Apart from the fact that life is precious and the people who work for the NHS need a pay rise more than they need Susan over the road banging on a saucepan on a Thursday night, what have you learnt during the Coronavirus pandemic? That people apparently needed lessons on washing their hands? That there are more conspiracy theorists on your Facebook friends list than you realised?…or that in a crisis people just can’t get enough pasta and loo roll?
Probably all of those things to be honest. But more than that.
Through all the panic-buying, selfishness and casual racism this pandemic revealed – all born from fear and ignorance – some wonderful examples of positivity shone through; from those who shopped for the elderly and vulnerable, to those who offered free online fitness classes to keep everyone’s mental health from getting lost down the side of the sofa with the remote.
Even when things got worse and we were all locked down, there were people out there trying to motivate and inspire us – encouraging us to take up new hobbies, learn a new skill, to join together (not physically of course) and support each other.
So, what positives have you taken from the Coronavirus pandemic?
It’s Made You Think About Your Relationships With Friends and Family
This was the big one for everyone I think. The first thing most people said when asked what the most distressing thing was for them with regards to what was going on, was how much they missed family and friends – much more so than losing jobs or not being able to get hold of essential items.
It made us realise that perhaps we take our friends and family for granted, and don’t prioritise them – so sure are we that they’ll always be there.
And what about those we didn’t miss because we were suddenly all in the house together 24/7, getting on each other’s last nerve? Sure, there were times like that – but also it gave us a chance to reconnect with those who might have otherwise been ships in the night before all this started; with our children who were always out with their mates or a partner who worked long hours out of the house.
Well now we’ve had a chance to learn about these people again, give each other undivided time and attention, without the age-old excuse, ‘I haven’t got time.’ We had nothing but time during the Coronavirus pandemic.
We’ve Thought More About Our Physical And Mental Health
Granted, a lot of us sat around stuffing our faces and watching box-sets during lockdown, but there were others who used the time to make their health more of a priority and took steps to develop healthier eating habits and build a healthier lifestyle.
For those who didn’t, leading a more sedentary lifestyle over the last few months might have now kick started a change. We’ve probably taken for granted the fact that when the world was ‘normal’ we could go to a gym after work, play tennis or football with a friend or attend a dance class; and now that we are able to start doing some of those things again, we are doing so with a renewed sense of enthusiasm and vigour.
And let’s not forget our mental health. For a lot of people spending more time alone, away from family members and friends really took a toll on their mental health. We can now appreciate more how our social circle is vital in keeping feelings of depression, stress or anxiety at bay; how much our jobs kept us mentally active, or how keeping physically active made our minds as well as our bodies feel so much stronger.
How Much Humans Impact On The Environment
One of the big changes that has occurred during the Coronavirus pandemic is the decrease in pollution levels. Factories have had to slow down production, or in many cases halt it altogether. Air-pollution levels have been at an all time low and wildlife is flourishing. An important lesson we can take is that the planet doesn’t need us – we need it, and we need to start showing it the respect and care that it deserves. I only hope that now we are no longer in lockdown we can remember this; although recent footage of birds and sea creatures entangled in disposable masks, and the beaches awash with litter makes me fear that it may have been a lesson quickly learnt, and quickly forgotten.
We Normally Spend More Than We Need To
While it’s true that a lot of us can say that the credit cards took a bit of a battering during lockdown thanks to Amazon and online shopping in general, maybe out of boredom rather than necessity, how many of us have actually saved money during this Coronavirus pandemic?
If we think about the amount of money we haven’t spent – on petrol, meals and drinks out, on takeaways it probably amounts to quite a lot. Likewise with spur of the moment purchases; how many times in the past have you gone somewhere for bread and milk and come out of the shop 50 quid lighter?
Being more aware of what we’re spending – possibly because we’ve been earning less, or have been worried that we might lose our jobs has shown us that we don’t need as much as we think we do in order to be happy. It’s taught us to be more thankful for what we have, and that we can easily cut a lot of excess out of our lives. You’ve probably lived without things over the last few months that you used to consider essential – and you survived.
We Can Take Life At A Slower Pace
The world we live in is so ‘go, go, go’, that we rarely stop to smell the roses. Today’s society is so fast-paced, we want everything yesterday – if not faster, and we are constantly telling ourselves and others that we ‘don’t have time’. We put ourselves under a lot of pressure to be more productive, more competitive and better than our peers. These traits are the reason we excel at our careers, but it isn’t sustainable; it leads to burnout, and often depression.
We hear a lot about work-life balance, but how many of us can truly say we have it? The pandemic was a chance to restore that in part. Spending more time with our families, eating together, talking together, and generally taking life at a slower pace.
Taking one day at a time and making every moment count is easier said than done, and I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t plan for the future, but we need to make a conscious effort to live in the now. Life is short, let’s make an effort to enjoy it.
We Are All More Equal Than We Realise
Something like a Coronavirus pandemic is a great equaliser. Things that are so often valued by society like status, money, looks, and fame have no real bearing on what happens to you, and it can’t protect you. We are all susceptible to the same illnesses and consequences. We are all human, and sometimes it takes something like the events of recent times to remind us that we are all on this planet together and the sooner we all start appreciating that we need to work together and not against each other the better!