Society has reopened its gates, although still somewhat guarded. And as the UK workforce gradually returns to their previous place of work, between hybrid working, video calls and regular testing, the ‘new normal’ looks a little different, but, dare we say it, better than before.
After taking stock and reorganising priorities, there’s been a noticeable movement towards embracing a healthy work-life balance, living your values and prioritising wellbeing.
During these unprecedented times, individuals and companies had to adapt to stay afloat, and there was a shift from profit-focus to a people-first approach for businesses. But as normality continues to resume, we look at defining a new normal and why we must continue to do better than before.
A new normal
Returning to a new normal after the 18months we’ve had can bring anxiety. And not just because of increased mixing with other people, after holding a microscope over pre-pandemic life, we’ve realised it was far from ideal.
Commuting long distances and working fixed hours doesn’t cut the mustard anymore; the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that in May 2020, 44% of people felt anxious about returning to work, and 31% having anxiety around commuting to work. So now, over a year on, people are looking for employers that promote a healthy work-life balance and offer flexible working.
On top of that, the pressure cooker of the pandemic and various lockdowns highlighted flaws in the norm. Different social issues came to the fore, and we were encouraged to have educational conversations around hard-hitting topics, such as mental health and climate change. It’s like we always say when it comes to inheritance planning; difficult conversations are often the most important. But that being said, there are concerns about slipping back into bad habits, losing the benefits and undoing the progress made.
“There are some things in our society and our world which I am proud to be maladjusted and I call upon all men of good-will to be maladjusted until the good societies realise” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Lessons from the pandemic
What was once ‘normal’ isn’t good enough anymore and we find ourselves with a new normal. So, what can we do to strive for a better future? Here are some of the lessons from the pandemic that would be good to keep in mind for just that reason:
Worry less and plan more
If you were to make a list of the pros of worrying, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to name even one. It doesn’t serve us in any way. If you’re worried about a situation that may or may not happen, the best thing to do is make a plan for it just in case. That way, you know what to do if that particular situation does arise.
For instance, if you’re worried that you might not be able to afford retirement or long-term care costs further down the line, then you should make a plan to save for that. Tackling a situation head-on is usually the best way to get the outcome you want.
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength” – Corrie Ten Boom
Community is key
When asked to shut everything down and stop, it left us exposed. It was then that we felt the community around us and the power of human connection.
Neighbours you’d rarely seen before became a regular fixture of the Thursday night ‘Clap for our Carers’, and people reached out to support one another. Prescriptions collected, shopping taken care of, and small businesses supported. We pulled together in a time of adversity; this is community power.
Even now, as we adjust to the new normal, people continue to volunteer and support the recovery from COVID-19, and we need this to continue and not die off.
When our environment thrives, so do we
You might well feel exhausted reading the news about climate change and wonder how we tackle such a huge issue. Well, the answer could be right at our feet (and no, it’s not just walking a bit more and driving a little less).
Healthy soil stores carbon, with the top metre of the world’s soil containing three times as much carbon as the entire atmosphere. However, unfortunately, modern farming practices means the carbon is released quicker than replaced. But, by changing our agricultural activity, we can cut carbon emissions and combat climate change from the ground up.
What’s more, soil microorganisms rely on a carbon-based food source. And with there being more soil microorganisms in a spoonful of healthy soil than there are people on the planet, that’s a lot of carbon sequestration potential.
If this interests you, Kiss the Ground on Netflix is a great watch.
Swap mindless for mindfulness
On the theme of our five a day, we know we should have plenty of fruit and veg to keep our physical health in good shape. But as the pandemic took an emotional toll on many, we had to put an equal focus on feeding our minds to keep our mental health on track.
Essentially, we’ve learnt that you need to continue investing time in yourself. To be the best person you can be at work, at home and generally in life, you need to put time aside just for yourself.
Think about what energises you and makes you feel good, then spend more time doing that. In many cases, this could be ditching the mindless scrolling through emails or social media and swapping it for a mindful walk or a call to check in on a relative or friend.
Appreciate what’s right in front of you
Staycations and UK Holidays were the general moods for summer 2021. And looking at the abundance of pictures from woodland walks and trips to the coast, this wasn’t any less an experience than going abroad. It taught us to appreciate the beauty on our doorstep and the joy of discovering hidden gems or places we hadn’t been before without jumping on a plane.
Sometimes, it’s good to swap escapism with being in the present moment, exactly where you are.
Is it time for a redesign?
When something major happens in life, it’s usually the time to ask yourself a few questions; starting with what makes you happy.
What is meaningful to you? What isn’t? What do you feel obliged to do, and what do you look forward to doing?
Before starting any financial plan, we ask you three poignant questions to get you thinking about your vision and goals. It’s a great starting point to understand what you want from life. The numbers then create the foundations to make the change and build a brighter future. And, let’s face it, we all deserve that after the last 18months we’ve had.
As we adjust to the new normal, if you’d like to discuss any changes you’d like to make, please feel free to get in touch with us any time to have a chat about your financial plans.