COVID-19 has, without a doubt, changed the way we live – the way we socialise, shop, work (and workout). However, despite the difficulty this has caused for families across the country, such changes have also prompted new perspectives, new hobbies (like cross–stitch, pictured) and new, often better, ways of living. Families and communities have also slowed down and come to appreciate the simple pleasures of spending time together.
Here we collect a range of comments we’ve received from staff and the people and families we work with about what’s worked for them, and what they hope will continue when life returns to normal.
“It sounds simple but I’ve rediscovered my garden during lockdown. A number of my friends and family have been very ill during the lockdown period (although none of them actually had COVID-19) and having my garden to retreat to has brought me such peace.
Many days I’d head out there for a rare cuppa on my own to watch the birds drink from my newly-cleaned birdbath and nibble the food I’ve left. Most inspiring of all is watching the plants that started lockdown as twigs grow into glorious shades of greenery.
Thanks to lockdown I’m more appreciative of how nature can lift our spirits and I’m going to make jolly sure I make time in future to clean out the birdbath, fill it often and provide plenty of yummy food for my wee robins, as they give me so much pleasure to watch them”. – Liz
“We’ve just enjoyed sitting down together for tea every night as a family and having a chat and catch up. In the past we’ve just grabbed a quick something in between the kids’ football/swimming/karate sessions etc so it’s been good to spend more time together. As isolation’s gone on there’s been a bit more falling out but we definitely intend to re-implement it when isolation finishes… As soon as we can enjoy being in each other’s company for more than two minutes again without getting stress-induced heartburn! In all seriousness it’s been really nice and we’re definitely going to make more time for it going forward if we can)”. – Simon
“Because of isolation my parents’ use of technology has improved out of necessity, which has allowed me to share stuff like photos and videos to keep them more connected.
It’s nice because previously I’d only speak to them once a week, and that’s definitely improved because of our current situation, and will probably continue now they’ve done the hard part and learnt the technology!” – Rachael.
“I live very close to a woodland park and nature reserve that has so many different birds living there. I walk there most days (initially for my daily permitted exercise as I can walk without seeing others) and with the help of an app called ChirpOMatic, I have been learning different bird song. I can now successfully identify blackbirds, robins, wrens, parakeets and magpies without the app!
The app is brilliant… It listens in real-time, helps you identify the birds you can hear and gives a short description of the type of song and its meaning – it might be a distress or warning call, for instance. I keep identifying new birds with each passing week, and the greater connection to nature that’s grown out of it is something that will continue to enrich my life going forward”. – Heidi
“It’s nice because previously I’d only speak to them once a week, and that’s definitely improved because of our current situation.”
“Before lockdown, like many families, my son went to a childminder and grandparents for most of the week. My husband and I took it in turns to busily drop off and collect him, always rushing off to catch a train at either end of the day. It’s not been easy having him at home and balancing work with childcare. However, we have learnt to slow down and have breakfast, lunch and tea together most days. He’s growing up so quickly and time together is very precious. While we are all looking forward to getting back to some normality, we definitely don’t want to go exactly back to the busy lives we led before COVID-19.”
“I noticed I was getting really fat and lethargic in lockdown, and spending too much time by myself was doing my nut in! I now do 30 minutes exercise every morning, which has helped me to stay positive and counter the size of my growing bum.
I do a computer-based job so I sit down while I work and exercise has really helped me to be more positive and productive throughout the day… well, most days anyway. I’ve also been drinking a lot less alcohol (although that’s been enforced so I’m not sure it will continue now the pubs have reopened!)” – Rachael
“One thing that has developed out of isolation is a better relationship with my neighbours. Even before lockdown everything was perfectly civil between us but the past few months have allowed us all a window into each other’s lives and provided a space for more genuine interactions.
For instance the other day I was pottering about doing maintenance around the back of my house and saw my neighbour in her garden. I know she’s recently split up with her partner and she looked like she could do with a chat. Speaking about lockdown allowed me to strike up a conversation but then we moved into shared interests such as art and music. We ended up sharing our contact details – it’s lovely to discover shared interests and make new and lasting friendships”. – Mike
“I’ve always been quite active at the gym and would attend four or five times a week, including three or four strength sessions and a boxing lesson. It’s important to me as it’s a form of meditation… an opportunity to let my thoughts of daily life go with a catchy beat on my headphones. Moving to a home-based programme was initially a challenge as I didn’t realise how much you were provided with exercise activities just by the equipment within a gym. However, with a few cheap resistance bands and my own bodyweight I had to start considering what exercises would challenge and interest me.
I now appreciate the simplicity of pushing and pulling my own body weight and the value of the tree in our back garden to anchor my resistance bands. It’s all been quite easy to implement… the hardest part was convincing my other half to let me attach a pull-up bar to the side of the house! I do miss the gym for the opportunity to people watch and for the chance to say the odd cursory hello to a fellow member, but I’ll definitely continue my current exercise routine for the convenience and the satisfaction of experimenting with different ways of using your body as the main piece of equipment. However, my gym membership will also be renewed to add those fleeting and important social interactions”.– Ron
“I’d been intending to try open water swimming for about five years and even gone as far as buying a wetsuit, but I’d only ever used it at the beach in the summer. When lockdown closed all the gyms and pools I realised I still needed to get some exercise, so I finally took the plunge! I really enjoyed it, was buzzing for about an hour afterwards, and had a really good night’s sleep that night. It’s definitely going to be a part of my exercise routine in future”. – Matt
What will your family continue after lockdown – any new hobbies or life hacks that have changed the way you do things for the better? Let us know on social media. Find and tag us on Facebook using @familyaction, Twitter and Instagram using @family_action.