Overcoming The Lockdown Blues
Living through over a year of a pandemic has altered our day-to-day lives in unforeseeable ways. While we tend to focus on the negative (which there is oh so much of), we sometimes overlook the unexpected silver linings. One change I’ve noticed in my household and others is the increase in lockdown DIY projects.
Whether it was the off and on stay-at-home orders, shut down of retail, limited finances, or self-isolation, people are relying more on their own handiwork. Since the last lockdown, my boyfriend and I have built a bench, book shelf, and even a bed!
Other people I know have started gardens, purchased Cricuts, and even refinished old furniture. One study from Spain found that the pandemic drove a 33.5% increase in DIY projects/ home repairs.
Although these are small sample sizes, this made me wonder, could our forced self-reliance be propelling us into a more sustainable lifestyle?
Why are DIYs so Important for Sustainability?
1) They Can Improve Product Efficiency
Simply put, DIY projects take out an entire step in the supply chain of product making. By doing this, we decrease our reliance on the manufacturing, transportation, and retail of these goods making the whole process much more efficient. This lessens the resources used and overall carbon footprint.
2) They Help Alter Buying Habits
For us, these lockdown projects were influencing the way we thought about finished goods. Instead of automatically going to the store or finding a product online, we started to think first, how could we make this ourselves?
With things not being so readily available, we tried to make do. We attempted to use and adapt the things we already had at home. This definitely helped to promote a sense of self-production and innovation that’d been forgotten.
3) They Allow us to Forgo Consumerism
Building something instead of buying slows down the process of consumption and eliminates the addictiveness of buying unnecessary items. Instead of simply purchasing a product, you collect the materials, plan out your design, and create!
Naturally this goes against the ideals of unsustainable consumerism because it forces you to put premeditated effort into what you truly want. You also develop a better appreciation for the resources, time, and work that goes into making a product.
4) They Support a Happier Lifestyle
At the end of a project, you feel fulfilled and proud. You have a sense of purpose that can lead to greater overall happiness. DIYs have been shown to have a direct impact on one’s well-being by promoting positive mood and arousal, lowering depression and anxiety.
5) They Can Increase Product Longevity
Finally, you have a stronger attachment to handmade goods than purchased products. The building process creates a positive memory association. This makes it less likely for you to get rid of and more likely to repair or hand down. This will of course increase the longevity of your products and avoid waste.
All these factors develop habits and behaviours that promote sustainability.
A Positive Ripple Effect
The more lockdown DIY projects we started, the more we wanted to start the next. Of course there were some learning curves along the way… but with each project, we became more confident in our ability to create and build. This initiated a sort of positive feedback and before we knew it, we were master DIYers (at least we’d like to think so).
Imagine if we all applied this “lockdown DIY” lifestyle towards our food, clothing, and housewares? This could have overwhelming effects on the way these industries operate. We would see less waste, resource use, and international shipping impacts. We would indirectly address other issues such as mental health and worker exploitation.
Although these things might seem far removed from your weekend plan to refinish an old table, if we take the time to think about it, these small actions are achieving greater overarching goals. For some DIY ideas, check out some of our related posts!