MH@H Mental Health

Will the Pandemic Change Your Approach to Life?

Will the pandemic change you?  - image of a butterfly

Rory over at A Guy Called Bloke recently asked readers if they thought that they or their approach to life would change post-pandemic.  My answer was a pretty emphatic no, but I thought I’d unpack that a little bit.

I guess one piece of this potential for change is with regards to gratitude, and whether the restrictions imposed due to the pandemic will make us more grateful for the things we have.  For the last couple of years, I’ve done a daily gratitude entry in my bullet journal.  I haven’t noticed much of a change in what I feel grateful for.  I was grateful for pretty simple things then, and I’m grateful for those same kind of basics now.

Another area for potential change is in terms of things that you weren’t doing before that you intend to take advantage of once you have the opportunity again.  For me, the limitations on what I can do due to coronavirus are minimal, especially compared to the effects of depression.  Even if psychomotor retardation wasn’t limiting me in a physical sense, apathy and anhedonia mean that I just don’t care about doing most things.  The fact that I’m emotionally indifferent to the deaths from this pandemic just happen to be a reminder that the apathy is alive and well.

Change could also happen with respect to how we relate to the people around us.  Personally, I don’t like being around people, thanks to the combination of depression and introversion.  If anything, COVID-19 reaffirms how firmly asocial I am.  There will be no change for me in that department.

Perhaps I’m a bit cynical, but I’m not convinced that there’s going to be a lot of broader social change as a result of this.  I suspect that people will be too distracted by the economic fallout to be thinking about how to make our world a better place as a result of what’s happened.  The environment, though, will have a nice reprieve from us making a mess of it.

I haven’t the slightest clue how a return to normal will start to happen for the world at large.  But the guinea pigs and I will still be here doing our thing, the same as we have all along.  And that stability in and of itself is worth being grateful for.

Do you think this coronavirus pandemic will change you when you emerge on the other side?

COVID-19/mental health coping toolkit from Mental Health @ Home

The COVID-19/Mental Health Coping Toolkit page has a wide range of resources to support better mental health and wellbeing.

77 thoughts on “Will the Pandemic Change Your Approach to Life?”

  1. I’m not sure whether it would change me, and there’s enough other big stuff in my life at the moment to make it hard to tell what is causing what.

    As for societal change, I am hoping for a more communitarian, co-operative, ecologically-aware society, but I am not sure that it is going to happen. Although it seems offensive to say it, I don’t think COVID-19 is big enough to make that happen. Although this may sound flippant or offensive (which is not my intention), I think a situation with hundreds of thousands of deaths over a year or two is not going to be enough to shock people as much as, for example, World War II which caused tens of millions of deaths over six years and did lead to changes in social attitudes for a generation in many countries.

  2. We want to go out even less. We are going out even less from a mostly stay-at-home baseline. The one exception is birdwatching with Older Child. Once restrictions are lifted, we will drive farther to see birds. May is the to month for bird species where we are, so if restrictions are lifted, we will see our favorite, more remote spots. So even fewer people lol. If restrictions aren’t lifted, we will look close to home

    It’s hard to say how much we will relish our privacy once we regain it. “A lot” seems likely.

    We love not driving and only one T lives within walking range. What might that mean?

    We don’t have a shared pandemic experience with the world.

    1. I’m glad you are still able to get out birdwatching.

      Interesting point about not driving. It will be interesting to see how things like that evolve as time goes by.

  3. I hope it changes the way our society tends to focus on the things which divide us and instead we start to focus on the things which unite us. Because regardless of our sex, orientation, religion or nationality we are all in this together regardless of our differences

    And also i hope it stops things such as medical misinformation and we give the medical community the respect they deserve

    1. That would be nice to say. Although in terms of health-related misinformation it kind of looks like if anything it’s going in the opposite direction thus far.

  4. What an interesting question!! While I do feel sad that I can’t/shouldn’t go to Home Depot and buy supplies for a new creative project (I have a few projects in mind), it’s made me more aware of what I already have and can use. For example, both of my painting projects will need to be primed first, and guess what I have in the basement? A huge gallon of primer. So I can get started without having to buy anything. And then the other day, they were out of popcorn kernels at the store, and I realized I can finish up the Amish kernels that I don’t like, and this way, they won’t go to waste. (Oh my gosh. My middle name really should be Pollyanna. I’m literally playing the glad game!)

    I love Pollyanna. She’s one of my heroes. I can’t recite the story of Pollyanna without weeping at the end.

    Anyway, some things make me anxious. It took three or four tries to order Big Woof’s special food. (She’s on a limited-ingredients diet.) One eBay order and an Amazon order all fell through. But then I found a more affordable (and readily available) brand that we can buy from Amazon in the future. And I’m also worried about the economy, and what it will mean for those of us who require specialty products, like limited-ingredient dog food. (She gets sick on regular food.)

    So it’s been making me more aware of how the world works, which is odd. I’ve lived my whole life with more of a spiritual/emotional bent, and now I’m becoming more aware of practical issues and the economy and politics/current events. (This shift has been occurring for the past few years.)

    Your question about emerging on the other side of the coronavirus reminded me of one of my favorite (yet weird) quotes: “Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but you’ve actually been planted.”

    1. I’m sure Pollyanna would like that quote 😉

      I’m glad you’ve got stuff handy already for your current projects. That makes life easier.

      My guess for things like pet supplies that the consumer demand really isn’t going to change much, because it’s not like people are going to stop feeding their pets, so my guess is companies in that area are going to pull through this just fine.

  5. For me it won’t change much. I would appreciate it though to be able to walk more ‘freely’ while doing groceries. I’ve never realized that, that I could even be free in the way that I walk. I love the social distancing, so I hope the term can be used after the pandemic. That when I say: I’m a person who likes social distancing and that people understand or are not offended by it.
    I saw that eating dogs is going to be forbidden somewhere in China from the 1st of May. So that is a change that I really like. Now we need that for cows, sheep, chicken, pigs and other animals. (as a vegan I can say such things 🙃)
    For other things, people don’t learn I’m afraid and the *holy* economy will be as mighty as ever. I’m curious what nature has in store for us next because it won’t stop after corona I think.

  6. I appreciate that you don’t sugarcoat your thoughts and opinions in your posts. Admire it, actually. It’s good role modelling for those of us who hold back perhaps a little too much (🤚).

    Anyway, I think that the changes I’ll see in myself will be most noticeable right at the beginning of the transition back to “normal.” But I don’t think there will be much in the way of permanent change for me. I adapted to sheltering in place… I’ll adapt back to my usual ways after. It’s just the adjustment periods that are messy and exhausting.

  7. What a brilliant question. This whole episode has made me think. I had thought I didn’t need people but I was wrong. I’ve realised how fragile some of us are. I’ve started thinking about my future and what it will look like.

    1. I’ve heard quite a few people say they’ve discovered they need contact more than they thought. It’s gone from too much to too little, with no Goldilocks in between.

  8. I feel much the same as you. But for me one thing that might be different is that I don’t like being controlled so even though I am fine being a homebody and don’t really enjoy crowds at ALL… I do like to know that’s a choice for me. I can come and go as I please. Having my choice be taken from me have been suffocating a bit, even though I would still rather stay in.

  9. The only changes I will see in me, is that I will continue to stick to shopping only twice a week. I won’t go back to a few times a week as before. Whether this means I will spend even less than before, I don’t know. That part is too early to tell. But I will be observing over the next couple of months.
    The question will also be whether I buy groceries only by debit card, instead of cash. Again, a bit too early to tell. But I will be observing myself with interest.

    As someone who is is stringent when it comes to hand washing, I have no issues with the hand washing they suggest that’s in place, because having once worked in a health setting, it’s what you do and it becomes second nature. I have found some that have commented to me saying how they are getting fed up with this handwashing and then ask me if I am? My answer then obviously puts them on the spot when I say no, because this is what I still do since one time working in a hospital.

    I miss my work colleagues in my evening job. So I will look forward to seeing them when things return to normal.

    I would like to think that there be more caring people. But I don’t think it will happen, because it’s going to be the money thing and fiances that people will focus on first.

  10. Where to begin with all this as it’s unknown. Left to speculation, I’d say humanity, will after time, return to its mostly disgruntled shitty self. There will be new wars, slavery, rape, murder … nothing changes. Evil will always lurk and find a way. Greater restrictions on travel, of course. And so will Good continue to battle. Social engineering and AI will foster new expeditions into control of population, and push the mindless deeper into the well. My approach to life will not change an iota. I used to be a magnificent asshole once upon a time. I’m in recovery, or perhaps just lapsed. I plan on being less of dick when this is over. 😎

    1. Hmmm…

      Nothing much has actually changed for me.

      I can’t go to my meetings I usually would go to, but they are now online. I can’t go to the gym, but I workout at home.
      Um…yeah everything else is much the same as it was before.

      I didn’t go out much anyways, and when you do go out now for a walk or drive, it’s great, nice and quiet, because nobody is around.
      I actually like it with less people around.
      But that’s just me.

      More nature, space, peace and less people…

      If I could I think I would actually live in space!

      1. One of the biggest deterrants for me when it comes to living in space is the lack of normal toileting situation. Gravity comes in handy sometimes!

  11. I think there are some things I might never take for granted again. While I’ve always been grateful with the many blessings in my life, and have always had an awareness that many others aren’t nearly as fortunate, I do think I took things like stocked grocery stores and going outside whenever I want for granted. I especially took toilet paper for granted, which I will never do again after this!

  12. I have to say that to that for me this virus will change my world. It has brought my husband and i closer. We spend time at night reliving our early marriage of playing cards and karaoke.
    Also I do a lot of voluntary work and not being able to do it right now has just drven the passion into to do everything I can when this is all over.

  13. Life has changed a lot for me. Working from home and not socializing has been hard on me and I struggle w loneliness. My social anxiety has also increased tenfold. That said I’ve been in regular touch w friends online, especially long distance friends, and have grown closer to old friends.
    Tbh I’m a bit scared of what life after the pandemic will be like. It’s going to good in one way, but in another it will be a huge adjustment, interacting with people face to face again. And I think mental health issues will be much more common due to isolation and the trauma of the pandemic.

  14. I don’t think I’ll change much. Having to social distance is a sigh of relief for me. It takes all the pressure off so I can focus more on my apparently fucked up brain. Not having to deal with people is helping me deal with the crowd in my head that I haven’t been playing close enough attention to since I was too busy trying to pay my bills. Jeezus, the crowd was so loud I tried to shut them up in a rather unhealthy way, seemed perfectly logical at the time though.
    Ok, so I guess after all this I’ll stop giving a fuck about paying my bills on time 😉

  15. Ah, well since you asked: I already live in total isolation, and to be honest I was much more anxious during Donald Trump’s first two years of presidency than ever at all during this pandemic. As a 65 year-old diabetic I just know I’ll die if I catch it, so I only go shopping in our little desert town market once every three weeks. AFTER the pandemic? Will there ever be an “AFTER?” People on the edge, economically, mentally, politically may just be pushed past their limits. What will the economics be like? Gyarggh, it ain’t gonna be pretty. A lot of people seem to be uniting in solidarity, which will be sometimes good and sometimes bad. Some poorer developing nations will destabilize, and destabilization will be the word of the decade. I ain’t scared to die, and I do believe there are far too many people for this planet to support already. Good Luck Everybody!

  16. I don’t tend to go out too much but I loved the freedom of being able to go out if or when I wanted. I miss not being able to take a short walk round to the local food store.

    I’m looking forward to being able to pop across the road to the river, where I can have a coffee, read or sit and watch the world go by for a while. But there won’t be any major changes to my social life lol.

  17. I really believe in a change for a better world. I feel more grateful for things like my family, food and having a home. I also suffer hard during this time because of being sensitive and an empath. I just hope the compassion and solidairity of people will stay when it’s over. For me what didn’t change is being at home and sometimes being anxious of a room full of people. I love calm ❤️ I understand you

  18. Who else comes to Ashley’s blog, not just because she has a great and interesting blog, stable, and she is very nice, down-to-earth, kind person but also as its a kind of hive of activity, with lots of different commenters and views, and it’s like going to have a coffee online and socialise in a safe kind of way.

    There I said it! 😊

  19. I don’t know. I think this pandemic is shoving various long entrenched systemic inequalities and injustices into the face of many who have long chosen to turn their faces away. I hope various societies change to become much more equitable… even as I also have a lot of cynicism about actual progressive change from the authorities in my country. But then SO MANY people are stepping up, coalitions are being formed, there’s a spirit of unity and “do what we can, for the vulnerable” which I hope will persist.

    On a personal level, I don’t know how/if I might be changed. Some people feel more grateful etc but I’ve always been grateful for small and large things, so I don’t feel it’s a change. I think I might be more willing to offer hugs or caring touch if a friend is distressed, however. With their consent of course.

  20. Hey Ashley, many thanks for picking up the question and both answering and for the shout out 🙂

    I agree the planet has received a much needed boost – as to how change will reflect upon individuals – it is indeed a hard question to answer from a universal and even a governmental stance – l sometimes wonder if each country and its cultural populations will react differently?

    But you answer as an introvert who at your own concession is asocial anyways – l am not full on introvert, l just dislike real people but can tolerate them – l think the biggest realities will be what people are not looking at and you have touched on briefly, but equally there is going to be a social distrust BUT it will also stem from how long Lockdown Limbos last per country.

    By the way nicely answered and adressed – thank you 🙂

  21. you shared a nice topic
    it was really difficult for me to remain socially isolated in the starting days but now i have found a lot of creative ways to utilise my time. the life will not be the same after this but still its beauty will not be tarnished.

  22. My daughter (who is 4) and the family have been keeping a daily gratitude diary throughout the lockdown. It has had startling results. I have managed to blog every day through out and have enough material (60K+ words) to add a serious hobby/sideline of writing once this is over. Hurrah!!

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