single life style & the pandemic
As a Lifestyle Coach, we are naturally interested to observe different lifestyles and study how personal habits and social norms affects people’s overall well-being. In recent decades, single lifestyles have become an accepted social norm. Living single has its advantages and disadvantages, but it certainly can have an advantage during a pandemic like COVID19. Put simply, when living single, we have more control over contamination and sanitization resulting in less stress with respect to being exposed or to contaminate others with the virus.
Based on research done on single lifestyles in different countries, it is proven that our lifestyle is a contributing factor to our health, safety and our overall way of life. In such studies, Sweden is particularly interesting and it really shines, perhaps as a result of the following:
“More than half of all Swedish homes are made up of one resident, the highest proportion in Europe, according to Eurostat figures. The most common age to move out from your parents’ place is between 18 and 19, compared to an EU average of 26. Some experts believe that these living patterns might help stem the spread of coronavirus.”
There are numerous countries which mirror Sweden’s social norms, but there are just as many countries that have social norms that are unfortunately detrimental in the wake of a pandemic. For example, countries such as Italy where the majority of the population express their affections by closeness, hugging and kissing and less social distancing. These differences in social norms undoubtedly affect the spread and the number of sick people, particularly in densely populated cities:
“As for social distancing, Swedes already have that down, and naturally gave each other tons of physical space, way before the coronavirus pandemic hit,” says Lola A. Åkerström, an author on Swedish culture.
We must prepare our bodies and minds for the next fight, and part of that preparation includes understanding how our lifestyle, social norms, governmental regulations and systems play a role in protecting ourselves and others.
With the above in mind, it is certainly important to understand that these social norms must work in tandem with governmental regulations which would hopefully work to have systems in place to protect against a pandemic. The Swedish government is an example of generous pay to their employees, providing childcare and other social supports, adopting advanced technology for working from home and many other innovative and supportive mechanisms supporting the well-being of its citizens:
“The Nordic nation has one of the most advanced digital economies in the EU and a strong background of innovation. More than two thirds of Swedes already work online from home at least some of the time, with around a third doing this on a daily or weekly basis.”
Also, the collaboration of their corporations and innovation of alternatives to serve the society is amazingly productive:
“After thousands of staff from Scandinavian airline SAS were laid off, they were offered additional nursing training so they could support hospitals, thanks to funding from a private research foundation. Workers from truck-maker Scania are supporting a medical company to produce more respirators, and supermarkets have been actively targeting hotel and conference venue staff who’ve lost their jobs.”
As we deal with this most recent pandemic, we must remember that this isn’t the first and it certainly won’t be the last. We must prepare our bodies and minds for the next fight, and part of that preparation includes understanding how our lifestyle, social norms, governmental regulations and systems play a role in protecting ourselves and others.
Put simply, single or not, if you think your life and your lifestyle can be filtered down into a less stressful and more manageable way, act on it. Simplicity leaves us time to enjoy the beauty of the world around us, bringing us peace and tranquility.