We’ve been social distancing and self-isolating for a few weeks now, and as unimaginable as it seems, it’s beginning to feel a little bit normal.
As we get into the new swing of our lives, it is important to reflect on the things we have already learnt from this surreal moment in time and how we can go forward.
Rediscovering the value of the family unit
Thanks to our ever-present connectivity, students were previously splitting much of their time between friends at school and friends online, meaning family could often be taken for granted. However, the enforced period of family time we are in has brought back to the fore what is so important during social isolation: our nearest and dearest.
We’re hearing heart-warming stories of families eating together more, children rallying when a parent is sick, and families feeling closer as they speak more honestly with one another. In a time where health is paramount, creating good dialogue and holding our families close feels almost instinctive, so now is a good time to set up good traditions and habits so that family remains just as important in the future.
Teaching our children life skills is important
As we are seeing, anything can happen at any time. Life is unpredictable. Therefore, the best way for parents to prepare their children for the unimaginable is to equip them early on with some basic life skills. At this current time, students may be at home alone but they still need to eat well, especially as this is a health crisis. So teaching children to cook, for example, is a very valuable skill that will develop their independence and ensure that they are prepared for other, eventual unpredictable events.
As well as this, cooking together is a great way for parents and kids to connect and pass the time, so give it a go – and don’t stop there! There are many valuable skills that will stand students in good stead for the future like budgeting, gardening... anything that can help develop their self-reliance and independence will be a boon for their future.
There is time in a day
Before we were made to stay away from work, friends and colleagues, it seemed that we never had the time to a lot of things that we wanted to do. Yet many of us are now realising the amount of ‘dead time’ we had, which we can turn to our advantage. Before, we spent it on commuting, social media and other daily life rituals.
During the pandemic, some of that time has suddenly been freed up. Rather than wake up early to do exercise, you could do it at the time that you might have been usually driving home from work. We can contact those friends, start writing that story, spend time with the kids… With these little pockets of extra time, we are being given the opportunity to truly appreciate what we have and reassess where our priorities should lie. Just because you have always done something one way doesn’t mean it must be that way forever.
How to wash our hands properly!
Although this may sound trivial, given the simplicity of hand washing, it truly has been a learning curve for many of us. What seems like such a simple action, millions of people have discovered was not quite as simple as they thought. Understandably, the importance of hygiene has risen in everyone’s mind, and as we have all now been taught the right way to wash our hands, we know to be more careful in the future and wash our hands regularly and properly.
We could travel less
One player coming out of this situation positively is the environment. At the moment, as we curb our travel plans and fewer energy plants are in operation, levels of planet-warming gases are falling. Carbon monoxide emissions from cars have fallen almost 50% in Britain from last year’s levels and China’s emissions and energy use dropped 25% over a two-week period. People are seeing blue skies in cities where they haven’t been for a long time. However, if we want to see this trend continue beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, we must think about the way we travelled before the lockdown and potentially how we might change it in the future. Did we really need to take so many flights or separate cars? To prevent falling back into the same or higher emission levels as before, we can each be more considerate with travel, promote the use of renewable energy and make our voices heard by those who have the power to change.
Learn to appreciate ourselves
Of course, now is a great time to reconnect with friends and family. Yet it is also important to be conscious of ourselves, how we’re feeling and responding to what’s happening around us. We have been given a moment of respite in which to better learn about ourselves and to reconnect. So even as you choose to watch yet another TV show, don’t forget to appreciate some of the calmer moments of the day and understand that sometimes it is okay to be alone and undistracted too.
The world has many valuable lessons to learn from this pandemic, and these are only some of the more personal take-aways that we can work on. Each individual will learn things unique to themselves about how they have responded to the health crisis. The important thing is that we notice them, take them on board and try to work at them for the future. We’re in this together, so let’s learn together too.