How to be useful

As we emerge from lockdown we are like hibernating animals waking from a long winters sleep into the blinding light of a spring day. For many of us, in the hibernation of lockdown, we have forgotten who we are, what we do and how we function. We have forgotten how to be useful.

Many of the people that I have been talking to over the last three or four months do not want the world to return to how it was before lockdown. What does this really mean?


Many have had the realisation that they have been working too hard. For some there is the realisation that they can now work differently. They do not have to spend hours travelling to meetings struggling through traffic and other people’s bad tempers. They can now do it all online from the comfort of their home office. We seem to be developing an appreciation of and understanding of time and how we use it.


So many people have said how they feel much more relaxed while at the same time doing the same amount of work from home. Some have said they have been even more productive yet don’t feel the same level of stress that they did when they were going into the workplace.

Connection with colleagues

Some are saying that they need to touch base with colleagues, that there are times when they need to see people in real life, not just on a screen. However this usually comes with the caveat, “not everyday of the week. Maybe one or two”. It seems that a lot of us now like working from home and event prefer it to going into the workplace.


A great many report feeling that their family relationships have improved. Even in crazy situations when both parents are working from home and attempting home schooling at the same time. People are telling me that they feel closer as families and that this is something that they would like to continue.


The realisation of pollution and our effect on it has come as people are seeing clearer skies and brighter colours. The move towards bikes rather than cars and the new experiments with scooters would suggest that we are all becoming more aware.

How to be useful

So, how can we be useful in this new post lockdown world? I guess that number one is ensuring that we don’t create another wave, through inappropriate behaviours and flouting the rules about social distancing. But if you now have time or are needing to change your work situation how can you be useful to yourself and to others?

What will your work look like from now onwards?

Before I started writing this I was online with someone who has been told that they will not be able to return to work before January 2021. Luckily they will continue to be paid a furloughed wage but cannot perform any of their roles from home. They have time to fill.

So if you, like so many, have time on your hands what can you do with it? Who can you help?

Helping yourself

While some people have been jumping around to Joe Wicks and keeping fit many have put on the pounds and become more sedentary. Helping yourself out of lock down might include getting off your butt and moving your body. Walk, run, join an outside exercise class or boot camp, do some online workouts, do some home weights.

Next is your diet. We know that eating carbs makes us feel good because the brain responds by secreting more serotonin, the happy hormone. Many have been overdoing the chocolate, biscuits and crisps and now we have the issue of the takeaways opening up again. Then there is the booze. Alcohol consumption in the UK has spiked in lockdown, plenty of calories there. Time for some booze free days during the week, helps with both the weight and the exercise regime. Perhaps now is the time to dust off the bike in the shed and get peddling.

Helping others helping ourselves

One thing that has been highlighted in lockdown is the number of people who live alone and have therefore not see anyone for months. Who is there around you that would benefit from a chat or an offer to do the shopping?

If you do have time on your hands what about the charities that have been starved of resources during lockdown? How many could benefit from your help and your time?

What about the community that we live in? Have you noticed that there has been no body cutting grass verges or the weeds that are growing in the gutters or at the bottom of walls? It wouldn’t take much to nip out with a mower or cutter and tidy it all up.

Have you noticed the amount of rubbish building up in the streets? As council staff have been furloughed it has tended to be left to mount up. Well a few minutes with a bin bag would really help.

The next step

Over all if we look at what is happening and what will be happening we do have choices. We can choose how we work, how we live and the state of ourselves and the places that we life. There needs to be a fundamental shift and if we stop waiting for or expecting that other people will make ‘it’ right for us and we take the responsibility for making it right. I know that many people feel let down by government and the systems over all right across the world. We have choices, we do not need to be victims, we can get involved we can create change.

So, what do you want to happen next? What are prepared to do about it?

Maybe nows the time to sit down and have a think about it?

Take care

Sean x

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