We’ve been home for a couple of weeks now and oh-so-slowly some of us are starting to feel a little bleak about the state of the world. We can’t travel, see loved ones, walk our four-legged friends, or even grab a cuppa at the mall. The loss of independence in our attempt to #flattenthecurve doesn’t feel great. But it’s important to remember that every cloud has a silver lining. After some thinking, we’ve come up with five good things that will follow from Covid-19. So here’s to keeping your chin up!
In line with our #21daysofpositivity, we thought we’d show you what the glass half-full looks like. We still have many challenges to overcome (as a nation, as families, and as individuals), but it’s important to maintain hope through this all. Here are some of the things that we reckon will follow from this pandemic:
1. Renewed appreciation for loved ones
After weeks of either being trapped in the house with them, or being trapped in your house away from them, it’s safe to say we have a new appreciation for our loved ones. Life sometimes gets so busy that we forget to make time for family. But Covid-19 and the resultant national lockdown has forced us to slow down and show love.
If you’ve been in lockdown with your family, there has been plenty opportunity for you to reflect upon your relationships with them. Sure, it hasn’t been without its frustrations. But for the most part, our families have stepped up to try be as supportive (and patient) as possible. And if you’ve been self-isolating away from your family, the appreciation has probably increased sevenfold. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, after all.
For so many of us, there is nothing we want more than to reunite with friends and family over a braai. We want to embrace, hold hands, and share a bottle of wine. This virus has shown us just how much contact means and I doubt our relationships will ever be taken for granted again.
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2. The opportunity to work from home more often
Many companies were caught in a mad scramble a few days before the national lockdown. In an attempt to aid social-distancing measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, many companies encouraged staff to work from home – even if the infrastructure wasn’t quite there yet…
A few weeks in and the kinks have been ironed out. Companies have had to develop workable systems so that employees can work from home effectively. You’ve no doubt developed a routine (and even coping mechanisms) to help you deal with work from home.
The hope is that companies will make use of this newly-developed infrastructure moving forward. It’s effective – it saves time and keeps overheads low. This means that there may be less mornings in traffic and more productivity from the comfort of your own home.
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3. Cleaner ways of transacting
The days of grubby cash exchanging hands are over, for the most part. It was recommended that alternative payment methods are used during the Covid-19 pandemic because cash is infamously dirty. Forbes recently noted that the virus has “changed money forever”.
In 2017 Time reported that “paper money can harbour thousands of microbes from every environment it touches – whether that’s someone’s fingers, a waiter’s apron, a vending machine or the dank area under someone’s mattress.” But it took a devastating global pandemic for us to take notice of this.
Many retailers have switched to cashless, contactless transacting like Zapper and Snapscan. People are also choosing to shop online instead. In general, this is a better move for our health and safety. Three cheers for minimising contact with thousands of pesky microbes!
4. Heightened hygiene practices in public spaces
If you’ve been anywhere near the shops in the last few weeks, you know that you’re basically sanitised head-to-toe upon entry. You’ll also have noticed that retail, banking and public sector personnel are kitted in gloves no matter where you go.
While costly, this could be a practise that is extended far beyond lockdown, and we have Covid-19 to thank for that. People in these industries come into contact with hundreds, if not thousands, of people daily. Their immune systems are permanently having to work double as hard to protect them from common infections and viruses.
Protecting people in the public and retail sectors should be a given. And if these people are protected and healthy, then so are we. We are in a position to be far more aware of the real cost of our interactions now – so let’s use this for the better.
5. Increased focus on personal health
Now more than ever, we’re dutifully taking our multivitamins, washing our hands, and eating our veggies. Firstly, we’re all mildly terrified of Covid-19. And secondly, for the first time in ages, we actually have the time to focus on self-care and maintaining our personal health.
During lockdown, you will undoubtedly develop habits and routines that you could tailor to extend post-lockdown. If you’ve finally figured out that smoothies are low-effort wonders, or ten push-ups every day isn’t so bad, consider keeping these habits in the future.
This is a unique opportunity for us to recalibrate our health and our lifestyle habits. Our focus on our well-being is something we should carry with us through life – not just in the wake of Covid-19.
By Features Writer Ashton Kirsten