The enforced lockdown that arose as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic initially seemed like a nightmare but, as the saying goes, diamonds are formed under pressure, and the lessons we’ve learnt from lockdown are definitely pearls of wisdom.
Words By Alana Harris
If one thing’s certain about 2020, it’s that nobody was expecting a global pandemic to occur at all, let alone for one to put an indefinite pause on any kind of normality. When the UK was forced into a nation-wide lockdown, an optimistic three-week end mark was placed in people’s mind. This proved, of course, to be a very optimistic figure indeed, with the full lockdown ending up spanning a lengthy seven weeks.
In these seven weeks, everybody was forced to adapt to a new normal, one which was confined to the insides of their houses. Prior to this pandemic, if you were to tell someone they would have to spend a solid seven weeks not being able to go anywhere, only able to leave their houses for an essential food shop, they’d balk in horror. Yet here we are, out the other side, equipped with lessons we otherwise may never have known.
For many, lockdown served as a societal eye opener. Everything grinding to a halt illuminated the materialistic manners of the modern civilisation and forced individuals to re-evaluate their priorities. Georgina, international relations student, commented “Lockdown was definitely a big wake up call. I learnt to look at the happiness that little things bring to me, like a nice cup of tea with the family or doing small activities together. It really reinforced the importance of friends and family and how important it is to look after one another.”
We’ve all heard the saying you don’t know what you’ve got until its gone, and with lockdown eradicating human contact with anybody outside of your immediate household, we were forced to see just how much importance our personal relationships hold in our lives. Katie, psychology student, expressed “Lockdown has taught me the true value of human contact. Even with evolving technology and constant access to apps like FaceTime and Zoom, there really is no comparison to real-life connection.” Basically, we’ll take a real pub quiz over a zoom one any day.
Scrutiny of people’s priorities has not just been internal; our government has also come under fire for its apparent placement of priority upon economical security over people’s safety. Ollie Edwards, engineering student, observed “It’s been a sad reminder of how economically driven the world is, I just think that it’s gone to show that even in a time of great stress and need for us to really put things to a halt, everyone has just been competing globally to have the smallest lockdown just so that they can keep their economy up”.
Now, post-lockdown, the scrutiny hasn’t stopped, Ollie continued “The UK is a prime example of a country which opened up things way too quickly just for sake of the economy, which is necessity to an extent but it just goes to show how economically driven our government is and how that’s always going to come first over people’s well-being”.
On a more positive note, there’s one lesson about well-being we all seem to be in agreement over and that’s that we are incredibly lucky to have the NHS. If we clapped every single day for the rest of our lives it still wouldn’t be enough to thank all of the incredible employees of our health service for their remarkable work. It’s just a shame it took a global pandemic for the nation to unite and thank the NHS for the work it’s been doing all along but it’s one lesson we’ll be sure to remember.
Another slightly delayed lesson learnt as a by-product of lockdown is the fact that your working career shouldn’t be your absolute everything.
Having drive and career aspirations is of course a positive thing, but when thousands of people were furloughed, or worse, made redundant, it created a painful reminder that there’s much more to life than just work. Not only has the importance of striking a balance been work, personal relationships and your own physical and mental well-being been emphasised, but the working oneself to the bone mentality has been derailed. With the closure of millions of offices and the adaption of commuters learning to work from their bedrooms, the fast paced, high price tagged nature of city living and working has become a lot less appealing as a recipe for happiness.
Lastly, we learnt perhaps one of the most imperative lessons; the value of nature. Whilst the human inhabitants of the planet were in lockdown, nature received a much-needed shot at revival. Swans were seen in the waters of Venice, air pollution levels dropped across the world and individuals’ relationship with nature was reinvigorated. Being cooped inside has made us appreciate the outside world by ten-fold, and has hopefully meant that the protection of our planet has become pertinent to the masses.
We’ve received a wake-up call on a global level, one which has taught us to cherish our loved ones, be kinder to ourselves, be more critical of the society we live in and to protect the beautiful world we live in. Unlike Instagram challenges, Joe Wicks workouts and mass banana bread making, it’s vital that these lessons aren’t left in lockdown.