Okay so, we weren’t expecting all this, were we? Things seem to have gone from zero to sixty in just a matter of days from COVID-19, also known as coronavirus. In case you live under a rock, COVID-19 is a new strand of the coronaviruses discovered in 2019 that cause respiratory infection if transmitted from person to person. It was named a pandemic by the World Health Organization in March 2020. If you come into contact with the virus, you’re likely to get infected or infect others if you don’t take these precautions.
What a whirlwind it all has been. And not in a good way. There have been countless closures and disruptions, at least here in the US. A lot of things are up in the air for the next month or more, including my wedding, which was slated for March 29th, and my honeymoon travels. Most people have probably been affected in some way, which I’ll admit, is super freaking inconvenient.
But, life has a way of forcing us to learn the things we need to, whether we seek out that learning or not. I think we can all learn from this–both directly in practicing better personal hygiene and indirectly from a mindset and stoicism standpoint.
Here are 19 life lessons we can all learn from COVID-19:
- The only thing you can control is YOU. Your behavior and reactions are all you can control. With the virus, practicing good self-hygiene and social distancing to prevent spread starts with YOU. With life, choosing your behavior and reactions wisely helps you get through the most difficult of times.
- Life is unpredictable. This will always be the case. We always have plans that get demolished for both good and bad. We can’t predict what’s going to happen with this virus and we can’t predict what’s going to happen with the rest of our lives. Roll with the punches.
- It’s okay to have a plan, but be prepared for the plan to fall apart. Plans will never turn out exactly as you think they will. Ever. There will always be some facet that is either better or worse than we thought, but never identical. It’s fine to have plans, but if they fall apart, we must keep composure and take it one step at a time. With COVID-19 and the uncertainty it brings, we have no choice but to take it one day at a time.
- Everything happens for a reason. Just because things are looking grim right now, who knows, you might come out of all of this in a better position than before. We’ve all probably been in situations where we thought all hope was lost only to end up happy that the situation happened ended up this way after all was said and done.
- An emergency fund is crucial. I’m no financial guru, but I think you’d agree that having extra money saved (in addition to your savings) is crucial for times like these when money might be unpredictable. Having an emergency fund during times like now with COVID-19 will help alleviate some anxiety when crisis hits and also in the future, if needed.
- It’s a good idea to diversify your streams of income. Going along with the previous lesson, having different streams of income helps to offset the effects of one or more of your streams of income being compromised due to some unforeseen event. It’s a great way to be prepared, just incase.
- Don’t put things off. Got things you’ve been wanting or meaning to do? Do them right when you get the chance because who knows when opportunity will knock again? You might have meant to replenish your toilet paper or Clorox wipes supply for quite some time, only to find out now they’ve been virtually wiped out from society. The same goes for other things in life– do them while you can.
- Be careful what you wish for. Things could always be “better” or “different”. Throughout wedding planning, our guest list was getting out of control and we kept getting excited when people would cancel. now, LOTS of people are canceling due to COVID-19. Now, no one might come. Whoops!
- Don’t rush life along. When things get hard and busy, we might find ourselves saying “I can’t wait for things to die down next week” or “I wish this was over with already.” You are right where you need to be. Spending time wishing things were further along, or wishing to be at a different point in time isn’t productive. What matters is now, and how you’ll move forward, not what’s going to happen or not happen in a few weeks.
- It’s not you, it’s life. The things that happen to you aren’t always about you. I found myself starting to take things personal with COVID-19. I’d say “of course this would happen to me when I’m supposed to get married” or “I guess I can’t have nice things.” But there’s nothing personal about anything that has happened to you. Don’t believe me? Google any of your problems and you’ll be sure to find TONS of instances of the same/similar thing that happened to TONS of other people.
- In times of uncertainty, you need a constant. Having a part of your day that isn’t too varied is crucial on a regular day. And even more so when things get uprooted. Whether it’s working out, reading a passage, practicing gratitude, journaling, etc., you’ve got to have some part of your day that keeps you grounded and sane.
- Self-care is important. It’s important to take care of your mental health. You probably don’t realize how exhausting it is mentally to be dealing with a crisis on top of all of the adulating you’ve got to do. We’ve all still got things to take care of and it’s important to make one of those things YOU. Self-care is something you should always be doing, no matter the world’s state of affairs.
- You’ve got to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Truth is, uncertainty is super uncomfortable. It creates anxiety and overwhelm. But remember, you cannot control anything but your own reactions. In today’s world (and probably any world), we need to be able to get through the days without knowing everything. We know this now more than ever with COVID-19, but let’s take it as a lesson for beyond the pandemic.
- You should never just hit the panic button. Ever. You should take responsibility for your actions and proceed with caution, but you should never go into a full-on panic. When things get rough, trying to solve problems in a panic rarely leads to any great solution. When life gets dicey, we should do our best to keep a level head and proceed with logic, rather than leading fully with emotion.
- Reading is fundamental and making decisions for YOU is best. There has been a lot of different stories going around about COVID-19, a lot of which is just noise on social media to promote fear and panic. As with anything in life, what you want is real information, and you’ve got to seek that out yourself from reputable sources. You’ve got to do your own research and then make whatever decision is best for YOU, not anything based on what Sally on Instagram said.
- Social media and news should not be consumed in large quantities. This is a huge life lesson. Of course, we all want to stay in the loop, but it’s important to know when enough is enough. Continuing to read articles, watch the news, and look at memes on social media isn’t good for anyone on any day. It’s exhausting and mentally taxing. Get in the loop but then carry on with your life without getting completely consumed.
- Things could always be worse. Man, if you thought going to work everyday and being able to easily purchase toilet paper was mundane, wait till you can’t. Like right now. Wherever we are in life, things could always be worse. It’s important to count your blessings and realize that although we’d like for things to improve, they could always end up much worse.
- You aren’t immune to the world’s happenings. No one is. While there are wealthy people who get to live each day without worrying about money, for example, COVID-19 has taught us that sickness does not discriminate. Anyone’s immune system is up for grabs. After all, we are all only human. Different things affect people in different ways, but nonetheless we’re all impacted. And we’ve all got to figure out how best to proceed.
- Little things compound into bigger things. Never underestimate the power of doing “small” things. COVID-19 has taught us that simple hygiene can substantially decrease your chances of contracting the illness. And if everyone practices simple hand-washing and covering coughs/sneezes, the risk further declines. Same goes for life in general. Taking small steps to improve will lead to BIG change in the future.
It has been rough for so many people. My heart goes out to everyone who has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Try to stay positive and work through the pain and fear of the unknown. We will all be okay! ❤
TL;DR – This is too important to not read. Don’t be lazy and go read it!
Let me know in the comments what you doing to cope with COVID-19.