As we increasingly see the return of what life was like in the Before Times (pre-COVID), many of us are carefully choosing those parts of our pre-pandemic lives we wish to restore versus the ones best left behind. One of the silver-linings of the global lockdown this past year is that it forced all of us to modify our daily routines, review our priorities, and appreciate things we once took for granted. In the aftermath, what we have is an incredible opportunity to be more mindful in the way we create our post-pandemic existence, particularly in these areas:
Among the most common themes being discussed is the desire to maintain more of a work/life balance, which can be more readily accomplished by reducing commute times and maximizing the use of various efficiencies we all discovered as we adapted our work habits this past year. By wasting less time, many are hoping to continue enjoying more time with family and friends, as well as being more committed to their own health and fitness. It is a win-win for everyone as happier people tend to be more productive at work, and less stressed at home.
Another benefit to come out of the pandemic is that over this past year, the credit card industry saw families pay down the greatest amount of debt in decades. For years, financial experts have been begging people to (1) maintain a generous rainy day fund, (2) live within your means by maintaining a balanced budget and (3) be more conscious about your spending. The past year was a rude awakening for many as to why we should heed these words of wisdom, and for those caught off guard, perhaps changes can be implemented moving forward to provide for greater financial security in the future.
This past year, no one could ignore how much we need each other in all sectors of society, and the severe divide that exists within our own communities requires immediate attention. We can only hope that the momentum created this past year will continue to promote the necessary changes to foster a greater sense of fairness, justice and peace among all of us. On a more personal level, one humbling reality of COVID-19 is that any one of us under enough stress can suffer from situational anxiety or depression, and the best antidote to these ailments is to develop a strong sense of connection with those around you.
For almost an entire year, many of us lived with the real fear of getting infected with this virus, not knowing how it might affect us. As a result, I woke up every day thankful for the ability to do things I once took for granted— like being able to taste and breath, go outside, and not endure isolation in quarantine. Although I have been vaccinated for months now, I still find myself exercising daily gratitude for the little things, which is a healthy habit that I hope has been instilled in many of us.
While some managed to find love during the height of COVID, many others discovered that they could no longer ignore their dysfunctional partnerships. Unfortunately, not everyone has the capacity to be emotionally available or responsive, and many lack the ability to communicate effectively and connect beyond a surface level. It is completely normal to want to feel heard, appreciated and loved. Your partner should make you feel special and safe. Together, you should feel like a team working on finding solutions to life’s problems. If your pandemic pal failed to rise to the occasion in one of your greatest hours of need, cut your losses now so you can go find a better match.
This past year, we all took a hit in ways we may never be fully able to articulate, and the long-term impact for those of us that have managed to survive is yet unknown. But rather than worry about the things beyond our control, let’s focus on what we can control, which are our own choices in how we conduct our lives from this moment forward, hopefully with a little less edginess and a lot more heart.
By Regina DeMeo