10 lessons from living in a pandemic

Lots of lessons that we can learn from our current situation, here are 10 of mine

Every day is a school day.

I don’t know about you but during this pandemic situation. I have been learning more than usual.

After thinking about it. I decided to make a list of everything I have learned so far. Here are my top 10.

1. The world is a noisy place. We have 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason.

This is number 1 for me. Because I learned that when I don’t rush. I listen and learn a lot more.

Listening more than we talk is a wonderful skill to pick up. We can become more understanding. More compassionate and take life at a slower pace.

When your not the one doing the talking. Your thinking slows down. The amount of information you take in increases also.

The result is clearer thinking and better decision making.

If you have ever heard someone say that the smartest person in the room is the quietest. Then take notice. It turns out they may be onto something.

Of course, these days its more likely to be the quietest person on the zoom call.

2. Working from home most of the time has some big advantages.

Yeah, I’m one of those in the working from home fan club.

I wasn’t at first and I still have bad days with it. But I would still say that, for the most part, its the future.

A day without a commute is better for a start. No time wasted traveling.

That’s more time with the family. Pursuing a hobby, or anything else you want to do.

Not stuck in traffic somewhere. Plus it’s way cheaper.

No eating out 5 days a week. For me, that’s been a revelation in 2 ways.

First is saving a fortune, between lunch, snacks, and coffee. It’s money saved that I never actually ever thought about before.

Second and more important. I’m living a far healthier lifestyle. Eating at home I found it much easier to be healthy and as a result. I’m healthier, fitter, and much lighter than I was at the start of the year.

The last one here is productivity. I have given myself a routine and set hours. I have very few distractions and so because of that. I find myself much more productive. Than I would be in a typical office environment.

The one thing that is missing is social interaction throughout the day. Which takes us into lesson 3.

3. We need much more social interaction than I ever thought.

I’m not an introvert by any means. But I can be introspective and enjoy my own company. To the point that 50% of the people I meet think I’m ok. The rest most likely think I’m a tool.

What I have learned during this time. Is that social interaction shouldn’t be only on my terms.

Neither should it be taken for granted. Humans are social animals by nature.

One of the hardest things to take over the last few months. Has been that limited interaction with people. Just the simple contact with people during the day.

It’s more important for our mental health and general wellbeing than I thought.

Then there is the problem of missing social events and catch-ups with friends. Which brings me onto number 4.

4. Stay connected with friends and family.

The internet is a great tool to connect with the world. Use it to the best of your ability.

Through the last few months, it has been the ability to get on zoom, etc. and connect. That has gotten many of us through.

It’s also been a great excuse to track down people we lost touch with and get reconnected.

The power of that social connection with friends and loved ones is so powerful for humanity. This situation has proved that.

Staying connected can get us through anything.

5. Be kind and generous where you can.

Paying it forward. A random act of kindness. Whatever you want to call it.

Turns out giving feels pretty good and has some real benefits. Whether its money, old stuff you don’t use. Time or knowledge.

Being kind and sharing what you have is another great way to connect with our fellow humans.

Something I didn’t do enough of before. I will be doing it a lot more going forward.

There is always someone or something that needs a little leg up. One day the tables could turn. It might be me in the same situation. I would like to hope someone would help me in the same way.

6. People you know will be losing jobs. You have some tools to help them.

This one ties into number 5, but it’s more specific I guess.

It’s sad but true. Many friends and colleagues are losing their job’s at the moment. Other than giving them only moral support and a listening ear. There are some other things we can do for them:

  • Take the time to endorse them on LinkedIn.
  • Take the time to recommend them on LinkedIn.
  • Send them links to job openings that they fit. We can even reach out and recommend them for those jobs.
  • Take the time to review a resume or help them practice for an interview.

These are things we all have the power to do. They don’t cost us anything but a small amount of time.

The result for the person looking for that next job to keep food on the table?

For them, it could be huge.

I guess its treating people how you would like to be treated yourself.

7. How much needless stuff did I buy?

This one is personal I guess. But true, I used to buy an endless amount of stuff. Never needed and seldom used.

Like how many pairs of sneakers does one person need?

By not having the opportunity to shop (Online is not a good option where I am). I realized how wasteful some of my habits were.

It changed fundamentally my relationship with money for the better. It turns out spending less and saving more. Can bring just as much joy as saving less, spending more, and having a house full of stuff I never use.

Who would have thought???

8. Travel is a luxury, but staying closer to home can be fun also.

I’m a big traveler. Whether for business or pleasure. I’m used to traveling each week of the year.

Needless to say. This year life has slowed down a lot.

The benefit of that is having to stay at home.

I am spending more time in the country. I’m learning to appreciate the beauty of nature on my doorstep.

I’ve not done that before. To me, staycations sounded awful.

Going forward we will be making the most of where we stay. Those mega vacations?

They will be kept for special occasions and treats.

There is so much to see and do. Right on our own doorsteps.

All we have to do is jump in and explore.

9. We can do more for the environment.

When life is moving a million miles an hour. It’s hard to take stock and notice the little things around us.

Now that life has taken on a slower pace. It’s easier to sit up and take notice of the smaller things.

For me, one of those things is plastic waste.

Everything from food packing to water bottles and lids on coffee cups.

It harms the environment. I’m now more conscious of that.

Why?

Well, I have a lot more time on my hands. That means I notice a lot of things I never used to. Like the amount of plastic packaging we trash.

I now avoid plastic packaging where ever I can. I don’t buy water after learning my tap water is the same stuff I buy in the store.

That’s a huge amount of plastic I’m no longer sending to landfill.

In our house, we have also embraced the reduce, reuse, and recycle mantra.

Not something we did before.

Two examples of that would be:

  • Using every part of a food, we know have a garden full of fruit and veg that we grew ourselves. (Which feeds into lesson 10). Using the seeds which we no longer throw away. What we can’t eat like apple cores, for example, turns into compost.
  • Recycling stuff we would have trashed. Our tomatoes needed posts and retainers to hold them up. At the garden center that would have meant buying plastic posts and plastic ty-wraps.

At home that meant driftwood from the river chopped down into posts.

The retainers?

Well, not every tomato tree can say its held up by Calvin Klein and Victoria Secret’s finest underwear.

The new rule is nothing gets trashed if it can be reused. Including old clothes.

Getting inventive with that new rule can be a lot of fun. Plus it can be a good learning experience.

Which brings us to…

10. Learn new skills.

A huge thing that has kept us going is learning. From painting to gardening. Through building and astrology.

Our house has been in learning mode. If we get bored. It’s a signal to learn something new.

Sometimes that’s been taking pleasure in reading. Other times its been getting outside and doing something more physical.

What it has done is give us ways to keep the mind busy. It’s also been a lot of fun along the way.

At the end of the day…

Life as we knew it has changed. The new normal will be different. That in itself is a good thing.

Change can be scary but it can also be good for us.

All too soon that new normal will kick in. Life will go back to being run at a million miles an hour.

Take the time to reflect now, before it’s too late.

I bet you will start to look at life from a different perspective.

These then are my top 10 lessons I have learned.

What about you?

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