What I have learned from Covid-19
What I have learned from Covid-19
The effect of Covid-19 has been emotional. Some of us are angry, bored and frustrated. Others are depressed. For some, the predominating emotion is overall fear. Fear of death; fear of losing their livelihoods; fear of the unknown. While in many countries, the fear of death and survival is an everyday experience, most of us under normal circumstances aren’t living in fear. Instead we are experiencing overwhelming stress from things mostly- related to money, relationships, traffic, and work-related issues. We think about our health only when we are confronted with something that isn’t right in our bodies. Otherwise, we take our “good health” for granted. Our daily lives are super busy and there is little time for reflection. Peace is derived from looking forward to the end of the day when we can sit with our family and/or friends to vent while some of us find solace alone just pouring that certain beverage to ease the pain.
With Covid-19, nothing for anyone is moving at a normal pace. Suddenly we are one with all who worry everyday about death, good health and survival. We are stuck in our homes either alone or with others searching for things to do. We aren’t racing to a store for food because we are told that that is a big risk. Instead, when we do go to the market, we anxiously hoard anything we think we might need in the event of some unexpected food shortage. We take a walk here and there and find others stepping aside as we approach. Many don’t even want to say ‘hello’ in fear that if they open their mouths, the virus will surely enter. We cover our hands and worry about touching door knobs, elevator buttons, escalator rails; and we dare not touch another soul except perhaps our immediate loved ones huddled alongside us. We wash our hands incessantly and watch them dry up as prunes for the sake of cleanliness. Then we cover our faces and wear gloves blending in the crowds as we venture outdoors. Our mannerisms have definitely changed, and may continue like this for some time. But what about our thoughts – what has changed in how we think about our lives?
We seem to be redirected to thoughts of survival in the extreme sense of what it means to persevere: Protection from the virus, sustenance, and shelter. No longer do we need to worry about if we can get through traffic fast enough to make our dinner date nor if we can finalize that report to make our deadline. We no longer worry about whether that person we met on line will meet our standards and be the one. We aren’t worried about getting the film done in time for the film festivals because those are all cancelled. We aren’t worried about the court case because the courts are closed and things will be pushed back. We aren’t worried even about how our nails or hair look because no one is getting groomed. We aren’t thinking about filling our social calendar, making appointments, shopping, washing and gassing up our cars, picking up the cleaners, buying flowers for the house, fixing that dress that doesn’t fit nor much of anything right now. No, none if this suddenly matters.
Nothing matters because our minds are inundated with people all over the world being sick, many dying and others losing their fortunes and livelihoods. Isn’t it interesting how it takes a tragedy to unite us and dramatically shift our thinking. We actually are beginning to care about others and its effect worldwide. We are not just focused on the mundane. We are thinking about our families and friends and how much we miss them and can’t wait until we can share time again together. We are thinking about those who are alone because caregivers cannot arrive daily and worry that they are able to fend for themselves. We worry about those who have lost their jobs, businesses and who may never recover financially from this.
Yet every catastrophe brings about something good. The positive aspects of this crises and what I have learned from it is my focus.
Being a homebody by nature – locked in a room is really not a problem as long as I have my computer, headphones and music. Writing is a something I love more than anything – so the more time I can sit alone, the more I can be introspective. The likelihood is that I will stay home even a bit more often moving forward. I’m crazy in love and happy with my partner; I relish each day we have the opportunity to show each other how we have evolved as individuals and in our relationship. I seem to have now more time to acknowledge this day to day. We are now also spending more quality time together – sharing more meals, playing more cards, taking more long wonderful walks, watching more interesting and amusing shows, talking more about various subjects — all of which because we have the time. Most of all, there is a need to look after each other because we are in it together.
Then there is the stuff I think about because I simply have more time to just think.
I think about the wonderful life I have now and how grateful I am for it. I think about taking necessary precautions as always, I don’t think about dying because waking up each morning and just knowing I am healthy and making it through another day is a good thing. I think about the amazing children in my life – how each of them are wonderful human beings. I think about how I really don’t need anything because everything I have right now in this moment is sufficient. I think about what is really important and how I can spend the next number of days, months, years in a more meaningful manner. I think about ways to touch other people’s lives in a positive way. I’m think about communicating with others, and how important it is to check in with people (even if you can’t see them) by facetime, calling, sending a note. I think about how I converse with others, and how important it is to be kind, respectful and non-judgmental. I think about surrounding myself with people that enrich my life not tear it down.
I ask you to do the same – think about how this worldwide event has affected your life –physically and emotionally. Maybe the rat race wasn’t bringing the best out of you. Perhaps it is time to think of new ways to live your life more productively that are not as stressful. Maybe you have a troubled relationship because you never took the time to step back, slow down and learn more about each other. Maybe you are discovering that a certain relationship had you running in circles. Maybe it is time to let go. Maybe you are hanging on to something that will never bring you happiness and it is time to move on. Maybe you are working hard for things that in the end don’t really matter. Maybe you have untapped creativity and abilities that need to be unleashed. Maybe it’s time for a change.
Reflection is good and something you can do while meditating….now that you have time to mediate.
Think about how you feel emotionally, spiritually, socially and physically. Think about how what you are doing now sheltered in your home is affecting how you feel, eat, spend money, exercise, work, pray, think of others, socialize and care for your health. Will there be any changes within you when things presumably “get back to normal”?
While the news wants you to focus on fear and anxiety, we need to think about the positive effects of what we are experiencing in our lives right now, and reflect on what we can take away from it that will enrich our lives moving forward.
Stay safe, stay healthy and stay positive!