The past two and a half months have been a roller-coaster of emotions for most of the world, myself included.
Lives were upended, jobs furloughed, schools closed, events canceled, stay-at-home orders enforced; the list goes on and on.
Life as we knew it was over and with no foreseeable end in sight, the days ahead seemed like a bleak rerun of “Groundhog Day.”
Fortunately as I write this, more businesses have been able to open, beaches are no longer off limits, and some sense of normalcy has resumed. Yet, the droves of people wearing face masks is a chilling reminder that COVID-19 is still a very real thing and a sign that this “new normal” is quite different than the lives we lived prior.
With all that being said, the best way I know how to cope with life’s challenges is to search for the silver lining.
I’ve been blessed to not know anyone directly impacted by COVID-19 (yet) and that’s the biggest gift of all, but my heart goes out to all the friends who have suffered loss as well as the healthcare workers who jeopardize their health every day and sacrifice time at home with their families.
Apart from this gratitude, I’ve taken away five unique gifts from these trying times.
Isolation is the Ideal Time for Self-Care
I’ve never been more in tune with my body than I am these days, and I don’t think I’m alone. People I know who have never thought twice about their immune system are now religiously taking supplements, consuming superfoods, and taking additional measures to ensure their body is nurtured both physically and mentally, whether that’s through cooking healthy meals, connecting with their partner, or one-on-one time with their children.
Isolation has also given me the space for self-care on a spiritual level. With more hours in the day at home, I’ve been able to read more, channel my creativity through various forms of art and writing, and tackle projects that were shoved to the back burner.
Communication is Vital for Well-Being
One of the most challenging aspects of isolation (while living alone) is not having someone to talk to regularly.
Prior to COVID-19, my social needs were met by engaging with people at work and social activities afterward. I didn’t appreciate how important this interaction was until it was no longer an automatic part of my day. Now, communicating with other humans is a conscious choice I have to make, whether that’s reaching out to check on a friend, connecting with strangers on social media, or engaging in (socially distanced) chitchat with neighbors. Communication is vital for mental well-being and that’s never been more apparent to me than now.
When you’re feeling down, reach out to someone. It makes more of a difference than you realize.
“Time” is No Longer a Scapegoat
The past few months have given me ample time to reflect on my life choices, commitments, and lack thereof. For years I’ve swept my goals under the rug and hidden behind excuses like not having enough time. With isolation freeing up significant amounts of time, I can’t bring myself to hide behind those excuses any more without feeling like a blatant liar. I have the time to write that book, I have the time to learn that new skill, and I have the time to connect with people. The word “busy” is no longer a viable scapegoat and that’s a huge gift in itself. All I have is time, so what will I do with it?
Greater Appreciation for the People in my Life
“People say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Truth is, you knew what you had, you just never thought you’d lose it.” ~ Clarissa Wild
To date, there have been over five million Coronavirus cases and over 300,000 deaths. I’ve seen countless stories of people’s mothers, fathers, and siblings going from normal and healthy to dead within a matter of days, and in most cases, they can’t even be at their loved one’s bedside because of transmission risks. This pandemic has given me a greater appreciation for the people in my life because at any moment they can be taken away by this mysterious virus. Tell the people in your life you love them and how much they mean to you, and don’t take a minute for granted.
Witnessing the Best in Humanity
“We’re all in this together”—this phrase has been echoed since the beginning of the pandemic and it really hits home.
I can’t think of a single time in my life when the world has been more unified than now. Not because we all agree about the cause of the virus or the politics behind it, but because we’re literally all experiencing this together. Every industry has been affected, all parents have had to adapt to at-home schooling, everyone either knows someone who has lost a job, or they themselves have become unemployed.
Globally, we’ve faced this crisis together and that means something.
I’ve seen the best in humanity come out with social movements like Pandemic of Love, global calls for transformation and healing, and more. With all the pain and trauma happening right now, there are millions of people coming together to share light, love, and to lend a helping hand.