It’s been a year since the lockdown was first imposed when the unknown and rather scary COVID-19 virus affected all our lives. It not only affected the way we lived and worked but impacted the way we behaved, thought and felt.
Doesn’t it all still seem so recent ?
While we continue to navigate the ongoing changes and challenges the pandemic poses, let’s pause and reflect at the year gone by. Let us create space for some of the lessons the pandemic taught us and some key takeaways.
A year since lockdown and we learnt that…
We are a lot more resilient that we give ourselves credit for
Looking back at the year since lockdown can bring up difficult feelings of loss, change, uncertainty frustration, fatigue and so much more. After all, we had to rapidly change and adapt to an ever evolving situation. Working not just from but with home became the norm. Virtual learning became the mode of transmitting knowledge and information. Health care services also started being offered online. Moreover, Zoom meet ups and Netflix parties became a way of socialising.
Did you ever think you would be able to adapt to such changes ?
And yet here we are, still adapting, trying our best to be flexible and creative in the face of ongoing uncertainty. Doesn’t it just go on to show that we are a lot more resilient that we give ourselves credit for ? That despite the many struggles, we do have an innate ability to navigate stressors as best as we can.
In many ways the pandemic seems to have redefined resilience or the ability to ‘bounce back’. The pandemic seems to have taught us that bouncing back does not need to be a huge jump or leap from where we are. It can be a small step in the present moment that simply helps us cope better. While we often undermine our capabilities, reflecting at the year gone by highlights the many small and big ways in which we have adapted individually and collectively.
We need to rest to be able to feel productive
The very first lockdown felt unique. It was new and created an unexpected break in our routines. But very soon we translated this break as a test of productivity. It suddenly became about reinventing ourselves. Little did we realise that the constant striving could also make us feel drained and tired. And so, the pandemic taught us that it is OK to rest.
Rest does not have to be a reward, one that we give ourselves only when we accomplish a certain number of tasks on our to do list. Rest is something that we all need to be able to survive and thrive. It is required for the nervous system to regulate itself, to maintain adequate levels of energy and to recover.
A key takeaway from the year gone by is that we don’t always have to strive to fill up our routines or fight boredom or be doing something. Instead, we can spend time with ourselves, engage in leisurely pursuits and rest knowing that it is important for us.
We can build acceptance for what we cannot control
One of the most challenging yet empowering lessons this pandemic taught us was that of acceptance. A year ago, we were confronted with having no choice but to accept that ‘this is what it is’ and that somethings were beyond our control.
While in some ways we could influence certain aspects of the situation, a large part of it was out of our hands. It could not be ‘fixed’ and that we continue to be in this waiting period as the pandemic continues to unfold. In many ways we did start accepting the changed life as our ‘new normal’.
Acceptance may not come easily, at the same time planting the seed for it does allow us to sail through tough times. So, while the pandemic does continue to impact our lives, recognising that we are doing what we can while the rest will continue to evolve may just help us feel more at peace !
Wishing that these reflections foster a sense of hope as we continue to ride through the highs and lows of the present moment !
This post has been contributed by Amrita Kajaria, counsellor and psychologist at Inner Space