Let’s talk about… Emerging from the pandemic

Relief comes with the long-awaited end to restrictions

After almost two years of dealing with restrictions, lockdowns, and living with Covid-19 at the forefront of our minds, it seems like the end of the pandemic is finally in sight.

  In the time that’s passed since March 2020, we’ve had our fair share of false hopes – times when we thought things were drawing to a close, only to have rising case numbers plunge us back into restricting our movements. However, vaccination rates have given us a security we haven’t had before, and it looks as if the time has finally come for us to begin emerging from the pandemic.

  One thing that was drawn into focus over the past couple of years as we dealt with the impact of Covid-19, is mental health. The importance of mental health was obviously recognised pre-pandemic, but given the impact that isolation, restrictions, and general Covid anxiety had on so many people, the value placed on safeguarding your mental health has become more significant than ever.

  Saying goodbye to the pandemic automatically opens up a few doors for those whose mental health is suffering due to Covid. People now once again have the opportunity to see their friends and family more, and to go on regular outings, which will have an immeasurable positive impact for so many. There’s an enormous sense of relief that comes along with being able to make the choice to live more sociably, and its absence has been felt the past two years.

  However, it would be naïve to suggest that the mental health issues brought about and catalysed by the pandemic are going to disappear along with it. Of course the initial return to unrestricted living will be a huge boost, but for many, there will still be long-term effects to grapple with – not to mention post-Covid anxiety. While such problems will not be solved by simply removing restrictions, there is hope to be found in the renewed focus we’re placing on mental health and in the increased availability of in-person services for those who need them.

  The end of restrictions also comes as a relief to business owners, who have been struggling in every sector in the past two years. You would be hard pressed to find an industry that didn’t struggle with the impact of Covid-19, that didn’t have to rework how it operates in order to survive, and it’s a testament to the people working in these sectors that they got through the pandemic on the back of their own innovation and hard work. In this sense, the end of the pandemic feels like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the finish line after a two-year long marathon, and though there will still be a lot to grapple with after Covid’s gone, it’s good to be close to seeing the back of it.

  Not just the business owner but the worker too has much to look forward to when it comes to the new normal. We’ve learned how to pick and choose what’s worked for us the past two years, and remote/hybrid working is one of those things. Being able to work from home has made a big difference for so many in terms of having more free time, more comfortability, and more autonomy over your work routine. Outside of personal benefits, remote working has other positive impacts too, for example when it comes to the environment, as there’s less overhead and transportation involved.

  Overall, though the entire Covid experience is far from fully over and though its impact will weigh on us for a while to come, being able to meaningfully see the end of the road for the first time is encouraging. Dealing with the pandemic felt like a whirlwind, and now as we begin to emerge from it, some things still feel a bit up in the air – but above all, you can sense the relief. Yes, as we are so often reminded, we will continue to suffer a certain economic and mental toil long after Covid’s gone, but we are finally nearing the end of that two-year marathon, which is something to celebrate in and of itself.