3 Lessons I’ve Learned in the COVID-19 Pandemic

A letter to those with mixed emotions:

We are told over and over it’s okay not to be okay. But, during a pandemic, has anyone told you it’s also okay to be okay? We’re stuck at home, many are suffering from a layoff, we cannot see our relatives and friends and more. This time has created many uncertainties and fears, and your unsettling feelings that come with this are completely valid. But this time has also created a pause for reflection.

Having found myself back home in northern Illinois after my sorority house at the University of Missouri closed for the semester, I find myself reflecting on the priorities in my life. Here are some lessons I’ve learned so far while social distancing:

  1. You don’t need extra time

“If only I had time” has long been an excuse for the tasks and hobbies we don’t get to. The pandemic has left most of us with extra spare time, but work and school schedules remain most likely the same. Our days are packed with meetings, classes or whatever it may be, but how you choose to spend your breaks or evenings is always up to you whether during a pandemic or not. Every day is a good day to start the project you’ve always wanted to get to. For me, it’s starting my blog. You will find time for what you make a priority.

2. Embrace your family always

One week into social distancing, my parents dug up our family home videos from the basement. We spend the weekend evenings watching my two younger brothers and I dance around in our pajamas—and, might I add, my hilarious cheerleading outfit I wore every day at age 5—, interact with family members who aren’t with us anymore at Christmas and birthday parties, take on Disney World and more. Happiness comes from human interaction. While you may get annoyed being in the same space as your family, roommate or significant other at times, make memories and take the time to embrace one another. Mend relationships and enjoy each other’s presence

3. Taking time to decompress is key

Working from home often means we work more and carry our work into the evening hours. It is so crucial to take breaks. Acknowledge any and all feelings you have and know they are valid, but also take a walk and get some fresh air to breathe. It can help tremendously. Find what works for you. I have found getting lost on backroads for an hour or two can be relaxing.

Take this time to reflect. Know your mixed emotions are okay. But take time for yourself, too.

Sincerely,

An optimistic realist.

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