Listen to this episode on Tiny Leaps, Big Changes

The coronavirus has disrupted lives. It’s changed the way the world works. 

We may not know what to expect from here but we know one thing. The post covid era is going to be different. It’ll be filled with challenges that we, as a society, will need to tackle. But every hardship comes with lessons for us if we choose to listen. 

So today I’d like to share 5 lessons I’ve personally learned from the pandemic so far. The goal? To inspire you to look at your own situation and identify the lessons you should be walking away with. 

Because ultimately, this situation can be the worst thing ever, or it can be a source for new understanding. The choice is ultimately ours.

Plans and goals are just wishes

At the end of 2019 many of us sat down to make plans for the year ahead. Just like we always do. We journaled, set goals, figured out where our family vacations would be to, planned weddings…etc. But then 2020 happened and all of that went down the drain. Plans are really just wishes. Desires. They are things we want to see happen, but that doesn’t mean anything at the end of the day. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ever make plans. Instead, it means we need to start embracing change and flexibility in our planning.  It’s about recognizing that everything that can go wrong probably will. Make plans but be flexible with them. It will make you feel less guilty and more understanding.

Mental health is critical

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. “One in five adults in America – 43.8 million people – experience mental illness. This is 18.5% of our total population.” (Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness). 

Unfortunately, stigma is associated with mental illness and patients are discriminated against in society in all aspects like education, work, marriage, and many more, which leads to delay in seeking medical advice. For some reason, we completely accept people getting help for their physical ailments, but look down on those who seek help for mental ailments. But the pandemic has exposed a real mental health issue that needs to be addressed. 

Without our regular routines, a connection to society, and with the fear of losing our jobs or lives there is no better time to realize that mental health is real and affects all areas of life. 

Genuine human interaction cannot be replaced

Since the beginning of this pandemic we have started relying heavily on technologies like Zoom or FaceTime to fill in the gaps of connection that we are missing. Technology is definitely something that improves our overall efficiency and makes our lives easier. It connects us with people around the globe and helps us understand different cultures and their ideas.

During this pandemic it has helped enormously, allowing people who are at risk to still see and speak with each other. Allowing families to gather for the holidays without putting themselves in harms way. But unfortunately, genuine connection can’t be replaced so easily.  

Genuine physical interaction and connection makes us human. It releases endorphins that are critical to healthy day to day functionality. We are social animals and it definitely feels better to go on a trip with our friends rather than a zoom call with them. These emotions we experience tell us what we truly want and we feel more attached when in physical proximity.

You can only control your reaction

As we looked at earlier, plans are just wishes. When we head out into the world with a specific goal in mind we can’t actually control whether or not it happens. Ultimately we have no control over what happens in this world or what happens to us. What we do have is control over our reaction and response. The decisions you make will ultimately give you the results you gain. We are always going to be faced with challenges in this life, but how we deal with and perceive these challenges is a critical piece of the puzzle. It is all about the mindset and how you take control of the situation. Humans are amazing because we are capable of healing through nearly anything. Even something as traumatic as the death of a loved one can be managed with time. If we can do that, we can deal with any challenges we may face.

Resources

https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-By-the-Numbers