Despite some of us booking flights, rooms, tables and experiences, we’re all painfully aware that we’re not out of the woods yet.  How expansive those woods are, or when we’re likely to see a friendly light in the clearing, remains vague.

Yet recent research seems to suggest that even though the crisis situation has caused stress and uncertainty, not all its outcomes have been terrible. Some are even saying that lockdown has actually helped to restore a kind of happiness.

According to a study by Cambridge University’s Bennett Institute for Public Policy, the number of Britons self-reporting as ‘happy’ (using data from YouGov Weekly Mood Tracker and Google searches), found that reports of happiness halved in just three weeks (from 51% to 25%) at the start of lockdown on 23 March.  When lockdown started to be lifted, the figures reversed, with happiness levels rising to 47% by the end of May.

Dr Roberto Foa, from Cambridge’s Department of Politics and International Studies and director of the YouGov-Cambridge Centre for Public Opinion Research, went one step further, suggesting that it was the pandemic itself and not the lockdown that depressed people.

He said that “mental health concerns are often cited as a reason to avoid lockdown. In fact, when combined with employment and income support, lockdown may be the single most effective action a government can take during a pandemic to maintain psychological welfare.”

In a recent poll for ITV’s Peston, three quarters of people believed that there would be another COVID-19 lockdown in 2020 – with the majority blaming those not following guidelines for a potential second wave.

So, what are we doing?  People are now using their hindsight to plan for the future. From historian to clairvoyant in one small leap. 20/20 vision means we can now plan for the next phase by refining our behaviour.

Should we have to deal with lockdown a second time, we may have to become more realistic. Perhaps we won’t write that novel or become fluent in another language but we may spend time investing in our personal learning.  Living more in the moment and enjoying the little things will turn out to be very important indeed.

Emma Irving of www.thismuchiknow.news (the global news community app created by Emily Sheffield, the new editor of the Evening Standard) said it just right.

“If I learned anything from lockdown number one, it’s that sometimes just being present is enough. So, for a potential second lockdown, or at least another few months of working from home, we might feel daunted, nervous, or lonely – but we can feel prepared.”

Now, where’s that notepad?

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