It‘s safe to say that the COVID-19 crisis has disrupted our lives in their core. Our mobility has been restricted and we are now spending the majority of our days inside of our homes. Everyone has adjusted to quarantine life differently: some tried their best to continue with their normal lives by setting up home office and keeping a productivity log, some have focused their attention on improving themselves, be it physically or spiritually, and some are still having a hard time adjusting. We don’t know how long this new life is going to last and that scares most of us. But the important thing to note is that we must always look for a silver lining. In the true AIESEC spirit, we must remain solution-oriented and ask ourselves: what is this pandemic teaching us?
Because now for the first time we have the time to really look at our lives and ask ourselves what is truly important to us. The stillness is bound to make us think and after the initial shock, make us evaluate our every day.
So we would like to share with you a list of things we have learned during the quarantine and that we hope to take with us when the restrictions are lifted and we go back to our busy schedules.
- A busy schedule isn‘t everything.
Many have found the time away from the office very deadly to their productivity. Feelings of guilt after the entire day of watching Netflix and eating snacks fill the confessionals on social media. But we say – that‘s okay. Taking a few days or even a week to rest and do nothing can actually be very beneficial for our productivity. Now that we have the gift of time, we can take a few days or even a week to recharge and adjust to the new normal. Feeling good makes us do good and that is something worth remembering.
2. Our health and well-being should come first.
It is easy to forget our health and well-being in the rush of a Monday. But now that we don‘t have anywhere to go, we have the time to focus on ourselves. We can stop skipping meals and exercise and cutting hours to our beauty sleep. We have the opportunity during quarantine to make these healthy habits into a routine. After spending some time in PJs and catching up on Netflix series, feel free to go for a jog or a walk, cook your favorite foods and share recipes with friends. Take care of yourself first, so that you could take care of others.
3. Connection with those who matter most knows no restrictions.
For some of us who are studying abroad and are currently separated from our families, quarantine has been especially hard. The Internet has played a vital role here in keeping us connected with those we love. Some of us who were lucky enough to catch a flight back home have been reconnected with old friends years after we lost touch. The vulnerability that we feel in times of crisis can bring out the worst in people, but also bring us closer together. It reminds us of what is truly important.
4. Be more present.
When was the last time you had the uninterrupted time to spend it with your family? Do you remember playing board games, exercising together, watching movies? Now we have the time to remind ourselves of these things and we also get reminded of how much we miss them. Use this time to take interest in what your loved ones are passionate about, let them show you their favorite board games, movies or bands. And make a mental note for the future to call your brother more often and answer to your dad sending you memes.
5.We should be grateful to live in times of global connectivity.
We take the internet for granted. We have the ability to keep in touch with those who live far from us and at the tip of our fingers and we also have access to loads of information from all around the world. We can take care of important administrative tasks sitting on our couch or take an online class to improve our skills. Most students in Austria won‘t have delays in their studies thanks to the flexibility of Universities to hold online lessons and exams. This is a huge advantage in regards to past crisis experiences and also to some other countries and cultures who aren‘t as developed. That is something to be grateful for, and while we‘re on the subject of gratitude…
6. We should be grateful for the little things in our lives.
We have seen how quickly the corona epidemic has spread across the world and changed our lives from one day to another. Before the quarantine, we didn‘t even think about whether we would find our favorite type of pasta in the stores. Going to the store freely is no longer something we are able to enjoy, among other things such as meeting friends for coffee, reading a book in the coffeehouse, going to movies or just taking a walk around the city for no other reason than to enjoy the beautiful architecture and scenery.
7. Different people – same fears.
Many countries around the world are experiencing the same effects due to the global spread of the virus and people all around the world are having similar experiences. Fear is something we all feel. The hardest-hit countries like Italy, for example, have received support from the global society during this time. #prayforitaly is a symbol of global solidarity. That is something we could keep in our minds even after the crisis has ended.
8. Our planet can benefit from short periods of calm.
It has been three months since the outbreak of the disease in Wuhan, China. The country has already reported lower levels of air pollution. The Venetian Canals have cleared up. The overall pause in global travel has benefited our planet more than we thought possible. This situation showed us that we can make faster progress in our fight against climate change. Could we be able to give up certain excessive luxuries for the sake of our planet? Maybe the majority of production could become local again. Maybe we can lower the amount of international travel. The corona crisis has stopped our lives completely, but that has given us a view into possibilities for our future lifestyle. It would be irresponsible to forget these lessons, no matter how hard the adjustment might be.
We will try to remember these lessons and apply them to our future no matter what it holds. We hope to have inspired you to think more about your present moment and see benefits in it. If you have any other lessons you would like to share with us, visit our social media channels and let us know!
Written by AIESEC in Vienna BOKU