Like millions of people around the world, my life has been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since St. Patrick’s Day, I’ve been self-isolating at home because of it. Unfortunately, I was laid off due to it. And I’m in the midst of planning a wedding that may need to be postponed because of it.
In short, COVID-19 has disrupted my routine, interrupted my career, and is affecting my personal goals and life milestones.
But even as I reflect on all the disappointing ways my life has changed as a result of this global health crisis, I still see the good that has come from it. COVID-19 has changed the way I look at life in the following ways:
1. My good health is a privilege and I acknowledge that.
People always say “when you have your health, you have everything.” I never fully understood what that saying meant until recently.
Looking at all of the innocent lives lost to this virus in such a short span of time has really proved to me that being in good health is absolutely everything in life – and it’s something too many of us take for granted. I’m so fortunate that right now I’m a young, healthy individual with no pre-existing conditions that would put me at a greater risk of failing to recover from the coronavirus.
I’m not by any means flaunting my health, but more acknowledging in this area of life I’m privileged and take my position seriously. It’s my duty to stay home to help flatten the curve so that I don’t carry the virus or infect anyone around me. For all I know, I could be asymptomatic (lots of us are). I take my responsibility to stay home very seriously, so those that do not have the strongest immune system have better chances of not contracting the virus.
2. Sweating the small stuff is a waste of energy.
I used to complain to myself that I didn’t want to get up early to go to work, or traffic during my morning commute was so aggravating, or I was sick of eating the same thing for lunch every single day. Now? I would give anything to have my alarm beep at 6:30 a.m. that it’s time to get up for work.
If I still had a job, I wouldn’t focus as much on the traffic or meaningless projects. I took my career for granted and now that I’m unemployed due to COVID-19, I realize I spent way too much energy focusing on things that didn’t matter. I really want to use this lesson to stop sweating the small stuff from here on out.
3. Maintaining a social life is crucial and important.
Since staying at home and being laid off, I have been more alone than ever before. My partner is an essential worker, so he is gone all day long. Most of my friends and family members are still working too. Since I’m not, I have more time to myself than ever before and it has been challenging to fill my day with meaningful activities.
Reading, writing, job searching, and catching up on shows only fill so many hours a day. I now see that at work I socialized with my coworkers and made plans with friends at night and those meaningful relationships helped keep me social. I really want to be better about making time for friends and socializing with others once the country opens back up and we’re safe to make plans and see each other face-to-face.
4. Buying only what you need is best.
When the pandemic really hit the United States and everyone rushed to the stores to panic buy toilet paper, antibacterial soaps, and other essential products, I was so affected by mob mentality that I admittedly followed suit.
I thought I needed to stock up on canned goods in case the world went to shit. Well, it kind of has, but not in the way we all thought.
Supermarkets are stocking shelves every single day. In the few times I’ve picked up groceries recently, there have always been more than enough products to go around. (Yes, toilet paper is still difficult to come by, but that’ll get better soon!)
I think it finally hit me that in order to be part of the solution, I needed to get into the habit of only buying essential products. Milk, bread, eggs, cheese, meats, and so on. None of us need to buy five boxes of cereal on one shopping trip. Take only what you need so there’s enough to go around for everyone else. This really reminded me that we’re all in this together and I need to do my part by being a better neighbor.
5. Good hygiene has always been and will always be important.
I consider myself to be a clean person and take my hygiene seriously, but right now I’m talking about best practices beyond washing your hair and showering.
Germs are everywhere and reading up on how easily this virus transfers on surfaces has really hit me hard. I am now so conscious of washing my hands frequently throughout the day, especially if I have to run to the store for groceries.
It’s so important to be mindful of every surface we touch, limiting the amount of times we touch our faces, and keeping our hands clean. This goes beyond COVID-19. It’s important when you travel, when you touch things at work, when you’re about to eat finger-food, or even when you’re out and about in your house. The seriousness of how contagious this virus is has demonstrated to me that we collectively need to keep our hands clean 24/7.
COVID-19 has affected our lives in very real, long-term ways. I can only hope that when this pandemic comes to an end, we don’t lose sight of what’s really important in life. Our health, relationships, and livelihood are such important components, but we should also not neglect the importance of things like being a good neighbor, giving back, and taking care of one another.
Has COVID-19 changed the way you view the world? Share your thoughts in the comments!