These are challenging times indeed. While we have been sharing an unprecedented and global situation, we will all have been experiencing it in our own way. We have all been facing overlapping but unique struggles with this according to our own sets of circumstances, our life experience, and our personalities. While there is fear, uncertainty and many daily dilemmas to face, there has also been kindness, compassion and a sense of community. Perhaps we have all needed to think about what our own strengths and struggles are so we could draw on the former and know when to ask for help to manage the latter. No matter where we live or what our income is we will all have been affected in some way – practical, physical, emotional, and probably all of those. We will all have had to find stores of resilience we didn’t know we had.
Some of us may, though, have found a surprising ‘safety’ in the period of lockdown – a reduction in anxiety because our interactions with others have been necessarily reduced. So now, perhaps, as many people have increasingly begun to return to a more normal life, albeit a new normal, it may be at this time that some of us will be struggling the most. How can that transition be managed in a way that feels safe physically and emotionally?
Another unintended outcome of this very strange event is that for some people the period of lockdown has served to underline, perhaps for the first time, a dissatisfaction with life as they had been living it. Perhaps working from home has made some people realise how much stress the 9-5 commute and office culture was causing, so the last thing they would want is to go back to things the way they were. It may have dawned on others just how much they depended on the everyday social interactions of their workplace for their mental well-being.
The necessity of suddenly spending a lot of time together as a couple or a family may have been revelatory – for good or ill. For people who live alone there will have been completely different challenges; there can be very few of us, whatever our circumstances, who won’t have felt some profound effect of this experience.
Of course, daily life may not be back to the familiar normal we knew before for some time but perhaps it would be valuable for all of us to take the opportunity to ask ourselves – Do we want it to?