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What we’ve learnt from lockdown

Behavioural Insights Adviser at Bupa UK
10 July 2020

For many people, lockdown has been one of the most challenging things we’ve experienced in our lifetime, for all sorts of reasons. But as lockdown restrictions ease and life starts to edge back to normality, what lessons have we learnt that we’re keen to take forward?

Here, I look at some positive behaviours we may have developed during lockdown and perhaps ones we should all try to maintain.


Never before have we been thrown into a situation where we’ve had time to reflect on the things we perhaps take for granted. Hugging your grandchildren, meeting your friends in a bustling café or hosting Sunday lunch for the family are all things that were taken away overnight.

Continue the behaviour. Show more gratitude towards all the people and things that make your life fuller and happier. Showing gratitude not only feels good, but it encourages kindness and compassion in both the recipient and those who witness the expression.

Research has shown that practising gratitude is a great way to improve your wellbeing. Here are some simple ways to do it.

  • Keep a gratitude journal. Note down things you’re grateful for each day.
  • Use meditation and mindfulness to bring your mind to the present moment and focus on what you’re grateful for.
  • Be thankful to others and tell them, either to their face or in writing.

Slowing down

For some people, lockdown forced life into a slower pace. The commute to the office was cut, frantic school runs suddenly stopped and thousands were furloughed from work. The need to be somewhere at a certain time no longer existed and this gave many the chance to slow down.

Continue the behaviour. As life moves back to a faster pace, remember the slower times you had through lockdown and what impact that had on you, your family or your children. Make a conscious effort to have days where plans aren’t made, books are read, games are played, and the chores can wait.

Noticing nature

Lockdown allowed us to appreciate nature in a new way. Less noise from roads, trains, aircraft and even people meant the sounds of nature were more profound; birdsong, trees rustling or the wind blowing. Perhaps you discovered new walks or bike paths, or found woodlands and green spaces you never knew existed.

Continue the behaviour. Being outside and spending time in nature does wonders for your wellbeing. Continue your appreciation of natural habitats by spending time, either alone and as a family, in woodlands, on beaches and exploring nature reserves. Perhaps plan a Sunday bike ride each week, taking a new route now and then. Pack a picnic and spend the whole day outside. Invest in some binoculars and notice the wildlife around you.

Relationships matter

Lockdown kept loved ones apart. For the first time, you couldn’t visit friends and family in the same way; and physical touch stopped. Phone and video calls become the way we communicated and spent time together. Although this incredible technology allowed people to remain connected to support each other, we no longer had the privilege of seeing loved ones in person.

Continue the behaviour. Having good friendships, relationships and social connections plays an important part in your wellbeing. So make time for the people you love. As lockdown restrictions ease, see people in person, go for a walk with a friend and stop to talk with your neighbour. Cuddle those in your family or bubble tightly. And those you can’t yet hug, look them in the eye, listen and be grateful for having them in your life.

Your lockdown lessons learnt

“The thing I’ve learnt most from lockdown is to slow down sometimes and enjoy the little things, especially with my young son. Life can be so busy, and it’s been nice to take a step back, have more play time together and watch him grow without day-to-day pressures of school runs and deadlines.” – Michelle.

 “The need to find balance while working from home during lockdown resulted in me reflecting on my wellbeing priorities. Once I worked these out, I built a routine that encompassed what was most important to me and felt sustainable.” – Meera.

“I have really learnt the value of putting myself under much less pressure. Instead of always rushing here and there, to now having nowhere to be at a specific time, really slowing down and enjoying the moment. And not feeling guilty because of it!” – Rachel.

“I have really enjoyed the quieter pace of life and having an hour’s walk with my husband and two teenage children every day. It has really given us the opportunity to spend more time talking rather than the rushed conversations we are used to.” – Samantha.

Lauren Gordon
Behavioural Insights Adviser at Bupa UK

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