6 extraordinary life lessons to remember when this is over

Three months after we have been suddenly locked into our houses due to the corona virus, we slowly enter a time when more is allowed again. And as nice as that is, it also feels strange and a bit scary; because this period of restricted freedom has not been bad or annoying at all points.

For example, was the extra time you spent with your children not very special? And did it not bring a lot of peace of mind that you simply could not leave home? If you only look hard enough, you’ll realise there are some positive life lessons we can take away from all of this. With that in mind, I really hope we remember these life lessons when this is all over, so that we can take them with us to the “new normal”.

  1. Taking it one day at a time

The holiday plans for the summer or that weekend break away – suddenly the plans you made are all compromised… Because whether and how we can go on holiday again is unclear. As well as it is still unclear when life will be back to ´normal´. Dreaming about future plans became, and is, suddenly uncertain because we have no idea what the world will look like in a few months. The solution? Taking it one day at a time, living in the now. Make plans for today, and at most for tomorrow. Don´t not look forward to something that might or might not take place in the future, but enjoy what is here and now. Watch the leaves on the trees grow from small green buds to fresh crisp leaves – when was the last time you consciously experienced this?

Maybe you can’t have your planned vacation this year. But maybe you will realize that a not so well planned future, can make you just as happy.

2. How little we need – or, rather, how much we have

In the beginning, we were all wrapped up in this big toilet paper buying debacle. Creating the fear that we would get stuck without some of our live essentials with panic buying as a consequence. Though, we’re all learning to live with what we have. To share what we do have with others (I’ve been given fresh fruits by my neighbour who has a vegetable garden and baked them some fruit loaf in return. To donate when and where we can to charity and animal rescue centres. To buy local, whenever we can, in a bid to support small businesses.

3. Less is more

For the first time, because of Corona, our freedom was limited. Lots of things that used to be normal, were no longer possible. But, no more parties, no social appointments and no events also means no FOMO (fear of missing out). You didn’t have to be afraid to miss something because nothing happened. The choices of our old life might have been alluring, but an excess of options can sometimes also be paralyzing. The noise disappeared and, after the dust had settled, showed what was left. You may see now how nice it was that you didn’t have to go out. And that happiness is not (only) in the outside world. Did you feel how much happiness there is within your home, and within yourself? And so how much richer and freer you have actually become by realizing this?

4. Establishing more connection

Perhaps corona will help us to pay more attention to each other. That sounds contradictory in times of social distancing, however, the arrival of corona has also been the moment when we sacrificed en masse to protect a vulnerable group and to keep the work for the nurses and doctors in the hospital bearable. We feel the importance of connection, not only to keep each other healthy, but also to show that we love each other. Grandparents are waved at from a distance in the garden and we make video calls to sing for our friends and loved ones on their birthdays. It also connects in a different way: for the first time we are all in the same boat. Although every situation is different, everyone is touched by it.

We realise more how much we are interdependent with each other, and that we are only happy with fulfilling relationships in our lives. Hopefully this will make us think less about ourselves, and more about someone else.

5. Appreciating the value of human contact

Real-life connection is the essence of wellbeing. And, while WhatsApp messaging and virtual meetings with friends via Zoom is better than no contact at all, there’s no denying this lockdown has made us realise that there’s no comparison for time spent together IN REAL LIFE.

Right now, all we want to do is sit and chat without worrying what our face looks like on screen. We’re sick of dealing with poor WiFi connections, we’re tired of conversations dropping in and out of signal. Because… well, because we’d rather hug our loved ones instead. To be there for one another, present and in the moment.

6. That we truly do have the power to heal the planet

Although I don’t think that the corona outbreak is something we should be celebrating, there is one unexpected beneficiary: Planet Earth. We might be in lockdown, but nature is not.

During this time of human inactivity, we’ve seen swans and fresh fish return to the waters of Venice. As the whirr of traffic falls silent and much of the country works from home, the birdsong in our gardens and parks has seemed deafening. Rare wildflowers and declining bee populations could start to recover because many councils are leaving roadside verges uncut. And, due to the shutdown in industrial activity, satellite imagery from the European Space Agency shows that we have temporarily slashed air pollution levels around the world.

Obviously, it will be hard to keep this up when we all return to normal day-to-day life. However, I hope that we all remember how much impact humanity as a whole can have upon the world – and that we all make a conscious effort to “do our bit” whenever and wherever we can going forward. Be nice to Mother Earth, and she will be kind to you.

I hope that one day not too far from now, all of this will be a distant memory. However, I also do hope to remember the life lessons I learned during this time. That I really do not need that new pair of shoes and can better spend that money on organizing a dinner for my friends. That experiences are much more valuable than stuff. That I’ll make time to see the people I love whenever I can, and appreciate and be there for them always. That I´ll appreciate and enjoy the great outdoors, and do my bit to protect it. That I will put my phone down more often to look around, try to be present in the moment. That I will live true to my own heart’s voice. Love harder. Take risks, be bolder, be braver… Be a better mother, friend, sister, daughter, partner.

That I won’t, above all else, flake on plans and rearrange for the following week. Because, just sometimes, those “following week” intentions won’t be there to fall back on…

Writen by your SISter in Wellness Femke

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