Many of us had grand plans when we first entered the COVID-19 lockdown period. We imagined dropping those extra 5 pounds in weight, writing that book and achieving those goals we’d put off for years. Although nervous, we were initially motivated by the novelty of additional time and space that suddenly presented itself and were fueled by the residual adrenalin that pre-covid life had us living on.
And then the impact of lockdown set in. We are pack animals. We may not howl, but our brain’s pain center is activated when we feel isolated. We find prolonged physical distancing extremely stressful, even if we’re more inclined toward introversion: When we are alone, we are more vulnerable to threats – unable to draw on the protection and resources that a group provides. Even when we aren’t aware of it, our brain is on high alert, exposing us to higher levels of stress hormone and associated mental and physiological fatigue. Sound and feel familiar?
At the same time, many of us have also welcomed this massive disruption to our busy lives. We’ve reconnected with family members, walked the dog instead of sitting in traffic each day, cooked meals with our loved ones, and found ourselves reflecting very deeply on what is most important in life.
University of British Columbia’s Assistant Professor Nancy Sin is conducting research into how this pandemic is affecting people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Anyone can participate in the study.
Several months into this pandemic, we realize that the impact and restrictions aren’t going away any time soon. Now we get to decide what to take with us; the lessons learned, and new habits formed, as we move forwards into this new world. More than any other time in our lives, we get to reinvent ourselves, and our work and reinvigorate our beliefs, and our children’s beliefs, in what is possible and what we want to experience in our lives. Essential will be our capacity to be creative; to actively rethink and re-imagine how we live, how we relate, how we work, and how we see our future. There are some very simple and surprising doorways into high creativity – that we will be exploring in our upcoming series on Creativity – The Ultimate Vaccine.