The silver linings of COVID-19 isolation

Summary

Now that the initial shock of COVID-19 and having to implement isolation measures has passed, a lot of people are realising that there’s plenty of good to come out of this new reality.

Of course, there’s lots of things we miss (hello kisses, hugs with friends, dinners out and so much more), but there’s also plenty we’d like to see continue once restrictions are lifted.

Let’s take a look at some of the good things that have emerged over the past month or so.

More community connection

One of the really lovely things that’s come from spending more time at home and in our neighbourhoods is the connections with the people that live around us. People are saying hello in the streets on their daily walks, offering to shop for less mobile neighbours, and even participating in celebrations like driveway parties.

Less traffic and pollution

Seeing pictures of the Himalayas not shrouded by smog has been a stark reminder of the impact traffic has on the environment. It might not be so bad in Australia, but less cars on the road has certainly had an impact on air quality, particularly in Sydney and Brisbane. Reconsidering if that car trip is actually essential is something we’d love to see more of when restrictions are lifted.

More flexible work

Working from home definitely comes with its challenges. But under normal circumstances, when children aren’t underfoot, it can be a massive timesaver for many people. Spending a couple of days each week working from home and saving on the commute time can equal more time for cooking healthy meals, more time for an afternoon walk and more equal distribution of household chores between couples.

It’s also great to see a greater acceptance of children interrupting meetings, rather than it being worldwide news. A recognition that we are fitting work around life, rather than life around work would be lovely to see continue.

Less soldiering on

One of the benefits of COVID-19 isolation has been a lower than usual incidence of flu compared to April last year. Why? Well, because viruses don’t infect you by themselves, they need a host. With everyone staying home, there’s less opportunity for normal seasonal viruses like the common cold and influenza to spread. Taking this time as an important reminder of the power of staying home and resting when unwell, rather than soldiering on to work or school, is something we’d love to see continue for improved community health.

It’s also great to see people prioritising hygiene practices, like remembering to cough into your elbow and thorough handwashing. Continuing these habits will have a big impact on the spread of many common viruses, not just COVID-19.

More shopping small and local

As we stay close to home in our neighbourhoods, it’s been great to see people supporting small local businesses for essential purchases. Whether it’s continuing the daily coffee, supporting the local butcher and green grocer, or getting weekly takeaway to help and keep the hospitality sector alive, it’s been great to see people putting their money into the businesses we want to continue supporting when all this is behind us

Less consumerism

One benefit of a global pandemic is that it forces you to focus on what’s important. And it turns out that isn’t the latest must-have toy, yet another new drink bottle or plastic gadget you’ll get rid of in your next Marie Kondo-inspired clear out in 12 months’ time. Focusing on buying only what we need will have a big impact on our environment, long-term.

More respect for the front-line

And of course, the big thing that we really, really love about this time of isolation is the growing respect for all our front-line workers. To our doctors, nurses, posties and delivery drivers, teachers, supermarket workers and more – we’re so grateful for your service.

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