Reframing Lockdown: Time To Make a Change?
This week’s community post comes from Anthony Peacock, who takes care of all things PR here at ULU. Anthony has written an insightful piece about his thoughts on the current lockdown situation we all find ourselves in. If you’re in desperate need of a perception shift right now, look no further than Anthony’s thought-provoking article, Time to Make a Change?
Time to make a change?
What have you been up to during ‘lockdown’? People I know have reacted to it in very different ways. Some have been pacing their flats and houses like caged tigers. Others are being driven mad by the prospect of becoming part-time teachers on top of their normal jobs. And yet more are simply worried and sleepless, concerned at how long their jobs and businesses will go on for. And there are a few for whom it’s largely business as usual, going about their busy everyday lives as if not much had happened.
All of these reactions are understandable. There’s no template for how you should behave in these unprecedented circumstances. But it’s fair to say that there are more negative thoughts than positive ones, and under a regime that has been often compared to wartime, you can see why people think that way.
But more than ever, it’s important to try and see the plus side too. For all the Churchillian talk, this isn’t actually war. Nobody has to go and fight, and while the fatalities associated with Covid-19 are frightening, the numbers can’t be compared to the casualties of war.
Instead, people are only being asked to stay at home. One of the biggest regrets I often hear from people with hectic lives is that they don’t have enough time to spend with their families. These are perhaps not the ideal circumstances you’d want to be presented with that time under, but nonetheless that time is now. Furthermore, we’re all freer from distractions than usual, with the possibilities for going out being limited.
In many ways, the ‘wartime’ talk is only there because it’s a return to 1930s lifestyles for a few months. Families have to stick together and spend time in each other’s company that they wouldn’t normally. In years to come, you might just look back at this time as having been precious. Because perception of reality counts as much as the reality itself.
The chance to do stuff you wouldn’t normally do doesn’t only apply to families. Personally, I’ve spent a lot of time reading, as well as catching up on all the little tasks I’ve been meaning to do. It’s curiously liberating. Several other self-employed people say that their accounts and archives have never been more up to date and in order. And DIY supplies have also had a spike in sales, as people get round to doing jobs that have been hanging around their necks for ages.
There are films I’ve finally been able to watch as well, not to mention programmes that have been clogging up my iPlayer. And yes, it’s been great to get a bit more sleep than normal – and not feel guilty about it.
But most of all, there’s been a palpable reset to everyday working life. It gives you the time and mental space to question everything you’ve been doing up to now, to really think about whether or not you want to keep on doing things in exactly the same way in future. To make proper strategic plans, in detail, which you never had the mental bandwidth to do before. It’s so easy to get stuck into a rut and keep doing things in the same way, simply because you’ve never seen an alternative.
Coronavirus has shown everyone that they can have a different life from what they’ve been used to. Overall, it’s not a better life – but probably everyone can agree that there are certain aspects to it that are potentially better.
Most people now have a bit more time on their hands, and space to discover what it is that they really enjoy doing. Many years ago, I started writing short stories, some of which were published. I loved it but ran out of time to finish many others. Now I’ve started writing again for pleasure, having actually forgotten how much I liked it.
There’s also a greater awareness generally than before of people more vulnerable than us; a more globally social outlook now that so many people have been socially distanced. And through that, perhaps a greater realisation of what’s really important to us in life.
Most of us have dreamed at some point of a ‘career break’ but have never been able to justify it before. Now it’s happened, like it or not. And that might just lead to a new chapter, which would never otherwise have been opened.
Of course, that’s a forcibly optimistic view. But the greatest weapon we have in this common crisis is positivity, so let’s not apologise for that. It’s important to look beyond the worry of the next few months and see the opportunities out there afterwards.
Because there will be an afterwards, and chances are that the world won’t quite be the same place at the other end of this. People will of course be more aware of all the forces beyond our control, but just as aware that there are other things you can definitely influence – such as the way you work and what you do.
One final thing to think about. Moments like this occur only once in a lifetime (thankfully). When you look back at it in years to come, will you regret not making some lasting changes while you had the chance?