The SARS – COVID 2 virus has caused the cancellation of many family Xmas’s, huge economic disruption, and has literally changed the world. But amidst the doom and gloom here are five things we have learned for our long term benefit.

Public and private health

Washing your hands and how to do it. I was not a great hand washer until babies, pets and starting to cook more happened. But we have all re-learnt what we were told as children.

In March, the Mayor of London claimed it was safe to travel on London Underground without a mask and I immediately thought back to my early days in the City, crammed into a tube train, with someone’s nose in my armpit and my nose in someone’s hair. And I thought, if ever there was a time to wear a mask, that was it.

The fact is that washing hands, cleaning surfaces, mask wearing has not only slowed down the spread of Covid, it has decimated flu viruses this winter.

Personal space

This might be a London thing, but people were forever pushing past, or even walking into me, and everyone else too. The two metre rule now means we stay clear of each other, and even thank strangers who move out of our way.

Personal space has been given a boost and as result people generally are more polite to each other and particularly the elderly and people with toddlers and pushchairs.

Death

Bear with me on this. As a society we have medicalised death. With some religious exceptions, we do not bathe the deceased or lay them out in the front parlour (not that many of us have a front parlour). Ask yourself, how many dead bodies have you seen?

When Covid started, a few hundred dead was like a major aeroplane crash and a shock. Why? Because we had forgotten death. For the first time since 2003, the mortality rate has exceeded 1% of the population.

Why is this a good thing?

First, a lot of my clients no longer claim or believe that they will live forever (in other words putting it out of mind), now accept that death is a when not an if. This is important because everyone should prepare for the inevitable.

I am a big fan of Dying Matters, a charity which helps people to prepare for the inevitable and have frank conversations with their loved ones.

Second we have been reminded that a lot of otherwise fatal illnesses either can kill people (e.g. flu, measles etc.) and that many of them can be prevented by vaccination.

Vaccines

They may have side effects, they take time to test against various conditions and other medicines, but they do work, and actually, the UK is quite handy at developing them.

Work life balance

In the first lock down, I heard dads saying that they had taught the kids to ride a bike. An activity which they had never had time for before. Rumour has it that children’s bikes sold out across the UK and families resorted to asking friends if they still had their kids’ bikes.

Have you heard anyone say in a wistful manner, how they missed the journey to or from work?

People have had a chance to experience a better work life balance. There will be some who cannot wait to get back in the office, or drop the children off at nursery or school, but many more have questioned the need for them to be in an office when technology satisfies a lot of the communication needs.

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