This time last year, I was on a flight back from Langkawi to KL. I had gone on a weekend getaway to celebrate my birthday with some of my friends. Having just celebrated my birthday two days ago now in 2021, it got me thinking about how much can change in just a year.
When word got out about the outbreak of Covid-19 around this time last year, everyone was in a state of shock. (myself included!) At the time, we still did not know that much about this virus type and how serious it was. It was only when the whole world was placed under total lockdown was when we really started digesting reality.
Just like that, we learned to slowly adapt to change. From days to weeks and weeks to months, what we thought was impossible eventually became the “new normal.” The pandemic has taught us to take a step back and evaluate our life choices. For me, it was one of the biggest turning points of my life.
Because, I learned to:
1. Appreciate the little things
As human beings, we are constantly seeking more that sometimes we forget to appreciate the simple things in life. Like how we are lucky to have a roof over our heads and food on our table. The pandemic made me realize that most of my desires were really just “wants” and not so much a “need.”
Like how we need to prioritize our health and wellbeing above anything else, how we need food and drinking water to live, how we need nature’s resources for survival. It is when we learn to put things into perspective, is when we realize the insignificance of material things.
2. Practice self-care
Being home-bound for months meant that I finally had more time for self-care. I had more time to prepare healthier meals, to go for a run every morning, to get more sleep at night and even to pick up new hobbies and skills.
A little bit of self-care really does go a long way. Rest and relaxation is essential to increase productivity and even reduces burnout. Here are some ideas to practice self-care.
3. Find beauty in my own city
One thing I’ve truly learnt about being placed under restricted movement is to explore and appreciate what my own country has to offer. The thing that hit me the most during the pandemic was probably not being able to travel abroad. Being an avid traveller, having to put all my travel plans on hold was hard to accept at first.
But, it eventually taught me to find alternatives when it comes to travelling – in fact, cheaper ones. I got the chance to explore local beaches, hike on new trails, try out different restaurants and just busk in all the beauty within a short drive away. It turns out, we don’t need to cross continents to enjoy travelling.
4. Be self-sustainable
Now that we have limited access to resources that were once easy to obtain, we are now forced to be more self-reliant in managing our day-to-day lives. I felt like I did some of the biggest self-development during this period of time, both personally and professionally.
I learned how to save more money for a rainy day, to cook meals on my own instead of dining out and most importantly, to live with less (because we do not need so much junk in our lives!)
Learning to be self-sufficient was one of the greatest things because it also taught me to care more for the environment and to always give back to society.
5. Value Relationships
The pandemic made it harder than ever for us to connect with friends and family in our support network. We moved from talking in person over brunch to talking over video calls. Hugs and high fives were now switched to a distant wave, with space preventing physical contact.
Yet, despite all the physical distance keeping us apart, we somehow became more acutely aware of our relationships and the importance of human interaction to our mental health. Be it with a romantic partner, friends, neighbours and even colleagues.