5 Lessons Learned from Covid-19
What happened, happened…
Over the past year, actually almost two years, we’ve experienced as many unprecedented events as one could not expect… Lockdowns, isolations, media storms, and a great deal of fear of uncertainty have become the daily bread of rather an extreme majority of the world’s population. Whether you worked in hospitality services, studied, ran a business, or simply enjoyed the freedom of your pension-supported retirement, this time of constant change and social disruption was not an easy shift. This ‘new normal’ brought about new challenges along with new opportunities and with the latter in mind, I would like to invite you to reflect on the lessons we could take from the months passed.
So, take a breath, sit down if you’re not yet, and try to approach this subject with an open mind. It might so happen, that these five lessons will help you in the years to come…
Lesson #1 – Embrace the quiet
Just how much time did you spend on your own before the pandemic happened…?
If you’re like most people, a rather substantial part of your daily, weekly, and monthly activity revolved around social events, family gatherings, and work-based experiences. Also engaging with the online platforms and digital-based world itself played and still does play a major role in our daily time expenditure. So, think about it, how much time did you have to sit down, think, and become present with the ‘boredom’ of not doing anything in particular…?
Because of the hustle and bustle of the world around us, we seldom perceive non-active time as something of value. On the contrary, we often avoid these ‘wasted’ moments, exchanging them for adrenaline, endorphin, or dopamine-driven activities. But is that healthy for us in the long run…?
Over the pandemic-driven months, especially those spent in isolation of our homes, we’ve been given (forced, to be more exact) time to reconnect with the potentially mundane, but so essential aspects of ourselves. As it quickly became apparent to many of us, embracing the quiet can make us feel more at peace and aware of ourselves. Think about it this way, if you do not understand and accept yourself in all your glorious uniqueness, how can you expect someone else to do so…?
Lesson #2 – You’re in control (of your time)
I don’t know about you, but personally, when the first lockdown took place, I felt completely lost. Suddenly, there was no routine of going to the office, no usual time of friends-meeting, and even going to the shop became a one-off special occasion, which required more consideration than ever before… Suddenly the autopilot was off.
Throughout our lives, especially at a young age, we’re often running down the path, which is paved in majority by the societal norms and expectations that we, our families, and our countries have for us. Growing up might feel like ticking off the boxes, while enjoying the time in-between, especially in the contemporary education and job-searching experience. We’re told to go to school, go to work, go to the gym, go to the party, etc. A treadmill without an end with a limited range of options to choose from.
But then, pandemic hits. Out of the blue, we’ve been put in charge of the way our days are spent almost fully. Of course, we still had to work, study, or train, but all of these activities became a part of a to-do list for ourselves to take care of. We have regained conscious control of our time. Taking this lesson to heart, think of your time as the most valuable resource you have and use it wisely. And remember – life is to be lived, so live it as you wish.
Lesson #3 – We need one another
If you were asked ‘what did you miss the most during lockdown’ what would you say…?
You might not agree with me on this one, but I missed other people. Especially my family and friends.
Working from home, studying from home, training from home, and living from home might be comfortable at first and for some, it might become the goal for the future, but as humans. we all need one another. We are, after all, social creatures – ones that thrive in the atmosphere of cooperation and self-validation. So, finding ourselves happy isolated within our homes was not an easy task.
This brings up the third lesson from the pandemic, one about staying connected. And I do not mean connected via technology – it might be a quick fix, but not the solution. Our tribal nature demands connection, a human connection. We want to feel others close to us, be able to shake their hands, and talk face-to-face without the disruptions of the outside world. We want to feel together. So, taking this on board, make sure to spend some quality time with the ones you love and do not avoid connecting with strangers. After all, we need one another.
Tip #4 – Habits do count
As the saying goes ‘human is a creature of habit’. And whether you agree with this statement or not, I’m sorry to break it to you, but it’s true. Just think about it. How many of the activities during the day do you do with full awareness of the doing? Do you think of every move your hand makes when you brush your teeth? Do you plan the way you will take a shower? Of course not.
Over the course of our lives, starting with early childhood, our bodies and minds are conditioned to work in the most efficient, energy-saving way. We adopt habits. Both good and bad. Both mental and physical. The way you eat, the way you walk, and the way you think can be broken down into a database of do’s and don’ts that over time proven to help you gain pleasure or avoid pain in all areas of life.
That is when the fourth lesson comes into play. As we become more aware of ourselves, have more say in creating our schedule, and realise how dependent on external forces (like friends, workplaces, and social gatherings) we’ve been, we also got to understand our habits better and gained an opportunity to make them work for us. We can break those that do not work for us and add those that will.
So, think of it this way – what would you like to do and what could you do daily, that will make your life more meaningful and joyful over time…? And remember, habits are created by repetition and persistence, so don’t rush it, just do it ‘one step at a time’…
Tip #5 – Working from home can work
The last lesson is rather obvious, especially when looking through the lens of employability, career, and one’s goals and dreams. Since the first lockdown and the unprecedented changes, our societies have managed to adapt. Working from home was initially considered a great hindrance and like with anything unknown, it took some time for us to appreciate, adjust, and ‘work it out’.
After a few months, the majority of the companies that had the means to work online ‘got back from their knees’. It didn’t take long for the industry to adopt this digital reform. Of course, some might appreciate this more than others. Because like in every aspect of our being, we are all different. For some this ‘working from home’ will work and for some, it won’t.
But the key is this, we have proven to ourselves that we can manage, even in such circumstances. For many enterprises, this new model saved plenty of expenses, while offering workers more time with their families. Of course, working next to your child doesn’t count as the ‘family time’, but it can help to promote it. So, after many months of difficulties and dynamic changes, coming back to work might not mean coming back to the office. And whether that is something you would like to do; the choice is yours!
You choose what happens next…
With the above in mind, I would like you to take some time and think about your situation. Who are you? What do you want to do? Who do you want to see? What do you want to change? How do you want to work?
All these questions are but the tip of the iceberg of self-inquiry and self-development. It is up to you to take the lessons from Covid-19 and let them enrich your life. The world has shifted, and you had to adapt; the environment has changed and you had to improvise; the time has come and you are in control…
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