By Jane Kemp
Living through the lockdown has given us a chance to rethink our priorities, work in new ways and take up new hobbies. We surveyed you, our readers, on how you've been affected, and here’s what you revealed
Sex and relationships under pressure
Lockdown brought big changes. And working from home, being furloughed, home-schooling and health worries could test the strongest relationships. Yet 41% said they got along with their partner better than before, while a similar number were pleasantly surprised at how well their relationship stood up to the pressure. And being cooped up together brought benefits, too: 13% reported an uptick in their sex life.
Kindness during lockdown
A resounding 70% of readers said that they had re-evaluated family relationships for the better. Only 2% found that lockdown had led to them wanting to split from their partner, while 9% found it had strained relationships with their children. Outside the home, three-quarters felt that kindness had blossomed under lockdown.
Our survey confirmed that family, friends and health remain top concerns: 81% of readers listed family as their first or second priority post-lockdown, while 57% put health (theirs and their loved ones) at the top of the list. Interestingly, when we’ve all come to rely on others so much, the need for a fairer world has leaped in importance to just below financial security and friends.
Before lockdown, 67% of readers said financial security wasleastimportant to them. Some three months later - and with 81% holding onto their jobs and 6% losing them – this is now a high priority for 38% of readers. Hardly surprising, then, that this has impacted on our willingness to spend - both shopping and taking holidays are now low in readers’ priorities.
Piling on Covid kilos
Over 50% of readers ‘fessed up to putting on weight during lockdown, with a third attributing it to drinking more alcohol than usual. Thankfully, good support networks combatted feelings of loneliness - 74% said they did not feel alone during lockdown. Stress wise, there were positives and negatives: 43% slept better, 50% ate better, and almost half reported less stress. Conversely, 26% felt very lonely and just under a third felt highly anxious.
We got back into gardening
The top three activities missed most were restaurant meals (41%), coffee shops and hairdressers. Least missed? That’ll be beauty salons, pubs and holidays abroad. Post-lockdown, it seems readers are much more relaxed about appearances – over half admitted they made less effort with how they look. And with staying home the new norm, there was the opportunity to start a new hobby (33%), garden more (70%) and grow fruit and veg (32%)
No thanks to going back to pre-lockdown
Nearly half of readers said that lockdown had made them realise how stressed they were, and 81%found lockdown life more peaceful. While working from home was not seen as entirely a good thing (who knew how much we’d miss the office?), 12% would like the option in the future. Meanwhile, we relied signifcantly on tech, with 79% engaging more with it during lockdown.
Quieter, fairer and more localised?
Top of the wish-list for post-lockdown life is a slower pace, with 82% of readers supporting this. 88% want to see fewer cars on the road, while 39% want more bicycle lanes. Over half our readers also said they would think about flying less to reduce pollution. Valuing local shops is keenly supported (86%), as is recognising and giving perks to key workers.
Jane Kemp is the Features Director for Woman & Home, Woman's Weekly, Woman and Woman's Own. She's worked in journalism for many years, mostly in Women's consumer magazines, and enjoyed a long stint at Practical Parenting while her own four children were little. She was also very proud to be a scriptwriter on the BBC's children's show Balamory. These days, her interests are more focussed on gardens and books, and she has taken great pleasure in seeing the expansion of books coverage in all the titles, as well as big-name authors writing exclusive fiction for Woman & Home and Woman's Weekly. In her own time she is a botanical artist and enjoys swimming in a heated pool - definitely not the wild variety so enthusiastically embraced by many of her colleagues...
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