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Life During The COVID-19 Pandemic

During the pandemic we’ve had to adapt to the new ways of living, and have adjusted how we spend our leisure time, our routines and habits as a result. But just how have our lives changed and do we intend to keep up with any of our new-found habits after the pandemic when life returns to a more normal state?

We’ve asked people from across the UK, just how their lives have changed over the course of the pandemic, including changing habits, changes to our diet, alcohol consumption and mental health.

Take a look at the results in our graphic below.

How we are spending our time

Priorities have changed in the past year and people have found different ways to fill their time, whether it be reading, cooking or spending time on other hobbies. With a lot of extra time on our hands, people have been checking social media a lot more and we saw a 6% rise in time spent on this activity per day in comparison to before the pandemic.

There has also been an underlying trend in people looking for meaningful ways to keep up good mental wellbeing. Reading saw a rise in popularity with a 5.78% rise in activity each day since before the pandemic started, while mental wellness activities such as meditation and manifestation have seen a 4.83% increase.

Adapting to life during a pandemic hasn’t been easy, so understandably some of our habits have changed as a result. Take a look at the graphic below to see how our diets, alcohol intake and mental health have been affected.

Changing habits

When it comes to our diet and alcohol intake, 39% of people said they had eaten more junk food since the pandemic started, while 24% of people said alcohol has helped them cope with the stresses of the pandemic. However, many people are planning on getting healthier in the future with 45% looking to improve their diet once the pandemic is over.

Although the pandemic has created many additional stresses and strains, 44% of Brits said that they have become more focused on their mental wellbeing since last March. It’s widely known that exercise releases endorphins and the UK public have taken advantage of this, with 46% of people finding it useful to help their mental health and 38% increasing their exercise levels due to the pandemic.

But are there some cities that have been relying on these healthy habits to see them through the pandemic more than others?

Cities with healthy habits

London comes out on top as the city that is leaning on healthy habits the most to get through the COVID-19 pandemic, with 43% of residents saying they are now following healthier routines. Manchester and Norwich closely follow behind with 37% of people becoming more health-conscious.

As for the future, the effects of the pandemic will continue to develop for some time yet but it does look like the nation’s new-found positive habits are set to continue. On the whole, over half (55%) of people intend to continue any healthier habits they’ve picked up during lockdown after everything is over.

Methodology – The research was conducted by our survey partner Censuswide, with 2,003 general consumers in the UK between 08.01.21-11.01.21. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles. All data available on request.