Lockdown impacted our lives in many ways. We learnt to adapt to losing our everyday freedoms, we had to adjust to busy households and juggling work and home life and we had to find a new way to communicate with friends and family to stay connected.
While it may feel like things are returning to some semblance of normality, it’s safe to say that the last year and a half have definitely affected how we communicate. Some have thrown their masks off with reckless abandon – although 95% of British adults claim they will still be wearing a mask for the foreseeable future – and welcomed the return of large social gatherings, rubbing shoulders with strangers and finding every excuse to leave the house.
Others are still adjusting. With many businesses still encouraging remote working, there hasn’t been the need to go out and lockdown rules are there as a security blanket. It’s understandable, with cases still considerably high in the UK, it’s no wonder many aren’t yet ready to throw caution to the wind and socialise in person unless they feel absolutely safe.
But this isn’t all lockdown has impacted. Zoom fatigue or video call fatigue is considered a real thing. We spent so much of our time making ourselves socialise, perhaps more than we ever did before we were told to stay in our four walls. While of course this tech allowed many people to stay connected, it’s now also become a bit of a drain.
Maybe it’s having to look at your own face while having a conversation or the annoyance of dealing with someone else’s poor internet connection. Either way, some people are switching off altogether, resisting the video calls and the socialising in person.
For those looking for love, however, lockdown made them turn to dating apps and this could be a trend that sticks. A survey by Legal and General discovered that 59% of 25 to 34 year olds used a dating app during the pandemic but that many respondents did state that they won’t be going on virtual dates once all restrictions have ended.
During lockdown technology enabled us but now it’s become a drain. Video calls are turning into Whatsapp voice notes to messages to just sending a funny TikTok when you feel like it. The pressures to socialise aren’t quite what they used to be and those who have never perhaps enjoyed forced fun have the perfect excuse to stay home.
But is it sustainable? Mental health has taken a huge hit in the UK, and not just because we haven’t been able to socialise as normal. Spending over a year fearing for our health and the health of our loved ones has put a huge strain on everyone. The mental health charity Mind reported that two-thirds of young people and over half of adults said their mental health worsened during the first lockdown.
79% of people who took part in their survey said that the main thing that impacted them was not being able to see people.
As we continue to adjust, we may see less reliance on technology. More people are getting together like before the pandemic, while others are enjoying the chance to recover after a year of draining tech and the pandemic still offering a way out of get togethers.