What I’ve learnt from my time in Covid-19 lockdown
Covid-19 will be another black swan event featured in history books and talked about for many years to come.
Aside from the devastating effects this virus has had on society, the virus has also changed our behaviours going forward. I have outlined below some of the “new norms” that I have observed and think will stay in a post Covid-19 world.
New normal #1: calling and video calling
With lockdown rules in place, we can’t visit our friends and have a face to face conversation. Instead, we are forced to phone / video call them.
I find that every weekend now, I am phone / video calling friends and just talking about anything and everything, from how they are doing, how they have spent their time in isolation, what they have read/learnt if they are avid readers and what they are watching if they have been watching a lot of movies.
I have recognised the level of convenience for both parties in doing this and I think this is a behaviour that although will not replace a face to face catch up with a friend, will stick as a complementary way to catch up with a friend on a regular basis in a post Covid-19 world.
Whilst in the past, we would catch up with our friends over lunch or dinner face to face and I find, this happened much more infrequently than I would have liked, we will recognise that phone / video calling is a complementary and flexible option for both parties to catch up if they would like to catch up more frequently. Slotting 1 hour over the phone is much easier than scheduling a lunch / dinner catch up as it is always the case that there is travel time for both sides and other familial commitments (I.e a baby).
As a personal example, I have teed in time for an accountability catch up on goals with a friend on a weekly basis, where we give each 5 minute spiels on how we are progressing with our goals.
I can see this will continue post Covid-19, which has normalised phone / video calling.
New normal #2: walks / runs
Looking outside my window, there is usually one person that is walking / running. The fact that everyone is locked down in their rooms / sedentary has fueled the need for people to go for walks / runs. I find that I am sitting home longer than I should be and I now walk / run once every day around the block to get some form of exercise. Staying sedentary feels horrible and I think everyone is feeling the same after seven weeks in lockdown.
After this lockdown, I can imagine that some habits built up during Covid-19 will stay. I did not discover that the area around me was so nice to walk around, with geese, boats and water but for Covid-19. I now have a daily routine of walking / running around the block and I don’t see this habit changing in a post Covid-19 world.
New normal #3: home cooked meals
Everyone during this lockdown has been forced to cook or order takeaway.
Takeaway is expensive and so having to plan three meals a day now, I have had to think about the best diet for me that is both yummy and healthy. If you have read my other posts, you will know that I have had some health issues in the past and so when I eat at home, I usually have a nutritiously well balanced diet.
Covid-19 triggered me to start cooking again. I have cooked steaks / mushrooms / vegetables / sweet potatoes in the pan.
Covid-19 also triggered me to change what I ate on a daily basis. I wouldn’t have done this if the circumstances had not otherwise changed.
After Covid-19 is over, I can imagine that these new habits will stick.
New normal #4: wearing of face masks
A big cultural difference between western and eastern society is that mask wearing is common and normal in eastern society whilst mask wearing is uncommon and viewed as strange in western society.
I have used a face mask in Korea before to keep my nose and mouth warm during winter. This same mask I ended up bringing to London.
I remember during a work Christmas party in London, I asked the question to a colleague whether it would be strange to wear a face mask in London and I got a look of disapproval and a very emphatic yes.
Since Covid-19, I have seen a lot more people wear it. Although widespread adoption has not happened, wearing a face mask has been normalised. That is a big step in the right direction and culturally, I can imagine that in the future if I wore a face mask, it would be more acceptable and not as strange as it would be otherwise be in a pre Covid-19 world.
New normal #5: washing hands
I am little smug writing about this one, because pre Covid-19 I was already using hand sanitizer when eating out at restaurants and wipes to wipe down my phone, so when panic buying started, I already had hand sanitizer and wipes at home.
I have been a big advocate of washing my hands because of the many bad experiences of getting sick because of not doing so. These were formative experiences, as I read and learnt a lot about bacteria and viruses after this. I realised how preventable these illnesses are if we just practiced good hygiene.
Going forward, I think the habit now of washing hands more frequently will become a habit that won’t be easily forgotten. Fear is a powerful driver of action.