Monique West, LCSW-R
Lessons Through COVID-19: Realizing A New Normal
Updated: Apr 28, 2021
Coronavirus has undoubtedly ravished many of lives worldwide over the past year. As of the date of this blog writing: 141,000,000 people has been infected with COVID-19, 80,400,000 people has recovered and 3.01 Million people have died worldwide. COVID-19 has undoubtedly touched each one of our lives in one way or the other. Some common hardships created by COVID-19 are:
Isolation and increased loneliness
Role strain in family
Increased worry about family members
Fear of infection and death
Stress from balancing working from home
Adjusting to remote learning of school aged children
Increased mental health challenges
Amplified relationship conflicts
As many people are getting the COVID-19 vaccination and restrictions are lifting; many people are returning to 'life as usual' it is important to allow yourself to be still, grieve (if necessary) and then take stock of the lessons learned in the last year and implement changes in one's life as a result of this reflection. We will examine some lessons learned over this past year and explore ways to improve and enhance our lives moving forward.
Lesson 1: Less is More
Corona has taught us that we can survive on less than we originally thought. As the big box department stores, malls and novel boutique stores were closed for months. People were forced to make due with far less than usual material possession. Going back to life 'as usual' opens an opportunity for us to fill the spaces that would once be filled with material items. Instead consider filling the spaces with quality time with loved ones, creative explorations, hobbies that inspire joy, online courses for self growth, etc. Taking an inventory of your life and filling it with meaning can enhance your level of joy, purpose and passion.
Lesson 2: Connection is Love
Many people had not realized how much connection with another person either through social visits, connections through in person conversations or a mere hug is vital to a general sense of belonging and love. As humans we are wired for connections with others. COVID has taught us that through our busy hustle and bustle Pre-COVID lives, making time now for meaningful connections is crucial to overall happiness. Post-COVID it would be important to reflect on carving out quality time for meaningful connections with people who feed our psyche and spirits. COVID has taught us that reflecting on priorities in our lives is important in long term enrichment. Assigning work to its rightful space and time for connection and bonding is intently vital after a year of isolation.
Lesson 3: Gratitude Is Your Guide
With over 3 Million lives lost to the pandemic worldwide to date, this pandemic has allowed us to re-process priorities and get in touch with how fragile and precious life truly is. It has been a reminder to appreciate the perceived 'small' things in life – the things we often take for granted and as a constant. We are bombarded every day with infection and death rates. It is important to craft a gratitude list of all the things that you can be thankful for. For example: Video conferencing to connect with friends/family, health during a time where health is wealth, ability to stay afloat financially during a global pandemic, etc. With so many people infected and concerned for their love ones, gratitude can be our anchor to a place of hope and a general place of peace. With so many people losing jobs and becoming homeless, being grateful for access to food and steady shelter is imperative in changing your perspective. Challenge yourself to come up with a list of gratitude regardless of your current situation.
Actively Planning For A New Normal
Taking inventory for a more meaningful life after COVID-19 requires self reflection some questions to ask yourself:
Now that I know I can survive with far less how can I refine my relationship with money for a healthier experience?
How can I move from an out of balance place in my life to more harmony? For example putting a boundary on work and family/friends bonding time. Speaking to a boss about delegating duties more evenly to reduce burn out and long work days, etc.
Now that I have learned through COVID how much connection and people are important as part of a quality life; How can I show up for other people in a healthy way with my boundaries solidly in place? What would I need to do to cultivate healthier more enriching relationships with other people? For example- initiate phone/text contact, use my words to communicate my needs, ask for help, etc.
How can I be in service to others to foster a greater sense of meaning and purpose? For Example: Volunteering at a soup kitchen once per month, donate to a charity that aligns with your values, mentor or tutor a young person, etc.
What are ways I can better take care of myself? Therapy, Meditation, Pray, Organized religious worships, spiritual gatherings, scheduling a massage, walk in nature, time off to re-center. Check out our blog on: Self Care https://www.awakenthepower.org/post/2020/02/03/myths-of-self-care-3-steps-to-restorative-self-care
Who do I want to be? Am I making choices now in my life that will yield me the life that I want or deserve? Is my work (including being a stay at home parent) rewarding? Am I proud of the work that I put into the world? What am I consuming in the world that is feeding me in a healthy?- Podcast, self development online workshops/classes, uplifting music, affirmation, etc. What are my values? Am I living in my values? Are there people in my life that add toxicity to my life? Who? What do I need to do about this to shift into a healthy stance? Check out our blog on: 3 Ways to Recognize A Toxic Person https://www.awakenthepower.org/post/2018/11/24/3-ways-to-recognize-a-toxic-person
While we are navigating our way back to less restrictions in the world; It is important to shape our next chapter in our lives through the lens of meaning, purpose and passion given the lessons learned from COVID-19!