The COVID-19 crisis has been heartbreaking and challenging, and some days it feels like there's no hope. Yet, in any time of crisis, it's important to look for the good. Amidst the sad and the bad, we wonder: Are there any silver linings or lessons we have learned through this shared global experience?|
The novel coronavirus does not respect national boundaries. It does not care about your gender, race, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, religion or political beliefs. We are truly all in this together.
In every experience, both good and bad, opportunities arise, as do lessons to be learned. In addition to personal growth, introspection and development, when we look through the rear-view mirror once the COVID-19 crisis ends, we'll also have the benefits of these 14 life lessons.
1. Our health is our most valuable asset. Without wellness, our world stops, and every ounce of energy must be put towards recovery. Attention to our health and personal hygiene is essential.
2. We are stronger than we think. Through self-discipline, reaching out for support, trial and error, adapting and growing, we are learning to find meaning and purpose in everyday life, despite an uncertain future.
3. Reconnect with our core values and priorities. With job loss and concern about our economic future, there is less frivolous spending and waste. Our health, the ability to connect with loved ones and finding pleasure in each day is the most important measure of a successful life—not materialistic possessions.
4. We can manage our disappointment and grief. We have become more resilient. We have lost loved ones and been denied the ability to say goodbye. We have missed milestones such as birthdays, graduations, celebrations and holiday gatherings. Yet, we have found ways to honor those individuals and events, while remaining optimistic for the future when we can celebrate together again.
5. We’re more grateful for all of life’s blessings, big and small. This crisis has taught us the fragility of life. Without warning, our worlds can shift, and we need to appreciate each day that we are in good health.
6. Cooking and family meals are valuable and important. For those who are used to grabbing a bite to eat at the counter in between errands, the concept of a dinner gathering now has new meaning. A wholesome meal on the table is both a way of taking care of and connecting with family, and an expression of love.
7. We must sacrifice our own comfort and convenience for the greater good of all. Our actions such as wearing masks, social distancing, washing our hands and quarantining when ill protects both ourselves and our fellow citizens.
8. We have a shared humanity and increased compassion for both our fellow man and ourselves. There are enumerable stories of communities coming together, neighbors helping neighbors, and support for local small businesses.
9. We can adapt to unusual circumstances. When gyms closed, we found new ways to work out. When our routine was disrupted, we found novel ways to conduct business. When we couldn't get together with family and friends, we found virtual ways to stay connected. Our resilience is something to be applauded.
10. Employers have an increased responsibility toward the health and well-being of their workforce. Safety in the workplace, options to work remotely and more flexibility for working parents will likely emerge in response. For those who are used to an 80-hour workweek, the change will hopefully lead to greater work-life balance.
11. A new respect and admiration for professions that, in the past, may have been overlooked. We now give heartfelt thanks to janitors, sanitation workers, teachers, childcare workers, nursing home attendants, elderly caregivers, grocery and restaurant employees, delivery personnel and transportation workers. Despite the risks, these folks kept working to continue the services we rely on.
12. Online education is an accessible and viable way to expand our knowledge. Educational opportunities we thought we could not afford or take time to travel to are and will continue to be available in every industry and for every interest.
13. Our children are capable of being more independent and self-reliant. After having their school year interrupted and being forced to adapt quickly to online learning, it's clear that today's kids are stronger than we might think. With many parents working from home, they will have also gained a greater understanding of what their parents do for a living and their job responsibilities.
14. We have learned the importance of staying socially connected. Grandparents on Zoom, business meetings on Google Hangouts and phone calls to keep in touch made us realize our relationships are essential to our well-being.
When all is said and done, our world will be different. We will have transformed as well, impacted by what we have gone through. We will have new habits and norms. We will have grown and evolved into wiser individuals.