12 Lessons I have learned living through a pandemic
Living through a pandemic is something I never would have imagined living through. I remember reading about the Black Plague and Spanish Flu in high school and thinking how in the world did people survive such an ordeal? Well, this is currently our own reality. With COVID-19 spreading around the globe everyone has been impacted in one way or another.
As with any illness, it does not discriminate and can impact all of us; some more drastically than others. You may know someone that has contracted the virus, or may have suffered financial impact due to loss of your job. Either way this virus has touched all of our lives in some form or fashion. And now after a few months of being on lock down, businesses are starting to open again. Now that I’m back from my brief hiatus, I thought I’d share with you twelve lessons I have learned while living through this pandemic.
1. Being home has not slowed me down.
Although I have learned to transition working from home 100% of the time now, I have realized that I have been just as busy, if not more so. Being home has been a double-edged sword. With the elimination of commute time to and from work and reduced time getting ready, I have more time to squeeze in more projects.
I must admit in the long wrong, this turned out not to be a good thing for me because I neglected myself to the point of getting burnt out.
This leads me to my next discovery.
2. Do not forget about you!
Working from home is great! However, the boundary line between stopping work and leisure often gets blurred. I often get caught in that loop of ‘just one more thing’ and before I know it, the extra five minutes I anticipated, turns into forty five minutes of time gone I will never get back.
In an effort to try to take advantage of the time working remotely, I have so many ideas I want to try and make happen. However, in the end you realize no matter how motivated you are, you are only one person. There are only 24 hours in the day. You are no super(wo)man.
Remember to take care of yourself and get the proper rest. We reboot our computers, why not remember to do the same for ourselves. We need to recharge too.
3. Take advantage of online courses
An important lesson I’ve learned living through this pandemic is discovering new resources on the internet for learning. Take advantage of the resources available. You can find a whole host of online video courses available.
I personally love the wonderful world of YouTube but have also invested in buying online courses for learning new things too. There are plenty of resources for low cost training including discount sites like LivingSocial, Groupon and you can even look into free online courses offered from Harvard. Yep! You read that right. You can view what they have to offer here.
Although you may be restricted while living in a pandemic, it does not mean you have to restrict your mind and way of thinking. Expand your mind.
4. Reconnect with friends.
Are you a phone person? Do you prefer texting? If I had to classify myself, I would prefer chatting on the phone over text. Admittedly, I have a lot to say sometimes and texting would only hold me back. Plus, the advantage over hearing someone’s voice over text is you can hear one’s inflection and context so much better.
Living through a pandemic has reminded me to remember what is important. I value my relationships and do get to connect with friends and peers from both past and present. I am so fortunate to be one of those people who have friends that can pick up the phone and you both pick up right where you left off. Do you know what I mean?
Learning to connect with friends by text, phone or skype has reminded me the importance of just checking in once in a while.
5. Do not forget to move.
Honestly, this is an area of weakness for me. Sometimes I get so focused and get tunnel vision while working I forget to get up and move. Physical exercise and getting the blood moving is so important. I know I am not alone when I say I have probably gained a solid 5-10 pounds easy. Am I right?
However, the good thing is that although I know I have gained a little it is not double, why? I have still been diligent about not eating junk or ordering food. I prepare all my own food and even try making new low carb sugar free treats if I have a sweet tooth. If my eating habits included fast food too, I would be in big trouble.
Before the pandemic I was more diligent about my stretching and yoga routine as I was and still am healing from my knee injury. I was making slow but solid progress.
Ironically now that I am home, I have not been as diligent. I need to do better and prioritize my time to doing yoga first thing in the morning versus sleeping in later. Are you guilty of sleeping in too?
6. Social distancing.
What is social distancing? I remember when news of this pandemic was circulating and scientists where taking about hand washing and social distancing. My first thought was, really? It’s 2020 and we are talking about how to properly wash our hands? I thought by now we would have hovering automobiles like in that movie I-Robot with Will Smith.
But no, instead we are being taught about hand washing and social distancing.
Okay, well hand washing, keeping a clean house and hygiene I have down pat. Thanks Mom and Dad for the good home training!
However what I have learned living in a pandemic is that the idea of social distancing involves keeping at least 6-8 feet of distance between yourself and others to help minimize the threat of transmission of COVID-19. This in conjunction with wearing a mask and proper hygiene and hand washing are all part to the process we now need to incorporate in our daily way of life.
A new normal
As human beings we are designed to be social creatures. Our societies around the world center about gatherings. Think about it. No matter what country you live in things like family gatherings over dinner, entertainment and sports events, and ceremonies are all mass gathering and celebrations that involve groups of people.
I’ve learned, in order to reduce transmission and starve off this virus we must change how we now think about navigating our lives. It really has altered how we now do work, go shopping and socialize.
As I mentioned before, using technology to connect has never been more important than now. And it looks like that will be the central focused fixture of our lives moving forward
7. Face masks are on trend.
Speaking of reducing risk of transmitting the virus, another lesson I learned living in this pandemic was the importance of using face masks. I’m sure you may have seen on television or overseas people of China and Japan wearing masks before this pandemic. Mask wearing in the East is not uncommon as in the West, until now.
I have learned that when we speak we produce droplets that essentially act like an aresol spray and move about in the air. This is why wearing masks is so important. By reducing or stopping droplets in the air we can stop or reduce transmission.
One of the things I must accept going forward is that face masks are not going away anytime soon.
If we are expected to be living with this pandemic for the next year or two, face masks are now the new must have safety accessory. Whether you are healthy or ill, mask wearing is for our own protection and for the safety of others.
How about you? How are you keeping safe? Do you make your own masks?
8. Pets are our saving grace.
Fostering on pause
Another lesson learned while living through this pandemic has been the impact on fostering. While many have had the opportunity to foster animals in their local towns, the local nonprofit near me was temporarily closed. It has since started reopening.
I must say I missed having the foster babies in the house. As a pet parent you understand that there is no other feeling better than having paws in the house. It helps make a house a home, whether they are yours or not.
I look forward to helping again soon.
My sweet Dusty and Precious have long sing earned their angel wings however, living in a pandemic I know that having fosters or your own furballs around is a saving grace. Many of us are social butterflies and crave interaction with others as to not go insane.
Being confined to your home can be tough for many, so having the good fortune to have the company of your furry family members is such an advantage. Fluffy now gets more attention and snuggles and pets provide a calming vibe to an uncomfortable situation.
Pets are a great emotional support to those who suffer from depression, social isolation, and anxiety. They give us the precious gift of unconditional love and support every day. And it is this that fact that helps so many of us get through this tough time.
9. Witnessing the worst of humanity
One of the most horrifying things one can experience is loss of a loved one, both pets and humans. And sadly, this past month, in addition to everything else we as a human race are adapting to, the world became privy to the murder of George Floyd by a police officer here in the United States. If you have been living under a rock or just do not use a TV, you can read about what happened here.
Murder for the world to see
I saw only just a small clip of the inhuman treatment and murder of George Floyd and it brought me to tears. I could not handle viewing the entire video and cannot express the overwhelming range of emotions I felt all week. Anger, sadness, hopelessness, fear, anxiety…All of it just so taxing to my soul.
As a Black female living in the United States and the daughter of parents that lived through days of segregation, I understand the constant struggle and eyes of prejudice and judgment spoken and unspoken in daily life. I have lived this experience since the day I was born.
Racism never died.
The said reality is that what many around the world and some in America are just now realizing is that the inhuman treatment of Black people never stopped, it just looks different.
To understand the present you need to know your history. The founding of America started when those ships came in 1619…. it is now 2020 and Blacks are still fighting to be human beings. The chains and shackles of slavery are replaced with just a different form of oppression; laws and systems designed to take advantage of people of color, the poor and uneducated in cities nationwide.
The difference between today and 60 years ago is that today it is just now being recorded for all to witness. I could explain more however I honestly do not have the energy. All I can say is as a Black woman and people we are just TIRED.
Witnessing the best of humanity
Amidst this chaos is a silver lining. It appears many around the world are TIRED too. The death of George Floyd has ignited a new type of revolution and energy in the next generation like I have never seen before.
As a human race we are TIRED of just taking these injustices on the chin and turning the other cheek. If the definition of insanity is doing the same exact ting over and over hoping for a different result, then I guess many of us are done being insane.
It is time for positive real change.
Since the death of George Floyd occurred, protests and marches have ignited in the major cities of America and have now spread to all 50 states and around the world.
Please do not be confused about the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. To paraphrase, the lives of those who are Black are important too. That is, it. It is not an attack on others or to imply our lives are better. Yes, all lives matter.
The difference is that any person that is not a person of color can walk down the street and go for a jog or sit in a Starbucks without the presumption or bias he is up to no good. A Black man jogging in a nice neighborhood or waiting for a friend in a coffee shop does not always get the same unbiased treatment. There are way too many times where Blacks are treated as a suspect first before being treated as a human being. That’s the difference.
Some of you may relate to what I’m saying and others may not. That’s fine. But please don’t dismiss it as fiction, because it’s real. Now more than ever those who were unaware or blind now see. And as painful as it is, it is a good thing to face the ugly truth.
I would like to think that something good must come out of all of this. The death of George Floyd shed light on the injustices and senseless brutality Blacks face in America (and around the world) for centuries.
A new chapter
As a generation X kid, it is heartwarming to see people of all races, creeds, religions, and genders protest in the streets worldwide. This is the best of humanity I have seen in my lifetime since the 9/11 attacks in New York City. This time everyone is coming together to fight for one cause – human rights and systematic positive change.
At the same time, I am a realist so I am not delusional to think racism and injustice will disappear overnight. Racism has been America’s quiet pandemic for over 400 years.
What I am hopeful for is that people who cannot identify with our experience research their history, learn from the mistakes of the past and be better than our forefathers. The festering cancer of America’s history cannot be covered with a bandage and ignored. We need to acknowledge it, cut it out and remove it and begin real healing.
To have a better world like we have never seen, we must do something we have never done – acknowledge the issue, communicate, listen, self-reflect, and make actionable change in society socially and legally.
Hate is not something we are born with, it is taught. We must do better as a nation.
Whew! Now that I got that off my chest, I feel better. Was that too deep? Oh well, it is real. This is real life. These are my thoughts from the heart and the honest truth. What can I say?
11. A Different type of Hero
One of the most eye-opening things about living through this pandemic is realizing just how much of a vital role our essential workers are to our comfort and survival.
I was thankful before, but so much more thankful now. I am so thankful for all the delivery drivers, retail workers, grocery workers and mailmen that have continued to put their lives on the line daily so we could continue to have some functionality and normalcy in society.
And an extra special kudos to those special medical professionals, caring doctors and nurses who jeopardize their own lives and their own families’ lives, to help save the lives of others. Thank you.
We are resilient.
The last important lesson, I have discovered is that we as human beings are also resilient. As much as we can be stubborn, ignorant, mean or biased, we also have a better side.
I have seen the greatness of humanity in helping others by paying for groceries for neighbors, halting rent for tenants and protests in the streets for justice. These are just a few highlights of the good I have seen in a pandemic that has brought out the best and worst in people.
However, it will be all these acts of kindness that will help us all get through this trying time and persevere – together.
Those are my twelve lessons learned while living through a pandemic. During this season, I have experienced a range of emotions. I have had the joy of discovering new ways to connect with friends online while attaining new skills. And on the other hand, I have experienced feelings of absolute devastation, fear and hopelessness as a result seeing just how inhuman one can be towards another.
In my life, I have learned to be more resourceful, be a better planner, listen to my body and stay prayerful amidst the chaos. This experience is a once in a lifetime experience and we are living it now. This is one for the history books. What do you think?
I hope that all of you and your loved ones are safe and sound. Stay safe, stay healthy and be blessed.
Let me know in the comments. What lessons have you learned while living in this pandemic? Be sure to share and pin this post. We are in this together!