Prioritizing well-being in a post-lockdown world

The world has been in simultaneous reset mode. COVID-19 has disrupted our everyday routines and rituals, leading to a time of self-reflection and re-evaluation. This forced solitude has led some to rethink life moving forward post-lockdown.

At the start of the lockdown, we engaged 102 consumers from 13 countries in our own global qualitative COVID-19 consumer community. Here, people shared their feelings and future intentions, making it the ideal platform to understand shifting attitudes and behaviors, and gain insight into new emerging habits. These insights were presented in our Consumers Unmasked webinar; one key insight being the Self 2.0.

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Pre-pandemic, Western ideas around productivity and success made self-improvement culture the norm. Across the globe, long commutes, overwork culture and the digitalization of our daily lives blurred the lines between work and play. As a countertrend, we experienced the rise of the wellness movement, digital detoxes and resistance to social media validation in response to our need to switch off.

Prioritizing well-being in a post-lockdown world

The rise of Self 2.0

The Self 2.0 illustrates how people have used the lockdown to rewind and reset. This ‘Be kind to yourself’ mantra applied to our physical and mental health, as our community spoke about rediscovering life’s simple pleasures in the form of DIY beauty regimes, home-made meals and reconnecting with nature. Meditation and mindfulness were prioritized as people experienced mood swings triggered by uncertainty.

“I will spend more time with family and friends. I think sometimes I forget to make time for people and that’s something I’ve really been thinking about the last few weeks.”

Male, US, 40-55

Pressing pause on normal life has its benefits; it granted people permission to take time for hobbies and interests without the temptation of always doing, thinking or achieving.

When asked about life after the lockdown, there is a shared intent of spending time with loved ones, ticking items off the buckets lists and rethinking career paths. There is a clear focus on prioritizing well-being over returning to self-optimizing every aspect of life. This doesn’t mean people are abandoning goals or ambitions; they are rather rethinking the steps to get there.

“In my work life, I will avoid stressing out too much and sleep more to get more satisfactory results.”

Female, IT, 25-39

We can see a shift towards a kinder approach to productivity, one which injects humanity back into our schedules. Home working has eased the pressure to automate our brains into constantly seeking out the most efficient way of performing tasks. As a result, a reimagined sense of personal fulfilment has emerged which isn’t defined by what we produce professionally.

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The cultural conversation was already slowly shifting away from hyper-efficiency towards resilience and contentment. To celebrate its 125th anniversary, British conservation charity The National Trust released its “We all need space” campaign. An accompanying advert clashed the all-too-familiar chaos of modern-day life with the calm tranquility offered by a visit to one of the charity’s countryside sites. Its overall message highlights the innate human need for calm, space and beauty.

“I will incorporate time for myself. I have been too busy to travel or go to the gym, I need to take better care of myself including relaxation.”

Male, US, 25-39

Now, the pandemic has accelerated this shift, with people forced to find smaller moments of joy away from the office. Launched in February 2020, subscription-based self-care app Tangerine helps people track their habits and moods to achieve healthy routines and personal goals. With the tagline ‘Life is too complicated. We designed an app to help you uncomplicate it.’, Tangerine aims to better connect how someone’s daily routine impacts how they feel. In March 2020, it featured among the App Store’s best monthly apps in 21 countries, including Germany, Italy and Spain.

The pandemic as a catalyst?

The question is: which long-term changes are here to stay? Will people grab back to old habits now society is slowly reopening? We enter the future as we speak, yet many aspects of our society are still in constant flux, and they influence the way consumers, industries and brands are behaving.

Through Culture + Trends exploration we help brands understand how consumer needs, attitudes and behaviors change, and how this will impact categories and brands over time. More info on our future-forward solutions is available here.

Tune in and hear from Joeri Van den Bergh (Future Consumer Expert & co-founder InSites Consulting) and Sarah Van Oerle (our COVID-19 Community Manager) what consumers envision as their new reality. Consumers Unmasked: Insights into an evolving COVID-19 reality!

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