air somewhat, reducing the amount of smog in large cities. It has cleaned the murky water in the canals in Venice. It has given nature a tiny sigh of relief.
We know the uncertainty is still there.
However, we are learning to live with it.
We are managing it better. We are more resilient. We can reflect on the positives that has come with it. We are falling in love again with the simple things in life. And as that wise old philosopher Winnie the Pooh once said":
“[we] are braver than [we] believe, stronger than [we] seem, [and] smarter than [we] think”