Where do we go from here?
Easily one of the most important questions everyone, globally, is asking themselves right now. To say we are living in a time of uncertainty would be an understatement. It’s something I have been personally reflecting on over the last number of weeks trying to understand what my future looks like. It would be easy to bury my head in the sand and say ‘hey, lockdown will ease, everything will get back to normal and we will all live happily ever after’. A big part of me would like to think that way, but life experience has taught me that there is no ‘happy ever after’ and to think that way is nonsense.
Life before lockdown for me was 100 miles per hour from the moment I woke up. A constant focus on working, achieving, material things and the general desire to always want more. Living with guilt over the lack of time I had with loved ones in the pursuit of worldly gains. Living from month to month with the occasional plan for that family holiday in the sun. Deadlines, constant scheduling across multiple diaries, rush hour traffic, late nights working, sleep deprivation, 7 cups of coffee per day, social media…the list goes on. I was deeply embedded in the rat race and was suffering in the same way as many with stress and anxiety. When I think about it now, I was on the road to burnout.
Although what has happened due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been awful in many respects, I’ve realised there are some positives to take from all of this. For one, it has forced me to hit ‘reset’ and think about things differently. I have watched through all of this how the natural environment, which we all completely rely on but take for granted, has started to show signs of recovery. I have had deep, meaningful conversations with friends and family that would probably never have happened had it not been for lockdown. I have had time to enjoy the simple things in life. I’ve even rediscovered my love for an early morning run! In many ways, I have reconnected with myself and what is truly important.
So, where do we go from here? My thoughts and reflections on my own journey around this are quite simple and I do hope there’s something in this that can help you too:
Wellbeing: You have time to heal, both physically and mentally. That may be going out for a run or taking some time to just have a cry about bottled up emotions that you just couldn’t deal with in the hustle and bustle of daily life. It had been easier to bury them to the back of your mind at the time, but whatever you are dealing with, take the time now to address it properly. The best healing comes from within. Take your time to reconnect with your body and mind and think about how you can make it stronger and healthier.
Relationships: Take time to think of the people who have been in contact with you during lockdown. Those people are your true friends. Think of how your personal relationships with loved ones faired out during this time. For some, questions on the future of their relationships will be answered. No work, no distractions, how did things work out when the noise of ‘normal life’ was removed?
Crap: You have time to de-clutter your life of all the unnecessary material goods that you have been carrying around as a burden for years, most of which you could really live without. Take your time, think about each item. Do you really need it? Could it be recycled, upcycled or given to someone who might benefit from it more? You will feel better for doing this.
Options: You have time to reflect on what you really want out of life rather than being carried on a neverending wave with little or no option but to hang on tight for survival. Think of how the world is changing so quickly. Change brings opportunities. You have options. Think of what you have learnt about yourself during lockdown. Think of what will truly make you happy moving forward. Note: you will not find the answer to this on Amazon
Personal Development: You have time now to gain skills that will give you the best opportunity to gain future employment in ‘the new normal’ or enhance your capability to carry out your current job better in the future. Most skills can now be gained via online courses of some kind. You have a world of new information at your fingertips. Take your time to understand what’s available, what skills will be in demand in ‘the new normal’ and what you believe you would enjoy pursuing.
I hope sharing this with you may be of some help. In essence, you have time, a time you may never have again in this life. A time to really create the changes you need to find happiness and fulfilment. Embrace this time and use it wisely and when lockdown does reside you will know exactly where to go.
Useful links to online resources
1) World Health Organisation Free Online Courses with Free Certificates
2) Free Online Course on how to be happier in your daily life from Yale University
3) Learn Spanish Language and explore Spanish from Universitat Politècnica de Valencia (UPValenciaX)
4) Tips for Successful Online Learning from edX
5) Sign up for a one-month free trial to access all courses on Lynda by LinkedIn
6) Free online tutorials
7) Open University offer a whole catalogue of free courses