Time to Experiment with Change?

Among the many news and research updates I follow to try and keep myself up to date, is a national research programme seeking to understand the psychological and social impact of the Covid 19 pandemic. The research study is being carried out by University College London to explore the effects of the virus and social distancing measures on adults in the UK. Over 70,000 participants fill in a weekly survey to share their views and experiences.

According to the findings from this research study in June:

“depression and anxiety levels dropped in May as lockdown easing began gradually across the UK but …….. remain worse in people living alone and with lower household income. The majority of people are not stressed about catching Covid-19, although it is notable that younger adults are equally as stressed as older adults despite the risk of serious complications being lower for them, suggesting an altruistic concern about passing the virus onto other more vulnerable people.”

Further reports from the survey suggest that rates of depression continued to decline as the lockdown measures eased, particularly among younger people. Throughout the pandemic, the researchers have found that

“people from black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds have had higher levels of depression, anxiety and loneliness across the pandemic, and lower levels of happiness and life satisfaction. They have also been more worried about unemployment and financial stress.”

Their latest report, for August, focused on people’s attitudes to changing lifestyles. Only 10% believed that they would go back to living exactly as they had before! Here were a few of the headline figures:

  • About half (51%) felt they were ‘more likely’ on balance to return to how things were before
  • 40% said they would increase their support for local business
  • Around a third (35%) thought they would exercise more
  • A third (33%) felt they would save more money
  • A fifth (22%) felt they were ‘more likely’ to change things
  • 9% said they would change their job

One thing is certain – more change is on its way. Some changes we can’t control, and others we can. How do you respond to change? How are you maintaining your emotional resilience given the uncertainty still about the future. Back in March, in the first of my weekly lockdown blogs I shared an image of the Change Curve. This is based on the work of Elizabeth Kubler Ross around dying, grief and loss, and demonstrates how normal it is to go through different stages of emotional and mental distress when faced with change, let alone the extraordinary events which have unfolded in the past six months.

Maybe collectively we’re now in an experimental phase, testing out new ways of living, working and socialising?

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