As hard as it is to go through a crisis, difficult circumstances always bring new opportunities.
We are entering a new phase in this pandemic. Now that shops are opening again and a sense of "normality" is kicking back in and some of us may admittedly not feel ready to go back to living our "pre-Corona" lives.
I have been talking to a lot of friends lately and this gives me the feeling that there are very few people who have NOT experienced some fundamental shifts in their lives.
There have been practical changes in the way we work and live and at the same time, there was an emotional undercurrent that has led us to reconsider what's really important in life.
So on the positive side of this whole lockdown experience, you may have been able to use it as a chance to grow, reconnect, and recalibrate.
Here are the positive changes that keep coming up in my conversations:
- Having time to finally slow down and realizing how busyness can numb and distracts us
- Paying more attention to our bodies and what we need
- Having more time to exercise
- Consuming less and being happier
- Investing more time in relationships
- Working fewer hours but being more effective
- Feeling a new connection to home
- Picking up new habits like meditation
- Feeling less fear of missing out (FOMO) and being more comfortable saying no to things
- A new appreciation for face-to-face interactions
- Realizing how important human connection really is to us
- Worrying less about the future and taking it one day at a time
- Being more grateful for our blessings, health, and safety
- Realizing that we can be okay without travel
Gaining back valuable time that we would usually be spent on commuting
I also wanted to share a couple of personal shifts that I have experienced with you.
Since I've no longer attended networking events, my agenda freed up for wonderful spontaneous interactions with my friends. The amazing thing is that I have been in contact with more friends than I have been in a decade. And since we all (openly) struggled with the situation, there emerged a new deeper connection for which I am really grateful.
Not being able to eat in restaurants meant that I cooked healthy food every day. Allowing myself to really spend time enjoying cooking and not just eating. This has made me feel super nourished, not just physically - but also emotionally.
In the last few months, I consumed as little as ever. Even though online shops were still available, the focus on staying at home really decreased my appetite to invest in acquiring new things significantly. With the exception of a phone that I really needed, I hardly bought anything new and got rid of 70% of my clothes to drastically simplify my wardrobe. I've felt so much freer as a result.
It's the first time in my adulthood that I don't have plans for the next 6 months and really take it one day at a time. I just moved into a temporary flat-share and love the feeling of being free to decide spontaneously what to do as a next step when I get there.
There were times when I grew tired of meeting people on Zoom and I have a new appreciation for phone calls (that feel so much more personal.... there is something about focusing on the voice 100%) - and of course for personal meetings.
The unpredictability of this situation meant that I have had to cultivate a new ability to deal with a high level of uncertainty and learn how to stay calm despite not knowing how things will develop economically.
I have had to rethink my business and adapt it to the new conditions. I've always worked online but saw there was a shift in what people really need in these difficult times.
Did you experience positive changes in the middle of this pandemic?
You may have felt uncomfortable with slowing down in the beginning but now that you have gotten used to the new pace you dread falling back into the busyness trap...
Or you are worried about how your relationships will develop when everyone is going about their own lives again now that you've had a lot more time to be with close family.
So how can we hold on to some of the positive new changes in our lives?
Here are a couple of reminders before you jump back into your "normal" life:
- Reflect on how you can prioritize your family and friendships going forward.
- Spend enough time being after all the doing and be careful not to fill up all the "empty" slots in your agenda.
- Keep some time in your agenda open for spontaneous interactions.
- Set better boundaries and say "no" more, make fewer compromises with your time and energy.
- Use the opportunity to renegotiate your home office schedule.
- Become aware of behavioral patterns that you don't want to fall back into and come up with systems to counteract them.
- Commit to a realistic exercise routine to keep fit.
- Make time to prepare your own meals and keep away from fast food.
- Develop a sense for when you spent too much time in front of screens and take regular breaks.
It all comes down to a more conscious way of living.