Lessons Learnt From Social Distancing

28 Apr 2020 | Hannah Brewer

The weeks of socially distancing and working from home are rolling on. It’s getting to the point where I really couldn’t tell you what day of the week it is. The days are grouped into coffee hours and wine hours, and if I’m honest, I’m kind of ok with that! We are slowly adjusting, and accepting, that this is our new normal. There has been a torrent of content produced to guide us through this crazy time, and our inboxes and social media are becoming saturated with tips on staying positive, keeping connected and the latest at home exercise classes.

So, with this in mind, I wanted to take a step back and really evaluate what has been happening around us. What are we going to take away from this when we are back in our offices, back travelling and back with our families?

Here are my lessons learnt from socially distancing and working from home:


Sorry Madonna – I’m Not A Material Girl

As gorgeous as they are, you cannot cuddle a Chanel handbag. They do not give you reassurance when you are feeling sad and they definitely don’t make good guests for Zoom trivia night. When it comes down to it, we just do not need that much ‘stuff’. Don’t get me wrong, I love nothing more than buying a new pair of shoes, but if I’m being honest, they just provide a quick fix of happiness and the shine wears off after a while. When the purse strings are tight, we can still feel fulfilled and get by without the latest cosmetics, gadgets and gizmos. What we need right now is human contact and a bit of loving – and that is priceless.

Exercise Solves All

Getting a daily dose of endorphins, whether it be from going out for a run or sweating along to the latest hiit live stream, will put you in the absolute best head space imaginable. Fresh air is becoming an addiction and my Fitbit has gone into overdrive as I try to rack up as many steps as possible. Despite working out on a daily basis for the past few years, the aftereffects feel a little sweeter when you’re not caught up with a thousand and one other things. Plus, it’s free – do we really need those fancy gym memberships? Although I am a sucker for the cold, scented towels provided after a spin class…

Anxiety is Normal

Thankfully, I have never been one to experience frequent or intense anxiety, but even me, myself and my high level of resilience (I scored a 9/10 on a mental toughness test, I’ll have you know) have had a bit of a wobble recently. Breathing goes all over the shop, you feel restless and panicky, thoughts whirling like a tornado in your mind – you know the drill. Usually I have some firm words with myself, along the lines of ‘pull yourself together’ or ‘suck it up’, but is that helping me? Not really. Which isn’t surprising as this situation is completely outside the stratosphere of what we consider ‘normal’, so I’ve decided to be kinder to myself and allow myself to feel the rollercoaster of emotions – because it is NORMAL to feel a whole variety of things when there is instability in the world. We are not robots. Everyone will perceive things a little differently, so we need to be using our time to check in on our friends and family. Write yourself a call list and make sure you cross off one person per day.

We Have Lots To Be Thankful For

The world still turns and although COVID-19 has dominated our headlines for most of this year, life does go on. Good things are happening – babies are being born, Mother Nature is getting some time out to recuperate, and Netflix have been producing some solid gold entertainment (get on the Tiger King bandwagon if you haven’t already!). I am thankful that we get to stay in the luxury of our own homes and find enjoyment from the simple things that we often take for granted. The board games, cards and puzzles that usually collect dust have taken the spotlight during my weekends in lock down and provide hours of entertainment when paired with a glass (or two) of wine.

It’s Nice To Be Nice

This is my favourite lesson of living a life of social distancing. When I first arrived in Sydney from London, I noticed a stark difference in the way that Sydneysiders communicated with one another – they actually willingly engage in conversation with others around them. Sorry Londoners, the whole not making eye contact or smiling on the tube is a bit frosty. However, people all over the world have come together and shown compassion and kindness to complete strangers. Everyone is doing their bit, whether that be helping elderly neighbours with their shopping, or providing free services/consulting/advice to anyone affected by COVID-19.

Hallelujah For Technology

Where on earth would be without tech and the internet? Can you imagine?! Social media has been slammed more times than I care to remember over the years, and whilst it definitely has some downfalls, it has been a godsend for all of us to stay connected, and more importantly, have a giggle over the social distancing memes! Shares in Zoom have no doubt skyrocketed as we schedule in various work calls/quizzes/virtual happy hours, and online courses are enabling people to upskill themselves and create value out of the spare time we now find ourselves with. All in all, pretty fab.

…and there you have it, my six key lessons.

We are currently living through history and although it is feeling like an uphill struggle, if we can get back to basics and find some value from this period then we are winning. Even small wins are wins.

To leave you with one final piece – “In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are not worth rushing back to.” – Dave Hollis

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