Embracing the new normal: positive lessons in the post-lockdown world

A picture of a nurse happy about post-lockdown life

In the first of a two-part piece, we look at the post-lockdown world and find some silver linings that have emerged from the coronavirus pandemic.

For months, the internet has been awash with strategies on how to cope with lockdown—otherwise known as quarantine, isolation, sheltering in place, stay-at-home orders, and numerous other terms. However, there is far less out there on how to cope with life post-lockdown.

Some countries—Stuck On You’s home, Australia, for example—have started lifting restrictions. This is great news, most importantly because it means that we have significantly slowed down the spread of COVID-19.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that things will return entirely to normal. Rather, we are about to enter a ‘new normal’. It’s a world scarred by tragedy but ultimately determined to be better for it.

But there are good things to come out of this terrible situation that we can harness for long-term positive changes.

We have seen some of the best of human nature

During times of unprecedented crisis, it’s difficult to expect human behaviour to be perfect. None of us will be forgetting Toilet-Paper-Gate in a hurry.

However, we’ve also been heartened by kind and generous acts by ordinary people, such as the 99-year-old war veteran, Captain Tom Moore, who raised over £30 million for the NHS; or Addyson and Lucy, the compassionate Queensland youngsters who used their own pocket money to buy toilet paper and hand-deliver it to pensioners in their local area.

And of course, there are the many healthcare workers who put their lives at risk to keep us all healthy.

Then there are the stories that don’t make the news—the ones happening in our very own backyards. Perhaps you are the Captain Tom Moore or the Addyson and Lucy of your local community. Or someone is yours.

Working from home has become increasingly accepted

Not every job can function from home, and we have only respect for those who are physically present at workplaces. Not to mention sympathy for those who have been stood down or lost their jobs entirely.

But for jobs that can be done from home, this unique situation has taught us that, contrary to the previous opinions of some, ‘working from home’ (WFH) is not a euphemism for ‘bludging from home’ (BFH). In fact, WFH can be just as productive, if not more so than ‘working in the office’ (WIO). Okay, we’ll stop with the acronyms.

This realisation will hopefully pave the way for more flexible work conditions. Hopefully, employees no longer need to feel sheepish for requesting to work from home in order to look after a mildly ill child or drive their elderly parent to various daytime medical appointments. 

For plenty of us, not commuting also gives back precious hours in the day. If enough of us can successfully negotiate just one or two days a week working from home, this will significantly reduce road traffic, crowding, and the associated environmental burdens.

A picture of a man looking at his computer

Telehealth will improve the medical system

Another major change is the rapid rise of telehealth. The need to stop the spread of the dangerous and unpredictable virus has necessitated safer methods of medical diagnosis and treatment, including via online and telephone platforms.

This reduces the strain on frontline services. It also means that, until absolutely necessary, people who are unwell can stay home, rest and avoid spreading their germs.

The more we support telehealth technologies, the more improvements that can be made swiftly in this space. This can only mean better things for the world of healthcare.

We have more empathy and appreciation for people from different walks of life

Stressful and unprecedented situations like this have really turned the usual order of things topsy-turvy. For example:

  • People who have never been unemployed were suddenly forced to take a crash-course in claiming benefits.
  • There has been a redefinition of the type of work considered ‘essential’, which includes many jobs that traditionally attract the lowest wages in the world of paid employment.
  • Being forced to stay home and grapple with restrictions previously unknown to most of us has provided at least a tiny bit of insight into the daily struggles of people living with conditions that impose a restricted or isolated lifestyle, such as people with a disability or physical or mental health issues.

These are just a few examples, but you may have noticed many more. Hopefully, this newfound empathy will translate into positive long-term changes and a fairer and more compassionate society.

Closer to home, this is an excellent opportunity to teach your children to treat everyone with kindness and respect—and to not judge people until you’ve walked in their shoes.

A picture of a woman walking along the beach

Can you see any other positives to come out of this terrible situation? Let us know on Facebook!

And stay tuned for part two, where we look at more positive lessons to take from these challenging times!