The pandemic affected all of us regardless of our location, career, financial status, and countless other factors. It highlighted how we experience the same letdowns, victories, and hopes for the future, even from the other side of the world. Being confined to the four walls of our homes had adverse side effects on our physical health and mental health.
In addition to reduced opportunities for physical activity that led to us getting tired easier, we also experienced heightened feelings of unease and anxiety. Those who live alone had an even harder time as we had almost little to no social interaction at all. The pandemic brought the whole world to a standstill and brought everybody back to basics.
As things slowly start to open up again and we transition into the so-called new normal, we’re also seeing how diverse the effects of the pandemic have been on the different sectors of society. Particularly for those in financially difficult situations, the elderly, the youth, people of color, and those with disabilities, the pandemic has caused dire situations. Unemployment, health risks, and child care problems have disproportionately affected those on the lower end of the income spectrum worldwide.
Even as some experts predicted that the pandemic would somehow level the playing field among people, as the virus didn’t discriminate, we see that this isn’t quite the case. Single-parent families had even harder times keeping up with new child care needs than families that could afford to have one parent take time off to fill in the gap.
Stronger Social Ties
One of the most significant changes we’ve seen in this new normal is the pursuit of stronger social ties. Going into our pandemic bubbles had us building deeper and stronger connections with the people in our lives and even our communities. Families found themselves only having each other to lean on during our stint indoors. Our colleagues and friends were no longer just a drive away.
Even as messaging and video platforms run abundant, there was a definite yearning for physical connection in this day and age. Parents spent unprecedented amounts of time with their children as they worked from home and guided the youth during their transition to virtual learning.
Outside of our immediate families, we also grew a greater sense of community. Supporting local businesses to keep their doors open also became widely popular. Choosing local cafés and restaurants instead of bigger chains has led to some great companies staying alive and even thriving.
Turning our homes into pseudo-offices and classrooms had its downsides. It blurred the lines between productivity and relaxation. It also put so many schedules and condensed them into one space, especially for households with more than four people to consider.
Employers were committed to prioritizing their employee’s health and wellness and offered different options for remote work. Remote work also influenced how we make our purchases, our activities at home, and what we choose to put our efforts into. Maintaining productivity even as teams started working separately there was a major focus for most companies.
The longer hours and learning curve that came during this period had people looking for possible outlets for recreation on their off days. This influenced the gaming, streaming, and online shopping industry as more purchases were made from home despite most people’s financial difficulties. Spending more time at home also gave us time to focus on the other aspects of our lives.
Home renovation projects to improve the spaces we had at home became the go-to project. Our cars stuck in our driveways became a priority as garage door installations, patio updates, and garden landscaping were done to better utilize our outdoor spaces. Since life was going by at home, offsetting the new work conditions with a better environment made the days go by faster.
Pursuing Your Passions
Along with changes to our home, we also made major changes to our daily lives. Whether it was personally or professionally, we started wanting to feel more fulfillment out of our days. Passion projects that we put off for years as we focused on the hustle and bustle of our daily lives were suddenly viable options. While mass layoffs were happening in some industries, some sectors were experiencing a boom.
Companies focused on e-commerce, information technology, digital marketing, and the food industry continued navigating the pandemic. People also started opening up to more creative pursuits as they finally had the time to allocate to them. Learning a new language or instrument, taking up new courses online, and other hobbies like reading, writing, drawing, and painting became a thing again.
Yearning for deeper connections with our loved ones had us managing our working hours better, and the time we freed up allowed us more opportunities to pursue passion projects. Stronger community ties don’t look like they’re going anywhere anytime soon as people continue to advocate for small businesses and the underprivileged.