Learning lockdown lessons as we reopen again

Learning lockdown lessons as we reopen again
Myself and my husband are of course, like everyone, so happy at the prospect of a return to some normality – but I am worried about balancing this return to a new normal while not leaving behind some of the things that we learned during the pandemic.

What your feeling shows is really good emotional awareness – you are trying to future proof your relationship without being overly anxious about it. Just like when we had to adjust to life during lockdown, we will now have to readjust to life as society once again opens up. For many of us it’s fair to say that things won’t be quite ‘the same’ and in a lot of cases this is a positive.

The first thing to do is to sit down and have a conversation with your spouse about your expectations. How will you now manage your family calendar again, prioritising your needs, various extracurricular activities and time together. What are the things that are really important that you learned from the pandemic that you want to make sure you maintain? Perhaps it’s having that family dinner all together every evening or having more down time together. Many people noted that the huge positive of lockdowns was more family time together and a more relaxed slower pace to life. Can you maintain some of these positives? For example, do your kids really need to return to all of their extracurricular activities? The pandemic helped people to let go of the dangerous cultural phenomenon of wearing being ‘busy all the time’ as some sort of a badge of honour.

You might still be anxious about certain social situations, all of these things need to be talked about. Give yourselves and your children time to re-adjust and keep talking about your expectations which may well differ. One of you might want to jump into everything you can do as things reopen, while the other might want to take a more cautious approach, so it’s important to come to a compromise.

Just like when the lockdowns began you worked out your schedules, who would do what and what new roles and responsibilities you each have – you once again need to evaluate all of these things and adjust accordingly. It’s probably a good idea at this point that you talk to your employer about continuing flexibility, for example maybe you have really enjoyed that you have been able to do the school run or be able to spend a weekday afternoon taking the kids to the park. The vast majority of people that are usually office based have said that they are hoping when offices reopen for a blended approach, in other words several days at home and several days in the office. Several pieces of research have shown, in general, staff productivity actually increased working from home. Doing this will help inform your new ‘out of lockdown’ family timetable.

It’s important that the good habits you might have had pre-lockdown like a weekly date night out are now re-introduced and maintained. Don’t let yourselves fall into the trappings of the things that didn’t work before, focus on the things that have made life better, the things you want to reintroduce and together work out practical ways to make your new normal happen.