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‘Braver than I gave myself credit for’: what Positive News readers learned in lockdown

We asked Positive News readers how they have grown through the hardships of the pandemic. One year after the first lockdown in the UK, we share the learnings you are taking.

Over the past year, Covid-19 has inflicted misery on many. It has isolated us from our support networks, restricted our freedoms and, for some, caused devastating losses.. The impacts on mental health are immense, particularly for those on the front lines of the crisis, while parents have had the added stress of homeschooling, with many trying to work at the same time.

However, while the crisis has taken a lot, it has also given many of us the opportunity to reflect; break old habits and make new ones; take better care of ourselves; to make life decisions that didn’t seem possible before the pandemic. Many of us will be upset.

We invite the readers of Positive News to tell us how, along with the difficulties, it has grown positively during the crisis. Such was the volume of responses, many of which we found moving, that we could not publish them all, although we read them all. We hope the selection below resonates with and inspires your own insights and insights.

Embrace boredom

Boredom leads to beautiful things. I have come to realize that in modern life we ​​are terrified of being bored and so used to having entertainment and options close at hand. But boredom leads to true creativity and self-reflection. When I stopped trying to occupy myself with pointless tasks in the confinement and instead started listening to myself and living a day without a plan, that’s where the magic happened. ” Laura

Become more compassionate

“Despite being a part-time minister, I have come to see formal religion as very empty. [During the pandemic] people need more compassion and sympathy; many have had close family members who died alone at home or in hospital from Covid. I have had to provide services that reflect these emotional needs. I have become more compassionate and loving towards others. ” Paul

Find courage

“I work in the NHS (frontline but not Covid) and I have followed the massive changes that we had to make as a department and hospital. I [realised] that I am stronger and more flexible than I thought, and braver than I thought ”. Caroline

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Making tough decisions

“I learned that my stress is the direct result of the pressure I put on myself and not the result of the actual situation I find myself in. For me, the most stressful times of running a nursing home through this crisis have not necessarily been the most tragic parts, but when I have felt under pressure to make the right decision. So, I have learned ways to help myself with decision making. My confidence at work has increased significantly. Now I take a much more rational approach to the evidence and can make difficult decisions, knowing deep down that it is for the greater good. ” Charlie

Get fit

Frequent sustained exercises including doing 20 push-ups a day – I’m 83 years old. Beto

Honoring loved ones

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2020 and had to stop working for treatment. I’ve been locked up at home re-evaluating my life and taking long walks with my friends. I discovered how much they cared for me and how important my loved ones are. I decided to paint portraits of them and really observe, notice and honor them. My paintings have improved and as a result the Tate Gallery picked me up and asked me to do a live portrait painting session for the locked up viewers. I will concentrate only on painting and make it a central focus of my life; maybe it will give me more opportunities. ” Amy

Many respondents said that they had learned to find time to read and write. Image: Ben White

Let go of the results

“I think I finally understand the concept of not getting too attached to results. I had heard of him in the context of mindfulness and always thought he sounded very passive and negative. After a year of relentless predictions, changes, and ups and downs, I now realize the value and peace of letting each day unfold as it comes. ” Hannah

Be less critical

“How much my thinking is full of judgments, about myself and others. And by realizing it, I can change it. I realized how my need for plans and certainty got in the way of living a richer life. I have completely changed the way I manage my journal and now it is filled with wide open spaces. ” Jacqueline

Willingness to help

“To thank even more to the people who work in the National Health Service. Be even more willing to help those in need. ” Pete

I have learned to appreciate the people who work for the NHS even more.

Take risks

“I am no longer afraid to take risks with my style, I feel more confident to speak out against injustice and I appreciate much more the little moments of happiness in life that cheer me up.” Fiona

Embracing activism

“The pandemic has given me renewed faith in grassroots democracy and in the power of the people. We need to work for climate, racial and social justice, especially knowing that many of the people in power are in denial and are not taking proportional action. ” Liz

Get perspective

“I have become more compassionate, for myself and for others. I have learned to slow down and take life in stride, to remember to have perspective when I see a problem; many people often have more challenges to overcome and things can always be worse. I’ve spent more time thinking and in nature, just looking at birds and trees and appreciating the luxury of boredom. ” heather

Cold water and creativity

“I will continue to swim wildly and write poetry… maybe not at the same time! Though sometimes ideas come to mind when I’m in the water! ” Gina

Image: Erik Dungan

Structured learning

“I have tried to create personal structures to support myself, taking courses that I would never have done otherwise, starting to learn an instrument.” Patricia

Finding hope

“I am more confident in my own personality and hope to improve community spirit.” Kim

Slowing down

“I have slowed down. I really thought and reflected on what really matters. To be outside. Friends. Family. Good food. Cold swimming “. Robbie

Focusing on people and the planet

“The past year taught me a lot about the beauty of ‘good living’ (good life) philosophy and way of living: being closer to nature, be more community-centered, ecologically balanced and culturally sensitive. ” Ewelina

The pandemic has forced many to become more tech savvy. Image: Chris Montgomery

Be loving

“Becoming a more ‘explicit’ loving husband, father and grandfather. Follow my path of being comfortable with the unknown. I will gladly keep my subscription to Positive News “. Alain

Adapt to technology

“I have learned that it is never too late to adapt to new technologies. The online world has opened up fantastic opportunities for learning, being active and meeting others, but only if we adjust our thinking. ” Dorothy

Keeping it simple

“That I am content with a simpler life. I have not stopped going to restaurants and pubs. I have eliminated much of the ‘white noise’ in life and have spent a lot more time outdoors doing physical things like gardening, DIY and immersing myself in nature to disconnect from looking at a computer all week in my daily work. ” James

I would like to continue finding joy in quiet moments.

Holding the joy and anger

“A child will come into my life in the summer. What story can I tell you about how things changed after 2020? On a personal level, I would like to continue to find joy in quiet moments. I want to hold on to the anger I have felt at the injustices exposed by the pandemic. My goal is to tread carefully and help restore the environment in which my son and his generation can grow up in the wild. “ Esteban

Recognizing sacrifices

“I have been the only member of the family who has supported my disabled daughter emotionally and physically, and I have been honest about how stressful this has been. I have controlled the frustration of not being able to do what I hoped to do for myself in my first year of retirement. ” Jan


“I accept myself more. I think that, as an older woman, I am attractive on my terms. I have read more and been more creative. ” Denise

Some readers said they had learned to be more compassionate. Image: Sebastien Goldberg

Have a purposeful project

“I know that I can be happy in my own skin, as long as I have an ongoing project that occupies my mind. The skill is to have a project that occupies your mind, but with a result that benefits others. ” Colin

Being brave

“I will be more courageous: I will take care of my own prejudices more carefully in an effort to be a better person, to speak up when I hear or see injustices.” Jan

Asking for help

“Look for joy in the day to day more. Don’t procrastinate. Ask for more help. ” Cristobal

I will speak when I hear or see injustice

Doing less

“To spend more time enjoying the garden. Just doing grassroots activist work. Doing less and being still (internally) more. Continue reading Positive News “. Shirley

Practicing gratitude

“I will be more grateful for the day-to-day social interactions in cafes, shops, train stations, gyms, etc. I will smile more and show kindness to others during these interactions. I will prioritize my relationships and let my friends and family know how important they are to me. I will also feel gratitude for my health and for having survived a very challenging Covid infection. I still have some prolonged Covid symptoms, but I live in hopes of regaining full health over time. ” James

I’ve learned that it really takes a village to raise a child

Supporting ethical business

“I have completely changed how and where I buy food, as well as other household items. I completely stopped supporting any corporate business and also eliminated single-use items from my life (mostly plastic). I have changed my electricity supplier and I am also transferring my banking, all to ethical businesses. I’m not interested in supporting any business that cares about profits and shareholders before employees and the planet. ” Max

Giving myself credit

“In the last year I realized that I never gave myself enough credit for the effort I made to control others and how beautiful everything was returned during the pandemic.” Ripley


“I have learned that it really takes a village to raise a child. Giving birth to my second child in May 2020 meant that I really had to lean on my local ‘mother friends’. Giving birth is life changing, the pandemic has been life changing, trying to cope with both sometimes seemed impossible. However, throughout all of this, I have learned that I have four amazing women who care about me and my family more than I ever imagined and that I am so, so lucky to have them in my life. ” Gini

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