Over the last three months, life for many of us has changed beyond recognition. Perhaps you have suddenly found yourself working from home, homeschooling your children, or trying to keep your business afloat?
There are many things that we’re looking forward to when things return to something approaching normal. From a restaurant meal to spending time with friends and extended family, you’re probably already making some plans for the months ahead.
There will also be many things that we have learned about ourselves during lockdown that we want to retain. And, there will be many things that we’ve had the opportunity to do that we’ll be reluctant to give up.
Here are seven life lessons we can learn from lockdown.
1. How little we need and how much we have
After an initial spate of panic buying loo roll and tinned tomatoes, lockdown hasn’t exactly been a time for shopping. In fact, it’s been a time to appreciate what we do have, and how little we actually need.
For a spell, daily exercise was one of the only permitted reasons to leave the house and so many of you will realise that you can ditch the gym membership, as you don’t need to pay to stay fit and healthy.
Charitable giving has been a big part of lockdown, from Captain Tom’s remarkable fundraising efforts to doing what we can to support food banks, the NHS and other good causes.
It has also been a time to find enjoyment in small things, from connecting with neighbours you didn’t know to going out of your way to help others.
Let’s keep up with these little things after lockdown.
2. The value of human contact
For months, the only way we’ve been able to keep in touch with friends and family is through Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp or social media.
While these technologies have been invaluable during a period of social distancing, it’s real human contact at home that we have cherished, and what we have missed with others.
It’s why we’re all so keen to get together with friends, colleagues and loved ones over a coffee, lunch, or a pint.
3. An appreciation for the contribution everyone makes to society
One of the real and lasting outcomes of the lockdown is the appreciation we all have for the contribution everyone makes to society. It’s no longer athletes and TV stars that are our heroes, but care workers, delivery drivers and NHS staff.
In recent weeks, I have been really proud of the incredible job our local Tesco has done to keep everyone safe under so much pressure. I also have a new-found appreciation for rubbish collectors (I hated it when the council suspended our recycling collection during the lockdown!) as well as the obvious key workers. Let’s hope we keep appreciating them when all this is a distant memory.
4. The importance of a good work-life balance
While working from home offers many benefits, it can be difficult to switch off when your lounge is also your office. During lockdown, it has become increasingly important to put down the laptop and spend time away from work.
If you’re struggling with finding the right balance:
- Don’t check your work emails after a certain time of day
- Close your laptop and put it away, so you’re not tempted to do one last piece of work
- Take regular breaks during the working day to keep yourself recharged
- Prioritise your health
- Schedule activities with family or friends at certain times of day. Perhaps 5-6pm could become a dedicated hour for spending with your children?
5. Appreciating outdoor space
A recent survey from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) found that, following lockdown, 57% of people now value their garden more than before. The study also found that 71% of people who have an outdoor space felt that having a garden/outdoor space has helped their mental health during lockdown.
Paul Bunton, from the woodland conservation charity the Woodland Trust, said: “We are pleased that the trend seems to show that people are spending more times in the outdoors…
“We understand the many positives of visiting woods – they are wildlife havens, a way to destress, have an adventure and learn about their importance, for example in tackling climate change.”
You don’t even need to travel far to benefit from enjoying green space. Spending time in the garden or walking around your local park is good for you, and something we should hold on to when the pandemic eases.
6. You don’t have to spend money (or go out) to have fun
As we haven’t been able to go out as normal, we’ve all had to find other ways of having fun. At the risk of oversharing, my wife Cathy and I have done things like getting dressed up for a home cocktail evening or having themed Toy Story or pirate parties with our son.
Whether it’s joining an online pub quiz through Zoom, cooking special meals, or joining the TikTok revolution, one thing we have all learned is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a good time.
Which leads me to…
7. We can save more money than we thought
Taking points one and six into consideration, lockdown has taught many of us that we can certainly afford to save more money than we thought we could. Do we really need all those restaurant meals, clothes or expensive holidays?
Once things return to something approaching normal, if we can remember to concentrate on the positive things we learned in lockdown – often the things that cost the least – then that should leave us with surplus income that we can save.
Imagine how saving more into your pension could help you to retire earlier and do more of what you have enjoyed in lockdown? Or, how paying off your mortgage sooner could help your financial security and mental health?
If you plan on doing things differently from now on, and you want to have a chat about how you could make your money work better for you, please give me a call on 07769 156 250.
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
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