Things don’t happen for no reason; they happen to teach you something.
It’s hard to believe that Friday, the 13th of March was the last dose of “normalcy.” Since then, most of us have been in quarantine and have had to adapt very quickly to a new way of living. Since then, we are all sitting at our homes, thinking about when things will turn back to normal and when will we be able to go back to our old routine.
It’s been about four months to the coronavirus-induced working staycation and each one of us will admit that our emotional state has felt like it’s been given a fast pass at a roller coaster park: a lot of ups and downs; some boredom; a regimen of unexpected stops and starts; some fear, but also a little comfort in knowing that we’re not the only person taking the rides. We are still cursing this phase for confining us at our places, for interrupting our lives, for not letting us roam free to our favourite destinations, for not letting us hang out with our friends, cherish our favourite food with them and a lot more.
However, beyond all these setbacks, self-quarantine has also been a blessing in disguise for all of us. It’s an unusual example of how unexpected turns take us to desired places. This lockdown not only gave us time to take a break from our hefty schedule but also gave us a moment for self-introspection. It gave us space to understand ourselves and to reflect upon ourselves as a person.
There are a lot of things that we all are learning about ourselves in this pandemic. A few of them are listed below that can be harvested for the post-quarantine life.
It’s the Little Things that Make a Big Difference
When life slows down, you tend to notice more. Though we usually miss it, we’re surrounded by so much beauty all the time. We should always try to keep creating moments of stillness, where you can notice your surroundings and appreciate them. Life isn’t about work or money or even success. In the end, relationships are truly what matters most. As life starts to get busier, make sure you’re devoting time to what’s most important. Family- through thick and thin: Spending most of the days indoors has increased the time that we spend with our family members. Earlier, when we were occupied with our daily jobs, we didn’t have the time to talk to our family about the day or ask them about how they are feeling. The slowed pace of life has given us all a chance to catch our breath and have the time to pay closer attention to our family. And something as simple, and previously unappreciated, as an evening movie time with the family, can now actually be the highlight of one's day. Now, we have the once in a lifetime opportunity to spend the whole day with our family, invest time to strengthen our bond with them and stay connected with those who are important in our life in these trying times.
Being Able to Enjoy Friendships is a Privilege
Anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.
Quarantine has immensely disturbed our bonds and friendships. We are not able to meet our friends in person but the virtual happy hour that we have been spending with our friends through online games, phone calls and video calls are also full of fun and enjoyment. Being able to unwind and to process the news of the last few weeks with our friends has been an enormous blessing. It’s helped our mental health and is definitely a comforting activity for all of us.
But more than just remembering that friendship is a wonderful gift, we can recognize ourselves to be privileged to have the opportunity to enjoy that gift. Many who are sick, or mourning, or too occupied with work or family, simply don’t have the opportunity now to enjoy their friendships. Millions around the world cannot connect via Zoom as I can. Countless others are lonely and facing the pandemic without friends or loved ones.
Friendship is an all-too-often overlooked blessing. So is the opportunity to savour those friendships and for that, we should feel grateful during these tough times.
Reconnecting with Yourself & Taking Care of Yourself
Being quarantined has given us more of our ‘me time’ and has changed the relationship that we have with ourselves. It has taught us how to be comfortable in your own skin and how to love yourself more. As our social interaction and outing are limited during this time, it is you and only you who will have to keep yourself busy and maintain your sanity through the lockdown. Self-isolation is the best way which can give us quite some time alone and we can learn more about ourselves. Its gives us time for self-introspection and reflect upon the acts that we have done so far.
Not socializing gives me an opportunity to sit and reflect on my life, my mistakes, my strengths, my weaknesses, and frankly, all the things that I have done right over the years. Not socializing gives us an opportunity to sit and think about our life, our mistakes, strengths, weaknesses and much more. It allows us to discover ourselves and know ourselves even better. Along with this, we can give time to our own self-care, that we have been missing out earlier. This includes giving time to our body, taking care of our skin, our eating habits, physical health, mental health and emotional health.
Along with that, we can think about and be careful about who we let back into our circle. we can understand the people around us and keep our distance from people and relationships that aren’t healthy for us. Because we are responsible for our happiness, friendships, and our job and if don’t like them and want to change them — we can.
Change is Inevitable – Embrace It
Don’t resist change. Adapt along with it. The future may seem especially uncertain these days, but honestly, it always has been. Things don’t always go as planned and we need to keep ourselves prepared for uncertainties and tough situations. This may be in terms of occasions or examinations that have been affected due to the pandemic.
This is especially relevant if you have a business that’s had to pivot during COVID-19. If the things you used to do aren’t working, this is a good time to pivot your business. Use this time to try new things and experiment. Not everything you try out will work. And that’s okay. It may take multiple attempts to figure out what works for you. There has never been a better time to try something new. Because as we know, resisting change halts progress and embracing change stimulates growth.
Importance of Self-discipline
How many times have you said to yourself, “I’m too busy to do this,” or “I wish I had the time to do that”? Here’s the thing: we all have the same 24 hours in a day. But what you do with it is up to you.
Staying at home the whole day makes you feel like snacking unnecessarily will only make you fatter and sleeping longer will rob you off several productive things you could do during the day. While working from home, it’s the human tendency to procrastinate the work and delay the meetings because of a lack of strictness. This has hampered our work schedule and timelines. But self-quarantine has enabled us to take time, plan the day, set a routine for yourself and stick to it. Allot time for naps and use idle time to paint, bake, water the plants or exercise.
During the pandemic, many of us found ourselves with more leisure time than before. We have predictable days with unpredictable activities, and we have time to daydream, create, reflect, and plan. But as life starts to pick up speed again, you don’t have to surrender all of that time. Be intentional with the way you plan your day. Think carefully about the things you’ll start doing and the things you’ll stop doing.
You may also read: ‘Art’ Thou Bored?: Top 12 Hobbies in Lockdown
It’s Okay to Not Be Okay as long as You are Not Giving Up
Things are strange. The world is different. We tend to feel a wide range of emotions in a short span of time. We may not be able to pinpoint what we’re feeling or exactly why to feel that way. But It’s okay. Things are confusing, so don’t be afraid to let it out.
Don’t be afraid to feel. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We’re living through history right now. The world changed in an instant. Learn to adapt to this new world, be there for each other, and take care of yourself.
Most of us may also end up feeling useless and unproductive through these times. We may be suffering from a mental battle among our thoughts and feel pressurised due to the world out there who is always competing in a never-ending race.
But one of the biggest lessons that the lockdown brings with itself is, it’s okay to be disturbed, it’s okay to be confused, it’s okay to take your time and its okay to sit idle for some time and not indulge ourselves in doing something productive or honing a new skill because at the end, in the race of life, we are alone and we are competing with ourselves.
So don’t let the societal pressure to learn something new knock you down. If your goal is to binge Netflix or Hulu during every ounce of spare time you have, do it. There is no reason to criticize yourself and feel that you aren’t reaching some arbitrary potential. Do what works for you. You’re already accomplishing so much. So, be kind to yourself during this time and move at a pace that keeps your self-care a top priority.
As life pauses and reorganizes, you have a unique opportunity to turn toward personal growth. By embracing this change, you can meet yourself, and others, in a brand-new place.
There are many lessons being taught during the COVID-19 pandemic. May we have the grace to learn them, and take them into whatever lies beyond this crisis.
Edited by Annanya Chaturvedi