COVID-stories: a spark
We are a good 6 months into the new normal, everyone’s life is marked by the persistent presence of COVID-19. As we all mourn losses of some kind - lives, jobs, income, freedom – it seems so important to keep hope alive and spirits lifted. In this light, I decided to ask in a group of fellow Psychology students and practitioners to list three things that came into their lives in the last months, that turned out to be a positive. I received 90 responses and I enjoyed reading every single one of them. Here is a summary.
First of all, what stood out to me was that ‘normal life’, or should I say ‘normal love’, continued as nothing had ever happened, people fell in love, started relationships, moved in together, got married, had babies.
Most people then reported that they finally found the time to complete or start a new study or course. Or finally made the career change they were looking for, with most people setting up their own businesses to do what they had been meaning to do, sometimes for years or decades. Probably, people making these changes were overrepresented in this group, because of the nature of the group. So I’ll focus on the remainder of my findings.
The absolute number one thing that people talked about was: people, relationships, family, love and friendships. A good portion of the group shared that they were delighted that they were able to spend more time with their families. Someone moved in with her parents to look after them. Connections were revitalised, deepened, improved. And social ‘cupboards’ seemed to be cleaned out. A surprisingly large number of people mentioned ‘breaking of friendships’ as a positive. Others shared they had always been comfortable living a solitary life or appreciated this new ‘social silence’. Yet again, some people actively sought out new friendships. It sounds like everyone came more into their own and experienced clarity regarding how and to whom to relate. Numerous people shared that they had realised that they wanted to contribute to the lives of others. Community projects were started.
And then the most important relationship of all: relating to ourselves. So many folks reported being able to focus on self-growth and self-care. From down to earth losing weight and improving physical health to decluttering and learning how to cook, to becoming more creative, saying ‘no’, re-evaluating ‘normal’ life and slowing down. People reported increased creativity, new purpose, better work-life balance. Books were read and written. Gardens were created and blossomed. Children and parents spend much more time outdoors.
Despite all the sadness and loss, COVID-19 has sparked the realisation to invest in ourselves and the people we love first and foremost. If you read this, please comment with what unexpected changes and positives have come into your life since February 2020. And please share to others who may need a different perspective. Let’s keep this spark alive or even better: keep feeding it until it is a good, old bonfire.