The COVID-19 pandemic still lingers, but there’s a light emerging at the end of the tunnel. Life is slowly returning to some sense of normalcy here in the United States. Though it might take more time to get completely back to normal, we’re at a stage where we can look back at the last year and recognize some things we’ve learned.
Yes, if nothing else, the pandemic has been a learning experience. Although it’s been nearly impossible to get through at times, understanding what you’ve learned and applying it to your present and future can make a big difference in how you live your life.
So, what have we, as a society, learned from the COVID-19 pandemic?
1. Personal Values
The pandemic allowed for a lot of “alone time” for many people. As a result, more people looked inward at the things that really mattered. When you’re left alone with your thoughts, you can start to have a better understanding of your real values.
Because the pandemic was so uncertain and scary at times, many people also looked for something that could help them get through, like a higher power. Some people found their faith, while others found balance and personal peace.
2. The Effects of Isolation
There have been studies going on for years about the negative impact of isolation. The pandemic made that a reality for almost everyone.
Even if you never considered yourself a “social” person before, there’s a difference between saying “no” to going out with friends and feeling stuck in your house for ten months.
Isolation can lead to a lot of physical and mental health issues. If you found you were anxious or even feeling depressed during those initial months of quarantine, you weren’t alone.
3. Valuing Relationships
Because isolation was such a problem, COVID taught us all to value the relationships in our lives. You may not have been able to see your friends or family for months. Or maybe you lost someone close to you to the virus.
Whatever the case, the pandemic opened many people’s eyes to how fragile life can be and how important relationships truly are. It’s easy to take them for granted, and COVID provided a way for people to see just how much their relationships mattered.
4. Spending Habits and “Retail Therapy”
Many people took up new hobbies during the pandemic. Some wanted to pass the time, others wanted a distraction. Some people just wanted to find a way to better themselves. So, while things like bread-baking and art became more prominent, so did spending.
Spending habits changed during the pandemic because people had more time to be online. Retail therapy is a very real thing for some people, so clicking “order” on Amazon or other online retailers became incredibly easy. E-commerce sales soared, and it will be interesting to see if that trend keeps up once life returns to normal.
5. Remote Working Has Its Ups and Downs
While many businesses had to close during COVID, others stayed afloat by allowing their employees to work remotely. While working from home sounds great on the surface, it isn’t the best option for everyone.
Working remotely requires a lot of discipline. And, if you’re a social person, it can be another contribution to the loneliness that makes it even harder to deal with your daily routine. With some businesses choosing to keep their employees remote on a long-term basis, individuals will have to decide if that’s the right environment for them.
There are so many additional things that we all collectively learned due to COVID. More insights will probably become apparent in the months and years to come. What’s important now is that we take the things we’ve learned and grow from them, so if anything like this ever happens again, we can be better prepared mentally and physically.