What The Pandemic May Have Taught Us So Far
Much of the world is in lockdown and we are living in strange and worrying times. Who would have guessed a year ago that we would be confined to our homes for our safety? Just goes to show how life is ephemeral but also is not to be taken for granted. This period of isolation and slowing down from our perpetual fast paced routine can also be considered a blessing in disguise. That’s because it gives us a chance to truly reflect and reassess ourselves. We can pause to think about how we consume, what we consume, how we are treating one another, what deeply matters to us and most of all why we needed to give our Planet a break. Yes, Mother Earth requires some rest. We have been going on as though economic growth was the holy grail; nothing standing in the way of more and more profit. But what value does monetary wealth have when our natural resources are ravaged and (eventually) depleted? You know the saying, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you?”
If there is anything to be learned from this pandemic, it may be that we need to change our old habits and ways. We will have had time to reflect on what the consequences of the pandemic means on a personal level and how we can be better citizens of humanity. Many of you may have promised yourselves to do things differently. Kind of like making a set of New Year’s resolutions (post pandemic resolutions, shall we call it?). Well, we came up with a list of things – or better yet, some reminders – that we feel are even more essential now as we face challenging unprecedented times….
1- Make Kindness and Gratitude our New Currency
Seeing the world sink into chaos means that we simply need to step up and be better human beings. Hey, let’s spread more kindness! And not just towards our family and friends (our close knit circle), but also to our neighbors, random strangers and anyone we come across who may be suffering and could use some help. Already we have been hearing about so many altruistic acts around the world, from quarantined residents serenading to one another on balconies, people delivering food and assistance to the elderly, to businesses shifting their production practices to make masks and other urgent medical supplies. We are also witnessing extraordinary acts of kindness in our own communities! Let’s also keep extending our gratitude to the real heroes of this on-going crisis: the doctors and nurses working around the clock to save lives. We are eternally indebted to them. Not to mention the people supplying us with food and other essentials goods and services. Thank you thank you thank you! Gratitude and kindness is contagious and let’s not break the chain!
2- Share Your Feelings and Forgive
During this pandemic losing friends and loved ones to the COVID-19 virus may be a stark reality for people. Even more heartbreaking is not being able to say a proper goodbye to the ones we lose. Let this be a life lesson to never hold back our feelings; when we are with those dear to us, we should tell them that we love them and miss them way more often! Let’s also extend words of compassion to others as much as we can. Caring words can make a huge difference to someone who is having a really bad day or is going through a depression. Don’t hold grudges and tell people how you feel if they hurt your feelings. Don’t be afraid to say “I’m sorry” if you know you are in the wrong. Forgive others who may have hurt you; they either did not know better or were suffering themselves. Being compassionate goes a long way!
3- Shop Mindfully
Panic buying, escalating prices and empty store shelves has become some of the hallmarks of this pandemic. As well as job losses and closing down of countless businesses. In fact, the shopping experience may even change indelibly in the future, as retail outlets close (go out of business), and supply chains freeze due to the lockdown. At present, some of us may not be able to get groceries as often as before, and we are using everything in our pantry to get by. We may also not be making much luxury purchases on ourselves, other than the real essentials.
These measures we may be taking can encourage us to keep being careful and mindful consumers at all times (even should retail bounce back in the future). Sure, it may be hard to change our old habits. After all, we got used to so much choice and continuous seasonal collections enticing us to upgrade our things – even when they are still in great condition. Well, going forward – when we are in the post pandemic era, shall we call it – let’s be mindful consumers. Let’s think wisely before we buy and not make purchases to fulfill an emotional or shallow need (like boredom, sadness, to flaunt our social status etc.,) and make sure it fulfills a genuine need.
We also want to make sure our purchase was ethically sourced, so there were no children or adults being exploited in the supply chain. Furthermore, let’s make sure the item we are buying is not a resource that is being depleted in another part of the world (i.e. palm oil is considered a major driver of deforestation of some of the world’s most diverse forests). Remember we are all interconnected, so damage in one part of the world affects us – whether in the short or long term.
4- Quality Time – Break from Life
One of the hardest tasks during this pandemic is staying at home for an extended period of time. On the bright side, isolation will have given us time to reflect, look inwards, maybe meditate, pray, or simply learn to enjoy our own company. Essentially it is a ‘break’ from the fast-paced life we were living in (until recently at least). For many, work deadlines are extended (or gone all together), events are cancelled, and there is no need to dress up and go to the office. Maybe we needed this down time to recharge our batteries and to just chill. For those with younger children, this could also be a chance to spend more quality time with them. It could also be the chance to read books on our bucket list. Maybe we can start writing – whether it’s a journal, some poetry or whatever we feel like expressing. We can even sketch or paint (take up a new craft) and do other creative things we finally have time for. Let’s make the most of this ‘unexpected break’ and evolve ourselves in other ways!
5- Respect Animals and Treat Them Ethically
For those who find being holed up at home extremely difficult, then perhaps they can understand what it’s like for animals from the wild to be put in a zoo or an aquarium. Imagine if we were in these poor animals’ shoes! Let’s treat all beings just like we would like to be treated ourselves. So, let’s make sure animals don’t live in captivity. For a start we can stop supporting any business that practices this. We can refrain from attending animal performances such as dolphin shows and circuses that feature animals.
Animals should be free to live in their natural habitats of which we must minimize their destruction. They must not be hunted for pleasure. Furthermore, if we consume meat and dairy, we need to consider how the animals are treated and if it still makes sense for us to consume them. Maybe, this is our chance to become vegan (for those who aren’t already) which is a healthier option, too! We should also refrain from buying animal fur and leather products. Collectively by changing our habits we can influence the demand for animal products and suppliers will no longer supply what is not in demand.
6- Consciously Reduce our Carbon Footprint
Many of us will have seen satellite imagery of the Earth showing drastic reduction of pollution since the start of the pandemic. Amazing, right? However, post-pandemic industrial habits (or emissions from the large scale polluters) remain to be seen. Regardless of what happens later, we can certainly do our share to reduce our carbon footprint. Don’t think that just one person or one household wont make a difference. We must think and act as though we are all together in this by taking every action possible within our means to reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere. There are many ways to do this and no doubt you probably are already following energy efficient practices. If you want to know more about things you can do in your own home, read more in this useful guide courtesy of Reader’s Digest https://www.rd.com/culture/how-to-reduce-carbon-footprint/.
7- We are all in this Together
In an unprecedented way (for our generation, at least) we are all facing this pandemic together. This means we can all relate to one another’s imminent fears, sadness, frustrations, feelings of relief and happiness. This also means we can all learn together from this experience and work together to make a better world. Yes, it all sounds idealistic you may think, but sometimes it takes a crisis to unite people. Let’s hope this experience also brings a profound shift in our mindset that will reshape our lives for the better.
We are truly facing exceptional and uncertain times and everyday things are developing while we wait in anticipation. Let’s keep a positive outlook and look after ourselves today, so we can rise up tomorrow to a better ‘awakened’ world! Remember, we will emerge from this stronger, wiser and as kinder human beings! Let’s harness this period of isolation so we can learn new lessons that can help us grow. As a last note, if you wish to share some of your experiences and any lessons during these extraordinary times, drop us a line or just leave a comment to share!
First Picture Credit: https://www.theearthingstore.com/blogs/articles/how-to-heal-the-earth