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After an initial 21-day hard lockdown, an extension, and the gradual easing of regulations, South Africans are almost at the 100-day mark, but infections continue to climb…

So what has confinement taught us? As we face the gloomy economic uncertainties brought on by the pandemic, are there some silver linings?

PURA Soda asked 500 South Africans from all walks of life what they got up to during the Level 5 hard lockdown, and what impact restrictions had on their health, wellbeing and relationships. and what impact restrictions had on their health, wellbeing and relationships. “We have made some very interesting discoveries, from fitness regimes to how people maintained their mental health”, says Greig Jansen CEO.

Here’s what they found:

Despite feeling closer and more connected to their families, friends and communities, the overarching emotion felt by many was anxiety.  The study also shows that the lockdown has likely had longer term impacts on behaviour, with many reporting that they will continue to shop online and work from home even after it is over.

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KEY FINDINGS

  • 70% of people opened their fridges more than usual and 38% gained weight during lockdown.
  • 82% of respondents claim that the lockdown helped them feel closer or more connected to their family, friends, colleagues or community.
  • 46% of respondents were unable to work at all during lockdown level five.
  • On average, the respondents spent almost 70% of their time in lockdown wearing either pyjamas or tracksuit pants.
  • More people reported feeling happy during lockdown (23%) than sad (11%), but the most common emotion reported was anxiety (40%).
  • 47% of respondents believe that more people will shop online and work from home following lockdown.

The lockdown’s impact on exercise & diet

Despite being relegated to their homes, most respondents found a way to exercise during level five.

People relied on exercise apps, YouTube tutorials, or live streamed classes; home exercise equipment or routines; or simply running around their properties to keep them in shape, and boost their mental health.

  • 78% of people continued to exercise
  • 42% did less exercise than usual

While South Africans did try to find a way to exercise during lockdown, they also spent a lot more time visiting the fridge than normal!

  • 42% claimed that their diets were less healthy
  • 38% gained weight
  • 70% opened their fridges more than usual
  • 86% took steps to strengthen their immune systems
  • 74% drank no alcohol at all
  • Only 3% drank more alcohol than usual

The lockdown’s impact on relationships

Despite being isolated from each other, the lockdown actually brought many people closer together. Most respondents claimed that they feel closer or more connected to their family, friends, colleagues or community as a result of the lockdown.

Many actively went about trying to improve their relationships with their families during lockdown and some also used the time to get to know themselves a little better.

  • 82% feel closer or more connected to their family, friends, colleagues or community
  • 36% used the time to improve their relationships with their families
  • 29% used the time to get to know themselves better

The lockdown’s impact on mood

When asked to describe their mood during lockdown, the most commonly reported emotion was anxiety. However, many claimed to have also felt either relaxed or bored. More people reported feeling happy that either sad or lonely.

  • 40% felt anxious
  • 32% felt relaxed
  • 23% felt bored
  • 11% felt sad
  • 12% felt lonely
  • 23% felt happy

After lockdown

When it came to the things that people were looking forward to the most once the lockdown is finally over, visiting friends and family was the firm favourite. This was followed by going to the beach; visiting a national park or nature reserve; dining out; and getting hair done.

“It is good to see that, despite all of the uncertainty of COVID-19, many of our respondents found a way to benefit from the lockdown, be it by bettering themselves, working on their relationships or improving their outlook on life,” concludes Jansen.