Meaningful lockdown activity more fulfilling than mindless busyness

A new study shows that those who adapt their normal hobbies to be covid-compliant are more fulfilled than those following new lockdown trends and novelty activities. 220 takes a look...

Meaningful lockdown activity more fulfilling than mindless busyness Photo by Gabe Pierce @gaberce

A study published by PLOS ONE shows that continuing with the hobbies that you enjoyed pre-lockdown and virus is more satisfying than taking up a new lockdown activity.


This is because these activities feel more meaningful and fulfilling, as opposed to filling your time with random activities that you would not have otherwise done pre-lockdown. Of course, hobbies must be altered to fit guidelines, such as an exercise class previously sweated out alongside a bunch of classmates may now be on Zoom. Yet, more negative emotions were found to occur when doing meaningless activities for the sake of keeping busy.

Researcher Dr Lauren Saling explains that “busyness might be distracting but it won’t necessarily be fulfilling…think about what activities you miss most and try and find a way of doing them”.

How have you adapted over lockdown?

We asked our followers how they have adapted what they love during lockdown, with restrictions at times of one outing a day and family to look after. The overwhelming response indicated that as triathletes we have learned to be uber-multitaskers, from muted conference calls while on the treadmill to garage home gyms. Exercise seems to have become more important than ever to our wellbeing.

Survey participants rated their wellbeing levels and found they felt less extremes of emotions when adapting previously loved activities into covid-compliant alternatives, as opposed to engaging in novelty less meaningful activities. Saling confirms that “when you’re doing what you love, it makes sense that you feel more balanced — simply keeping busy isn’t satisfying”, thus uncovering the fallacy that keeping busy can help to avoid negative emotions.

“This too shall pass” – Persian adage

So what’s the take-home message here?

As triathletes, who choose to spend our time roaming the outdoors, for whom exercise is fun and not a chore, we are comparatively very lucky. That’s not to say that it’s not difficult, restrictions on socialising and activities has had a huge impact on the nation’s mental health. As triathletes, we are resilient and we can still do a lot of what we love best – running, home workouts, cycling – and that is something to focus on and appreciate as much as possible.

Journal source: Daniel B. Cohen, Morgan Luck, Atousa Hormozaki, Lauren L. Saling. Increased meaningful activity while social distancing dampens affectivity; mere busyness heightens it: Implications for well-being during COVID-19PLOS ONE, 2020; 15 (12): e0244631 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0244631


Photo by Gabe Pierce @gaberce from Unsplash