Covid blues

5 Sep

The data released last October by the UK’s Office for National Statistics told us how happy we were in the first full Covid year, April 2020 to March 2021. Not very, obviously.

The annual declines under all headings were the greatest since measuring began, in 2011. Overall life satisfaction declined by 0.27 points (out of 10), ‘things done in life worthwhile ‘ by 0.15 points, and ‘happy yesterday’ by 0.17 points.

Anxiety across the UK increased on average by 0.26 points. All countries and regions saw a sharp rise in anxiety apart from Northern Ireland and the North East, the largest increases being in the West Midlands (0.44 point increase) and the North West (0.38 point). At the same time, Northern Ireland,  along with Yorkshire and The Humber, had the largest declines in life satisfaction (0.32 and 0.31). This suggests that, in Northern Ireland at least, it’s possible not to be especially anxious, but also to find life a bit of a drag.

Some people spent the pandemic baking bread, writing novels, or learning Serbo-Croat. I on the other hand spent most of it cowering in my room, googling symptoms. But it wasn’t nearly as difficult for me as it was for those who lost the loved ones memorialised in the Covid wall outside St.Thomas’s hospital, on the south bank of the Thames. Thank God the worst of it is over. Thank God for vaccines. Thank God for the NHS.

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