From hearing the birds sing to global online knitting networks, many Kiwis have reported experiencing "silver linings" during last year's level 4 lockdown, a study has shown.
Published one year on from New Zealand's nationwide lockdown, an Otago University study has shown almost two thirds of the country believed there to be "silver linings" to the country's period of lockdown.
Researchers questioned 2010 New Zealanders while they were at home between April 25 and March 23 2020, the results of which have now been published in PLOS ONE, an international scientific journal.
In response to a question on whether they had experienced positive aspects, 64 per cent saw a silver lining to lockdown.
Pride in New Zealand's response, taking up hobbies, forming friendships with neighbours and having more time to exercise were among the silver linings experienced by participants, said lead researcher Dr Matthew Jenkins.
"Lockdown represented a major flashpoint in people's lives and created an opportunity to stop, take stock and to reflect and connect with others," he said.
"Many people reported that kindness and helping behaviours became more common over this period. They described an 'old fashioned sense of community and caring ... that was not apparent before lockdown'."
He said social distancing measures forced people to use technology to communicate, encouraging connections across the globe.
"One participant reported they 'got to speak with my Dad, who lives overseas, daily' while another joined a global online knitting group to maintain social interactions."
Some participants reported feeling an increased sense of national unity, and the positive effects on the environment, with one observing "nature (was) having a break from humans destroying it", and they were enjoying "hearing birds sing".
Jenkins says the survey provided an interesting insight into what supports are needed to help people thrive in periods of uncertainty.
"Our findings show that in a time of turmoil, unrest and psychological distress, many people nonetheless found silver linings," he said.
"We also speculate that, despite the impact of the lockdown, many people had their psychological needs for social connectedness and autonomy met, and these were likely to have influenced compliance with lockdown measures."
"Identifying these silver linings will help Governments and mental health practitioners identify the support required to help people survive and thrive during prolonged and stressful events, such as pandemics and lockdowns."
The full article, "Silver linings of the Covid-19 lockdown in Aotearoa New Zealand" is published in the international scientific journal, PLOS ONE.