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What Has COVID Taught Us?

COVID has undoubtedly turned some of our lives upside down. Whether it was a lost job, a lost life, a lost relationship, romantic or otherwise, we all had to cope and adjust. As we continue in what I like to think is a better year, it’s time to take a good hard look and evaluate what has changed not just outside of you, but within you. We still have a solid eight months left this year, so let’s examine where we have the opportunity to do better.

For a lot of us, COVID has been devastating. What if for just a second, we shift the negative energy the pandemic has brought us and we analyze it in a more positive way. Ask if maybe COVID was meant for us to reconsider some of our life choices, starting with our jobs or careers.

Normally, jobs are meant to provide income and are an important aspect of our livelihood since it also provides the ability to pay for essential needs. Shelter, food, clothing, gas, etc. are all pretty essential. But people have jobs for other reasons as well, such as giving us the sense that life has more purpose, needing to contribute and have a sense of belonging. Some people also believe that a job can shape who they are. Most people also think a job is stable–until its not. COVID came unannounced and in a blink of an eye people were forced out of their job, forced to look for different jobs or forced to have none at all. It hit and left millions unemployed, shattered, confused and stressed.

In a world of chaotic traffic, hustle and bustle, never ending errands and little time to oneself, COVID slowed the world down, stirred our daily routine and gifted us with lots of time to ourselves. So, where do you go from here, and most importantly who do you want to be? If you were unhappy and on auto-pilot at your job, you now have the opportunity to reassess and envision a job where you are truly satisfied and feel like you are doing great work. Don’t settle for something that is not fulfilling anymore. We have had to normalize our current jobs and we should also try to normalize making sure its aligned with our core values. When your job or career is aligned with your core values, it will likely feel more meaningful and produce higher levels of satisfaction. This will also lead to higher levels of happiness and fulfillment.

What about your lifestyle?
Are you now living, or on your path to living, a healthier lifestyle? Research shows that COVID highlighted the importance of having a good diet and doing regular exercise, which can prevent illness and even death. Good diet and exercise can also boost your mood and overall happiness which we know is essential, especially during difficult times. And I’m sure lots of people will agree, COVID has been difficult.

My hope is more people will start enjoying the outdoors. Gyms were closed, some still are, but the outdoors is never closed. People had to figure out ways to stay active outside and now being in nature is a way to destress. More and more people have a renewed appreciation for everything nature has to offer. So go enjoy a sunrise, a sunset, a walking or hiking trail, or simply the fresh air! It will do wonders for your wellbeing.

What did COVID teach you about the people in your circle?
My hope is that you learned that letting some people go, or allowing people to walk away, was a good thing. Know that other people don’t define your value, you are valuable and enough on your own. As I spent more time with myself and had fewer distractions, I began to align my values and in doing so, I realized who I want to be and what I want in life going forward. When it came to COVID, many people have different opinions, true colors and intentions came out, and these made me realize some were people I don’t want to spend time with, future or present. What if COVID was meant for us to strengthen our relationship with ourselves, and with family and friends so that we could create the beautiful and meaningful relationships we always wanted?

How about adaptability?
COVID also taught us to adapt. We are more than able to cope and pick ourselves back up without the people who we thought would be in our lives forever. Some of us have had to do things for ourselves to lift our spirits, to improve ourselves and to get out of depression. It’s called being resilient, and if there is one thing I’ve learned, we can do anything on our own.

Some people’s lives fell apart, and some are still suffering from the situation, but others have also survived and found new and creative ways to maintain their sanity, happiness and well-being.

What did you learn about yourself?
The most important thing I learned about myself is to be grateful for the things I have, no matter how little, big or simple they are. Appreciate everything you have and know that you may not have it tomorrow. For example, hugging your loved ones, spending in person time with family and friends, the ability to freely go grocery shopping as you please, vacation when you want, freedom to simply sit at a coffee shop and enjoy your favorite cup of espresso…and the list goes on.

Now I ask you, who or what do you want to be moving forward? Take the opportunity COVID has gifted you and start creating. Whether it is working, helping, building, completing, learning, losing, making or any other form of doing, the time is now.  Find what makes you unconditionally happy. Stop living in fear, with doubt or on auto-pilot. Uncertainty was a reality before COVID because we never know what will happen tomorrow, so be brave enough to get out of your comfort zone today. Getting out of your comfort zone gives you the ability to do things you never thought possible.

Let’s not ignore what COVID has taught us. It’s been heard over and over again that things need to go back to normal, but returning to what we knew as normal, would simply be ignoring the important lessons this pandemic has taught us.

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