and moving forward with intention
With many lockdown restrictions around the UK having now been lifted, a lot still remains uncertain about the future. Perhaps you feel ready to jump straight back into the lifestyle you were leading before the pandemic and have already started filling up your diary with engagements, or maybe you feel more apprehensive about the prospect of returning to ‘normality’. However you’re feeling currently, now is an ideal time to pause and reflect on your experiences so far.
The pandemic has influenced people’s lives in countless different ways, and each of us has responded differently to these influences, too. The past few months have taken their toll on many people’s mental wellbeing, whilst others have found some much-needed calm in a simpler way of life. Some have enjoyed the slower pace, whilst others have been driven stir-crazy. Some have loved working from home, whilst others have been left feeling isolated and overwhelmed. It has caused serious financial difficulties for some, whilst others have been able to seize the opportunity to save money usually spent on social activities and travelling. Some have felt stuck in the company of others, whilst others have been able to enjoy quality time with those they love.
Whether you’ve loved lockdown, struggled through it, or (like many) have had fairly mixed feelings about it all, see if you can take some time to think honestly about how it’s felt for you, which aspects have been the most challenging and the most positive, and how you want to move forward from this point. Remember not to be too harsh on yourself when thinking about any difficult or negative aspects — it’s important to acknowledge that this has been an extremely strange time to be living through, and a devastating one for some.
Where do we go from here?
When it comes to looking ahead, you aren’t alone if you’re thinking about making some changes in your life. People Matter surveyed just under 900 people in a range of circumstances on their experiences of lockdown, and we found that only 15% were intending to return completely to their lives as they were before the pandemic. That means that 85% are considering making changes in some way.
If this includes you, you might like to ask yourself the following questions as a starting point for your reflections:
As restrictions ease, is there anything that you’d like to consciously bring with you as we move forward? Is there anything that you are keen to leave behind?
To get your thoughts flowing, below are some of the reflections from the team here at People Matter.
Things we want to keep with us:
- ‘Being more appreciative of the simpler things, not taking things for granted as much and feeling more grateful’
- ‘Feeling more mindful and aware of my actions and decisions’
- ‘Being kinder to the environment through traveling less’
- ‘A slower pace of life than before — not cramming my free time full of activities just because I can!’
- ‘Getting more sleep’
- ‘Exercising more’
- ‘Not snacking on my breaks like I did when working in an office — instead going out into the garden or doing a quick chore to clear my head’
- ‘Connecting with friends and family more frequently through social media, phone and/or video calls. Since I was so used to meeting friends in person, I didn’t have the need or see the need to call. Now however, I am making more of an effort to set some time aside to call more frequently. This is something that I will definitely bring with me as we move forward.’
- ‘Walking in the woods or nature…it is extremely peaceful and calming. The best thing is walking without my music or phone — I have been practising being present more often. It’s easier said than done, but once you get the hang of it you won’t want to go back.’
- ‘Reading books that I have been meaning to read for a long time!’
- ‘I’m grateful that my emptier diary provided me with the time and energy to get back into running, which I’d like to try to keep up’
Things we’re keen to leave behind:
- ‘I’d have to say not being able to see family for such a long time’
- ‘Perhaps the volume of Zoom calls — as someone who finds virtual socialising fairly draining, this has been quite challenging at times!’
- ‘Although I consider myself an introvert, it is amazing how much my life has been impacted by the lack of other people’
- ‘Cakes! And maybe cutting down on coffee? (I doubt it…)’
Finally, don’t forget to create some actions or goals based on your reflections — perhaps in the form of some commitments to yourself going forward.