This pandemic has shaken our world in a way that has never been experienced before. Of course, there is much sadness and fear around understandably. Many people have talked and written about this. So, I’m not going to write about that. I believe there are some positive takeaways in all of this.
A Cleaner Environment
One of the things I have noticed is the lack of vapour trails in the sky, and the atmosphere seems so much clearer and cleaner, and with a reduction in the number of cars on the road it too has had a dramatic effect on pollution. This has a positive effect on our health, as we breathe in cleaner air.
Before the pandemic, many companies were encouraging their employees to work from home wherever practical. Now, more and more companies have extended this practise, and also recognised more of their business can be shifted online. Conferences and meetings previously held face to face are being held virtually, meaning less need for travel, saving both time, money and the environment.
People who are working from home are seeing benefits because they don’t have to get up early to commute, they are more refreshed and relaxed.
There is more quality time to spend with their loved ones, they are able to spend more time with their children and now have the time to share in the school runs, as they are home more and they can work more flexibly. They are less stressed, which has a positive impact on their relationships. People tell me they are more productive because they aren’t interrupted and there are less distractions. This has to be of great benefit to many people.
We know the High Street is changing with more and more stores closing, as many more customers are buying on-line. The larger supermarkets have offered a home delivery service for a long time now, but I am noticing retailers who weren’t previously online are moving that way. For example some of our local producers, such as farm shops offering home deliveries of fresh produce. Its great news as far as I am concerned, as I dislike food shopping and I think it’s important to support our local shops and small businesses.
Whilst for some it’s not feasible, for example, we need to physically be with a chiropractor or to have a massage.
However, some, like Pilates / Yoga teachers are offering online classes and expanding their customer base.
I think that the arts in all its forms feeds our souls. So not being able to go to the theatre, or enjoy events such as flower shows, a concert, the theatre or art exhibitions make me sad. However, it’s not all bad news. Virtual Tours are opening up, meaning we can still enjoy them. Just Google “free virtual events and tours.” There is something for every member of the family.
Theatres are live-streaming their productions, meaning that we can watch them from home. I recently watched the National Theatre production of ‘ One Man Two Guvnors ‘,. It was hilarious. I have also watched musicals that have been live-streamed.
You can also take courses online, some of which are free. So it means you don’t have to find a babysitter, and you can fit it in with your lifestyle!
There are podcasts galore to suit every taste from football to comedy to shows that appeal to small business owners.
I have seen communities coming together much more than ever before. Individuals are setting up volunteer groups, giving their time to support the vulnerable. They are getting shopping and prescriptions for those unable to do so, as well as offering telephone calls to those feeling lonely. I am proud to be a part of this, not only offering telephone contact, but I have also been asked to support the volunteers because of the skillset and experience.
Neighbours are talking to each other much more and checking in with each other and asking them how they are. As well as complete strangers saying ‘hello’ as they pass each other.
It’s so heart-warming to see that communities are pulling together, let’s hope it continues for the future, with letting go of any minor irritations that have caused disharmony.
At last, we are seeing the value of the key works in our community. How could we cope at the best of times without all those amazing people who are supporting us through this crisis. The NHS, as usual, have pulled out all the stops, often isolating themselves from their families for the good of the many. Then there are the refuse collectors, postmen and women, carers, delivery drivers, farmers, police and other emergency services, and those working in shops who are putting their lives at risk every day to provide us with essential services. It really is time to value each and every one of them, who are some of which are the lowest-paid workers in our community.
I’m sure there are many relationships that have been under pressure, either because of being forced to spend more time together, or conversely because they can’t be together at this time.
For many couples it may have drawn you closer together. With more time for each other and for the relationship. It’s a good time to open up better communication, leading to honest conversations, which in turn make for a stronger, deeper relationship. We can all get into bad habits and find that when we are busy the conversations are pretty banal and centred around whether the bin has been put out or what’s for dinner.
Sadly for some it may have highlighted cracks already within the relationship, and this situation has made them too obvious to ignore any more. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing as painful as it can seem at the time. Not every relationship is meant to last, and as painful as it can be, perhaps it’s time to let each other free to have a happier life.
This crisis has created headspace to think about what and who is important in my life. Long ago I realised that material things had little meaning to me. It was at the time of a very acrimonious divorce. I had to destroy personal treasures and auction or give away many of my belonging because I had no place for them in my new home. Perhaps you too have realised that material belongings don’t matter as much as they did. Or maybe there are some possessions that have greater meaning.
I am quite happy in my own company, but I do miss regular human connection. I have made an extra effort to call friends and family, rather than texting them. Maybe you are a party person and have missed social gatherings more than you realise. Whilst we may not be able to see those social gatherings right now, person to person. How about meeting a group of friends online?
Perhaps in the future, it will be a way to keep in closer, more regular contact with friends who live far away.
Thinking out of the box
One of the things I have noticed so much more is thinking out of the box. When faced with a problem, I always want to find a way around it. For example, I wanted to bake some bread, despite being able to purchase flour, yeast was nowhere to be found, on or off-line. I discovered I could easily make pizza bases without yeast. I also found out you can make your own yeast with just flour and water!
These are certainly tough times, but we will come out the other end. It’s the way we in which we do it that makes the difference.
What do you want your life to look like in the future?