Should I stay or should I go?

Rosanna Machado | July 8, 2020

In 2014, a 48-hour tube strike in London closed 50% of the network and commuters were forced to find new routes to work. Surprisingly, a study by the economists Ferdinand Rauch, Shaun Larcom and Tim Willems showed that after the strike, one in 20 people stuck to their new route. Many of us are creatures of habit, yet when obstacles are put in our way, this often leads to great things. We are in an unfamiliar situation and therefore forced to stay alert, concentrate the mind and explore things with a fresh approach.

Lockdown has been a different experience for each of us. Personally, I have enjoyed the enforced slow down, reflection time and connecting more with my local community (admittedly I am not wrestling with home schooling which I know for many has been anything but a slow down!). I appreciate parks on my doorstep, I’ve had time to think about what’s important, focussed on developing new areas of my business and formed a new routine based on what I have been able to do. The human ability to adapt is incredible and with that comes a huge amount of learning and discovery. Adopting a growth mindset allows us to look at everything that is thrown at us as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Perhaps the removal of FOMO (fear of missing out) has also played its part. It’s unusual to have a universal situation where we have all lost that overwhelming choice of what to do which fills a lot of people with fear and indecision about making the right choice. It has become more JOMO (joy of missing out) where enforced time at home has been an opportunity to catch up on my backlog of books, box sets and learning which has been a lovely experience.

As lockdown eases, we are all faced with choices again.  Choices about where and when to go out. Perhaps a desire to throw ourselves into life to catch up on everything we have missed out on. But before you do, have a think about how you’d like to spend your time and in particular whether there is anything from lockdown that you would like to keep:

  • Before committing to engagements, consider what’s important to you that week. How many nights would you like to yourself? Are there hobbies or other interests you would like to pursue? Are you likely to have a hectic time at work and therefore need more relaxation time? Is a group meet up what you need, or would you prefer one on one time?
  • Don’t be afraid to say no to things that aren’t right for you but think about how you can deliver that message in a respectful way
  • Are there any good habits from lockdown that you would like to hold on to? How can you incorporate them into your new routine? One of the easiest ways to do this is to stack it on top of an existing habit.
  • Understand your own level of comfort about doing certain things – for some of us, the thought of being in a crowded pub is not appealing and that’s ok
  • Be respectful of other people’s boundaries and levels of comfort
  • Lockdown has shown us that we can stay connected to people in a number of ways. If you are unable to meet someone face-to-face, think about how else you can connect with them
  • I have been overwhelmed with how kind people have been through lockdown and try to repay this by doing something good each week, no matter how busy things get. It can be something as simple as smiling at a stranger (I need no encouragement myself to chat to strangers!)


We can all make choices based on what’s important to us and with this comes an opportunity to learn and grow and hold on to some of the good habits from lockdown.