Learning to love our lives under lockdown

Surprise benefits: four key areas of improvement that have emerged during lockdowns.

Can occasional lockdowns be good for us? Being confined to our homes by the pandemic has been a frustrating experience for many – but it has also produced some unexpected benefits.

The student woke with a start. 7:30! She should be getting her disabled mother up, making breakfast, putting her brother on the bus. He would be late; she would have to stand on her train to college. Help!

Then she realised: there was a lockdown. None of them had to go anywhere. She went back to sleep.

The prospect of another lockdown brings a collective groan. The challenges are enormous. Some have managed to find a silver lining.

The environment: With less travel, and factories closed, carbon emissions have dropped: China’s lockdown saw them fall by a quarter. Reports are of less polluted air, cleaner rivers and animals reclaiming territory.

Health: Since exercise is one of the few reasons to leave the house, people are doing it. With more time to prepare food, people are eating better. They are also getting more sleep.

Spare time: We are used to rushing from place to place. Lockdowns have given us the chance to slow down.

Family life: Being confined to home has given families opportunity to do things together. Pets are receiving more attention.

Social responsibility: Lockdowns have brought communities together. They have brought greater appreciation of those doing vital jobs. When the British government asked for 250,000 NHS volunteers, it received 750,000 replies. In the UAE, a buddy system has been set up.

Can occasional lockdowns be good?

Inside story

No: with the damage to the economy, education and mental health, they do more harm than good. What may be tolerable to people in comfortable homes is misery for those in poor conditions.

Yes: what we lack in the modern world are opportunities to appreciate what we have. Lockdowns help us realise how lucky we are. The fall in road and air traffic allows us to enjoy peace and quiet and a less polluted environment.

You Decide

  1. What has been the most positive thing about lockdown life for you?

Activities

  1. Draw a picture of the view from your window.

Some People Say...

“It is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues… are created, strengthened and maintained.”

Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965), British politician

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
It is generally agreed that poor people have suffered disproportionately as a result of lockdowns. A new survey shows that families with healthy incomes have actually come out richer than they were before, because their spending on things like holidays has been reduced. Rail commuters have been spared the cost of expensive season tickets by working from home. But many workers who were already badly paid have been furloughed or lost their jobs, and have had to use up their savings to survive.
What do we not know?
One main area of debate is around whether there should be lockdowns at all. Some politicians argue that for a government to force people to stay at home is an abuse of civil liberties, and that all that is needed is for people to behave responsibly. But most scientists see lockdowns as the only way to control the pandemic, and there have been enough examples of people organising illegal gatherings to indicate that the public cannot always be relied upon to act sensibly.

Word Watch

Collective
Shared by a number of people. As a noun, it means a business or organisation owned and controlled by the people who work in it.
Silver lining
“Every cloud has a silver lining” is a traditional saying. In Milton’s masque Comus, a lady lost in a wood sees “A sable cloud/Turn forth its silver lining to the night.”
UAE
The United Arab Emirates. A country in the Middle East consisting of a federation of seven states. Its capital is Abu Dhabi.

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