With the family spending more time together at home, space and privacy have a new premium for household harmony. With everyone expected to be with each other until some form of normalcy returns, living in proximity with your loved ones 24 hours a day will take a toll. ;
What’s on Your Mind?
During the first lockdown in the UK, 39 percent of couples suffered from high levels of stress, up from 19 percent at the end of 2019. The worries about job security and the balancing of work with home or online schooling were major factors driving up the anxiety levels. People over 74 suffering from high stress was almost twice the 16-24 year age group, a significant increase since data normally shows those past their mid-60s usually have the lowest levels.
Other data on mental health during the pandemic lockdown show that young people are especially vulnerable. In another survey, one in six children aged between five and 16 years had a probable mental disorder, up from one in nine in 2017. Similar differences were apparent in preschool and young adult age groups; the 17 to 22-year group showed the first significant gender difference, with a 27 percent increase for women and 13.3 percent for men.
The Race For Space
With furlough and redundancies causing some adult children to move back to their parents, school and university closures, remote working, and older people moving in with younger relatives to care for them, demands on the home have increased. The need to accommodate more family members has encouraged a race for space. Those who can afford to move are looking to relocate to larger houses, rural homes, and properties with more outdoor space. Although the housing market fell during the early lockdown, the government dropping stamp duty on houses up to £500,000 has encouraged price increases of 7½ percent for the year to October. Since March, the price of a typical detached house has increased by 6 percent, to an average of £27,371 according to Halifax, a mortgage lender.
Upgrade and Outside
Not everyone can afford or wants to move house, so instead of the race for space, homeowners want to improve their space. Between 9th to 15th March, sales of building materials increased by 31.4 percent, paint by 47.1 percent, tools, and equipment by 14.7 percent and garden plants, seeds, and bulbs by 48.2 percent. Total retail sales for September increased by 5.5 percent largely because of the strong demand for DIY and gardening.
A splash of paint and extra shelf space indoors may improve the ambiance and clutter inside, but how about utilizing the outdoor space? Gardening may not have been a hobby prior to the lockdown, but now look at it as a priority. You don’t have to have green fingers to clear up the back garden, just a willingness, some garden tools, and several rubbish bags. Be prepared to clear out the garden shed and alcoves that have stored unwanted household items for months. Then consider a better use for the new space, like a gym or workspace.
Examples from Business
In the retail and hospitality world, the lockdown presented headaches because of social distancing rules and the ban on social gatherings. Some lessons learned to make extra space can be applied at home.
When bars and restaurants have been allowed to open, proprietors have rearranged their layouts and enforce protocols that prevent bottlenecks of customers and staff and limit personal contact. With social distancing resulting in the number of customers allowed in a bar or restaurant severally reduced, venues with an outdoor area took advantage of the extra space. Although the weather doesn’t always comply with the demand for outdoor seating, commercial retractable awning, gazebos, and patio heaters or fire pits have provided relatively cheap options to attract and keep customers happy.
Coping with the living situation brought about by the threat of Covid-19 has brought families closer together; it’s also increased the need for cooperation and respect for privacy. Creating an environment that eases the stresses of lockdown helps everyone, and increases the commitment to wait out the pandemic. So, find a DIY manual and don your gardening gloves and get busy!