It’s safe to say the world has gone through difficult times these past few years. It’s been from one crisis to another, but the most gruelling of the lot was the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dealing with the pandemic was emotionally draining for most people as life became different from what we’ve been used to. As loneliness, uncertainty, and news of dead loved ones filled the air, mental and physical health suffered.
But while we may give anything to remove the pandemic from our history, there are so many lessons to take home in its aftermath. In general, we learned how precious life is and why we must make the most of every moment.
Here are important lessons we learned post-COVID.
Family members who never get to hear from one another for decades; older people living in isolation — this has been the norm for years. But thankfully, the pandemic has proven that nothing could be more medicinal than FAMILY.
At the heart of the lockdown in 2020, over 2.6 million young adults aged 18 to 29 moved back with their parents. It’s a culture shift from what we’ve always known. But yes, being with family helped them through those trying months.
And people who coped best amid the crisis were long-term couples who used it as an opportunity to renew their intimacy and connection.
Maybe our elderly parents don’t have to stay in a nursing home alone anymore. Perhaps they could be with us as they age, which can increase our chances of getting paid leave for family caregivers.
And for those of us who can’t physically be with our loved ones, the pandemic has taught us we can vaporise the distance with technology, like facetime.
With about 70% of Americans working from home, COVID compelled us to look for simple pleasures to soothe our souls and give our lives meaning. It could be eating chocolate, sipping a glass of wine while reading our favourite books, taking bubble baths, trying out yoga, or doing some gardening. In short, chocolate sales and yoga wears saw a spike in sales during the pandemic.
That is all self-care, a little pampering, and it’s crucial to our well-being, which is one important lesson the pandemic taught us. We can see that life is precious if we could take a step back from all the chaos once in a while and just focus on what gives us a little pleasure — a little meaning.
Self-care isn’t egoism or selfishness, and neither is it self-indulgence. It is a basic need we shouldn’t leave unsatisfied.
How ready were you for the pandemic? You most likely weren’t financially prepared. About 4 in 10 households didn’t have the cash to manage the unexpected expenses during the coronavirus lockdown. Many laid-off employees had to take loans to survive a few months later. It all boils down to emergency savings.
Imagine how much anxiety you probably were thrown into as you ran out of cash with so many expenses staring at you. But all that has passed, so you have a chance to prepare for any emergencies in the future by having a stash of cash locked up somewhere.
This is one area where companies can help employees by imbibing a culture of rainy-day savings funded with payroll deductions.
An important life lesson we learned post-COVID is that optimal health is invaluable. COVID-19 Death rate was higher amongst people with an underlying health condition. Healthy people with strong immunity didn’t have so much to worry about.
Fortunately, getting optimal health doesn’t have to be too difficult.
It’s all about recognising that life is precious and that your health is key to enjoying it to the fullest. So take daily positive steps regarding your diet, physical activity, and habits. Do some light exercises if you can’t go hard, eat healthy food, and let go of bad habits like smoking.
The pandemic opened our eyes to the fact that people can be just as productive working from home as in the office. Using video conferencing, project management software, and high-speed internet, people can work from anywhere and everywhere. This has made life much easier. How?
Of course, police officers and doctors would need a physical location to work. But if you can work remotely, it means you can stay somewhere with a low cost of living while still discharging your services. That will help you earn far more than you spend, giving you more financial freedom.
Companies are getting used to workers not being physically attached to a workspace, so they have learned to become more open to hiring remote and independent workers.
Loneliness hurts our health more than we thought. The feeling of loneliness is often a symptom of depression. But you see, one is more prone to depression — and even death — the longer they keep to themselves. And the pandemic made it very obvious.
The death rate of older adults in nursing homes significantly increased during the lockdown. 56% of adults aged 50 and above said they felt isolated in June 2020, which is two times the number of those that felt lonely in 2018.
Loneliness doesn’t only hurt our mental health. It can lead to more unfortunate incidents like death and suicide. No matter what, we can see how precious life is if we can connect and build better personal relationships as much as we can.
Life is precious because it is a gift, and we have a purpose to positively impact other people’s lives. As long as we’re alive, we have a chance to make the most of every opportunity we get.
So, go out of your shell once in a while. By helping others, you help yourself.
One good lesson we learned from COVID-19 is our newfound appreciation for nature. In one survey, almost 60% of Americans now appreciate nature differently from before. The same study discovered that over 75% of participants reported improved mood when they spent time outside.
Nature is medicinal to our mental health. It can help you manage stress, anxiety, and depression. So taking a walk or hiking can be good for your overall well-being. If you can’t go out to nature, you can bring it in by incorporating green plants into your home decor.
Who would have believed that life would become so different within only a few months? Who could have predicted that people would be laid off from work, businesses would shut down, and some would learn to work from home? But the pandemic taught us that anything is possible — that life can change in the twinkle of an eye.
So while hoping for the best, be prepared for the worst. By strengthening your defences, you can live with peace of mind knowing that you have what it takes to respond in moments of crisis. Whether by saving up cash, learning a new skill, or starting a side hustle, you’ll be sure you have a backup plan for worst case scenarios.
The government and communities have their roles in preparing for a crisis, but it’s great to do the little you can for yourself.
Change must come, whether a positive or negative one.
And the best we can do is to be flexible — to be willing to adjust to whatever situation we find ourselves in and make the most of it.
Typically, you could go out to a bar or club when you feel lonely and in need of fun. But during the pandemic, that became impossible. Still, people found ways to connect virtually and at home to pass the time. It is a lesson worth taking advantage of.
The world will never remain as it is. Times will change. Learn to embrace it and make the most of it.