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Three unexpected lessons from living through a pandemic.


The other night as we were cleaning the kitchen (this becomes important later) I told my husband I had realized a lot about myself during this pandemic. It was likely the best thing that has come out of this increasingly difficult situation.

Living through a pandemic has brought realizations I was not expecting at all. Not that I really went into this with any expectations. I just didn’t realize how much I’d learn just staying home for months on end. 

Here are the three biggest things I’ve learned from isolation and this pandemic.

1. Little things matter.

Being only at home for 2 months has changed how I live in my house. In the past, I would put off chores or small to-dos until they piled up into an entire day’s worth of housework. Then I’d have to use one of my precious days off to get my house back into working order. *insert facepalm here*

But since the pandemic started I’ve realized how small choices deeply impact my daily happiness and amount of time for rest. Sidenote: You are probably already doing all of this and are SO much better at adulting than I am. However, maybe you’re like me and have always been in a rush and didn’t realize how those small things could make such a difference. This list is for you and me, babe!

Examples of those small choices:

A. In the morning when I get dressed I fold up my pajamas and put them on my side table ready for wearing that night. And on the flip side, when I get into my PJs at night I neatly fold up my jeans and rehang any sweatshirts or other items that don’t need to be washed as well as tossing dirty clothes into the hamper. My bedroom is less cluttered and I always sleep better in a clean space.

B. I wash the dishes ALL DAY LONG. Which sounds upsetting, but isn’t. I do my best to wash dishes as we use them (no dishwasher in our older & tiny house) and commit to cleaning the kitchen fully each day - wiping countertops and putting clean dishes away.

C. I open packages immediately, put away the items, and recycle the packaging. I used to let packages pile up and then we’d trip over them and have a whole slew of things to unpack and put away. It’s lovely to be able to walk in my house without worrying about running into things, especially when my nose is in a book or my phone!

Sidenote: My husband is THRILLED about this particular lesson learned. He's always been so good at doing the small things that matter and is grateful I'm finally seeing life through his lens.

2. Money is my friend.

In the past, money has always been something I’ve had a contentious relationship with. I won’t delve too deep, but in the last few years, I have worked very hard to change my money mindset and my relationship with money. This time has truly changed how money and I interact.

Since this pandemic began I have been thinking a lot more about how I spend and save money. I haven’t made any huge changes but, in general, I just make decisions more slowly. I could have easily turned to shopping to help ease the discomfort of this time and, while I am still supporting small businesses, I find that I realize more easily how much I don’t need or sometimes even want things.

I think part of this is also me actively believing in abundance as we move through a time that feels full of scarcity. Yes, I am putting more money into savings. I am also purchasing from and supporting small businesses that I believe in who sell things I love.

3. Wherever you go there you are. 

Being at home for months has made it clear to me that I have very specific coping mechanisms for dealing with stress and anxiety and not all of them are healthy. Spending copious amounts of time staring at a screen (iPad, iPhone, TV) really only aids me in running from feelings I don’t want to experience. 

Turns out living through a pandemic is terrifying, overwhelming, and enlightening. Nothing can prepare you for the onslaught of concerns you’ll face daily or, on the other side, the community you’ll find online and over Facetime/Zoom/etc.

In the last few weeks, I’ve been practicing what I preach: permission to feel whatever the *insert favorite curse word here* I feel. I am not in any way perfect at this. I still try to stuff down the harder feelings because I feel ridiculous crying while I wash the dishes (happened last week). Or laughing uncontrollably at something not very funny at all (happened the week before that). But, we all have to start somewhere.

There is truly no running from my feelings or my fears. Wherever I go, the bedroom or my office or eventually out into the world, there I am.

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Basically, this whole pandemic has finally turned me into a grownup or some semblance of one. I have never really felt like an adult despite the fact that I’m in my mid-thirties.

However, something about this situation has inspired me to get clear on what I want and how I want to feel and some of the choices I need to make for the life I want to live are grown-up decisions.

What are the unexpected lessons you’ve learned living through this pandemic? Let me know in the comments below. Maybe it'll be something we can all learn together!

I love you and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it,

Sara


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