Positive Benefits from Confinement in Lockdown

Here in New Zealand, we have moved to Level 1.

Many feel very fortunate that the government moved fast enough to impose isolation and a lockdown of our country, avoiding the spread of Covid-19 on a large scale. This return to ‘normality’ has been embraced whole-heartedly with people being able to return to work, study, exercise or socialise freely once more. Perhaps the biggest sigh of relief has come from individuals with jobs still intact, and business owners who had been on tenterhooks desperately hoping their companies would survive the lockdown situation.

To date, there have been huge job losses as a result of company failure, and many people now face financial hardship. The spin-off effect has also produced a much tougher reality for the businesses that have survived, resulting in wide-spread redundancies. The severe financial ramifications cannot be underestimated because the far-reaching impact of this event will be felt for years to come. The enforced lockdown has also exacted a personal toll with a spike in physical violence and the breakdown of relationships.

However, as hard as this new reality is for those badly affected personally or financially, it is only one side of the coin. The flip side reveals different opportunities and new, formerly undreamed of, possibilities that emerge for others during and after a crisis situation.

A new dynamic is emerging from the Covid-19 lockdown.

A very interesting dynamic is gathering momentum as a result of people being forcibly made to slow down and stop their crazy pace of life. This phenomenon has probably been experienced most keenly by people with dependent families, because this is the busiest phase of adult life. Prior to lockdown, the only time many families experienced extended time together was on holiday. Often though, holidays are far too short and stressful – particularly if people are burnt out when they go on vacation. Many people return to work before they’ve been able to achieve sufficient rest and recovery.

As the Lockdown lasted almost 6 weeks, it gave some people a unique window of time to recharge and relax, with the added bonus of further uncluttered, quality time to align the body and Soul.

Therefore, the Lockdown was remarkable from the point of view of more financially secure, happily functioning families and individuals who (once they realised there was no option other than to stop rushing from one commitment to the next), reported benefits that they had never anticipated at the beginning of this period. Sure, there was also a stressful component with enforced working from home, where the demands of young children took precedent, and families in this situation had to quickly sort out a tag team approach to parenting and chores. But, in spite of this, a myriad of positive comments and benefits have surfaced.

­­­ Some of the benefits people have reported:

  • Relishing precious time spent with family.
  • Increased opportunity for parents, particularly fathers, to strengthen bonds with their kids.
  • Feeling much less pressure to constantly perform physically and mentally at a high level.
  • Saving valuable time from commuting, and an increase in productivity.
  • Having a novel experience of what a healthy work/life balance feels like.
  • Time to reflect and contemplate rather than mindlessly react to life.
  • An opportunity to review their current lifestyle and contemplate areas where changes are required.
  • Time to plan and eat healthier meals.
  • Saving money by eating at home and making food from scratch.
  • Time to exercise and the physical and mental benefits of doing this regularly.
  • Increased creativity that emerged from greater detachment from digital devices.
  • Huge relief from the demands to interact with others constantly.
  • A big improvement in communication between teenagers and parents.
  • Gaining much enjoyment from time to read and pursue hobbies and creative projects.
  • Feeling less pressure to maintain outward appearances – fashion, hair, beauty regimes etc.
  • Wanting to embark on a lifestyle change, perhaps move out of a city.
  • Increased flexibility and benefits of working from home.
  • Employers now changing the rules, allowing/requiring more working from home.
  • Feeling good about lessening the carbon emissions into the environment.
  • Understanding more about collective personal responsibility to care for our planet.
  • Feeling more hopeful about humanity’s ability to pull together and respond to the challenge of climate change.

But it has also raised some questions:

How to follow through and keep the momentum of new discoveries going in order to facilitate necessary changes?

How to know where to begin?

How to create and maintain a better work/life balance?

What to do if financial restrictions currently inhibit a person or family’s ability to implement some positive changes?

How to ensure that the changes they want are going to be wise decisions in the long term?

How to get personal needs met without appearing selfish?

As exciting as the prospect of different options and opportunities may be, it may also trigger a lot of fear and stress regarding the ramifications of implementing new or necessary changes. Once the dust settles and a former routine is re-established it is often easier to revert to the safety of the status quo.

The problem with this approach is that once a person feels a strong desire to aspire to a new personal or physical dynamic, this need will only survive being pushed down for so long. It will emerge again and again – a bit like intermittent toothache! This is only natural and an important aspect not to ignore when being confronted by strong inner prompts for change.