A NEW survey has found that the majority of Irish adults enjoyed life in lockdown, in what may come as a surprise to many.
The Irish public have spent close to a full year in lockdown, after restrictions were first brought in in March 2020, eased over the summer, brought back in October, eased for Christmas and brought back again in January.
Many have found the past year immensely difficult-- but more still have managed to carve some happiness out of the unprecedented situation, remaining optimistic and attempting to find the positives in life.
In a survey carried out by Zahara and reported by The Irish Independent, more than half of respondents reported enjoying life under lockdown, or 59% of 4,191 people surveyed.
23% of those who reported enjoying lockdown explained that it gave them more time to spend with family, 13% enjoyed being able to save money and 26% were happy being under less pressure to be social.
Of those surveyed, 37% of people admitted there are aspects of old life that they do not miss, and 16% admitted being nervous about returning to life as normal before the pandemic.
Of aspects of the lockdown that people would like to keep when life goes back to normal, 23% of people said they enjoyed not having to commute to and from work, while 44% said they have a better appreciation for time spent with friends and family.
When questioned about what they are most looking forward to when the pandemic ends and life goes back to normal, just 2% of people said they were most looking forward to returning to the pub, and people's attitudes to drink in general are changing: 16% are drinking more and 16% are drinking less than before.
Rather, most of the 4,000 people surveyed said they were most looking forward to spending time with their loved ones without any fear or restrictions. 17% are most looking forward to travelling again, while 12% are eager to return to restaurants.
Questioning those who have been working from home since the pandemic hit, 51% said they would hope to see a mixture of working from home and in the office in future, while 25% do not want to return to the office at all.
Speaking on the survey, managing director of Zahara, Gina Militadou, said the report found that "people in Ireland are not only becoming accustomed to living with Covid-19 but have warmed to the small wins that come with a slower pace of life".
"The pandemic has forced people to reevaluate what matters most, which, for many, will have an indefinite impact on how we choose to live our lives moving forward.”
But it is not all positive news: while 6 in 10 Irish adults enjoyed aspects of the lockdown, 30% admitted their mental health is suffering-- and just 23% of those have received professional help.
A quarter of all those surveyed said their deteriorating mental health has affected their performance at work, with 42% of the 4,191 people surveyed admitting their ability to do their job has suffered, while almost half are finding it difficult to balance work and childcare.