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Lockdowns to introduce new habits post-coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic outbreak, which has claimed thousands of lives globally, has introduced us to new ways of doing things, some uncomfortable but necessary to curb its spread and save lives. However, there are also some “positive habits” that might be helpful to normalise and embrace past the lockdowns and pandemic.

Below are a few of them:

Essential buying

The impact of COVID-19 has had a significant financial impact on consumers. The South African economy was already struggling before COVID-19 reached our shores, and this virus has made it exponentially worse for consumers.

Around 1 million job losses are expected, due to the impact of the virus, according to economists.

Prior to the lockdown, almost 40% of consumers were reported to be over-indebted, having defaulted on at least one of their accounts. Consumers are now looking at all the options available to them to ensure their financial livelihood. Some consumers have been advised that they will be facing salary reductions and possible job losses.

Debt rescue CEO, Neil Roets, says this is an opportunity to have a look at our budgets, and where our money goes each month.

“During the lockdown, we have had to change our habits in many areas, from washing our hands and having to keep our social distance. But another is that of how we spend. We have had to change our shopping habits to buying essentials only. And this may be a good opportunity to see which of these habits we can keep up after lockdown. We can see that many things we used to do might cost us unnecessary money each month. These include take-outs and buying instant meals and coffees, etc. Through small changes, such as meal planning, we can save a lot of money. We are having to be creative with the ingredients we have in the cupboard. And the less time we spend in the shops, the less likely we are to spend money on items we don’t actually need. And it is often these items that lead us onto a debt path, to buy items that give instant gratification, but that we often have no real need for; we just wanted it at that moment.”

Family time:

During the lockdown, families are spending arguably more time together than they usually do. With most entertainment activities prohibited and movement limited, people have no choice but to be with their families.

Parents who are usually away from home due to work commitments are now more involved with their children’s school activities as schools are currently closed and are eager for their children not to be behind when classes resume.

Associate Professor at Wits University Department of Psychology, Prof Mzikazi Nduna says where possible, employers should allow their employees to work from home even beyond the lockdown.

“The lockdown has been an amazing opportunity for some families as they got to spend time together – something that a large number of South Africans long for. This lockdown has provided some time to be with their families and this is time that we don’t usually get. Beyond the lockdown, it is important that we reassess our lifestyles and where it is possible, to make changes so that we can make time for our families. Employers and employment contracts may need to be flexible to allow for this. Employers can also adjust employment contracts to make it possible for employers to work from home when it is possible to do so.”

Philanthropy

Since the announcement of lockdown, those with more have gone out of their way to ensure that the disadvantaged are not left starving during this period. Relief funds were created to ensure businesses’ and individuals’ survival.

Social media feeds were flooding with inspiring content of philanthropic activities.

Hygiene

This goes without saying! Good hygienic practices should be embraced post coronavirus pandemic. According to the World Health Organisation, hand hygiene is the most important measure to avoid the transmission of harmful germs and prevent healthcare-associated infections.

Who knows, maybe the handshake will be replaced by the elbow greeting moving forward.

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