Hello, my lovely readers!
I hope you are having a fantastic day! 2021 is coming to an end, can you believe it? It has been quite the year for me, full of ups and downs, but all learning experiences. I am so excited to see what 2022 is going to bring, and I hope you are too! Since today is New Year's Eve, I thought I would share what I've learned during the last two years of being in a pandemic.
#1: How to find happiness in an unfavorable situation.
Foggy glasses from wearing masks in public, social distancing regulations preventing outings with friends and family, and having video appointments instead of in-person visits were just some of the inconveniences that a lot of us had to deal with during this pandemic. For my family, 2020 to early 2021 was probably the worst years we’ve experienced. My husband had just been injured in the military right before the pandemic started, so we were already going through a difficult time trying to get him healed. I wasn’t working then because I was focused on getting through graduate school, so we started to struggle financially. The kids were having a hard time adjusting to doing school work from home, so they were very frustrated. To add more stress, my health started failing. I had two incidents of my lung collapsing, a week apart from each other. My weight dropped to 108 pounds and I was battling anxiety with depression. I seriously hated life in general at that point. I told my husband that I won’t be happy until we are out of our current situation—when our financial situation improved, when our health improved, and when this pandemic was over.
It took some time, but I started to appreciate my life more in the second year of the pandemic, even though it still wasn’t the ideal situation I wanted to be in. I was tired of waking up and going to sleep miserable, so I changed my mindset about our situation—I tried to make the best out of it all. I came up with ways to have fun as a family while staying at home. I learned new skills that benefit me as a business owner. I focused on improving my health, and now I weigh 147 pounds when I was just 108 earlier this year. I learned to find happiness even in an undesirable situation, and because of that, I’m not miserable and pessimistic as I once was—that mindset change really made the difference for me and my family. If you are in a similar situation, think about the good things in your life instead of focusing on the bad. Life is too short to be bitter and miserable, find ways to enjoy it while you can. There’s usually always some good to be found in every situation, you just have to train your mind to see it.
#2: I should help someone if I can.
The pandemic brought on stress for many of us. Jobs and homes were lost, and even loved ones passed away due to COVID. It's been tough on everyone. I think even the smallest act of kindness can make someone's day a little brighter during this time. Even though my life situation wasn’t the most stable, I still tried to help others as much as I could; and others helped me. It felt so good to know that some people cared enough to be there for me, and I felt good being there for them. So I want to pass this on to you: if you can afford to help improve someone’s day, do it—of course, while keeping yourself safe. You never know how much of a positive impact you can have on someone who really needs it right now.
#3: What doesn’t kill you can really make you stronger.
As I mentioned, things were really challenging for me these last two years, but those hardships helped develop my character and made me a stronger person. It also has made me appreciate all of the hard work that I’ve done in grad school and towards my business. You may be surprised to know that there are actually benefits in going through hardships, like resiliency. According to research, past struggles can help you become resilient in many ways, including building self-efficacy; which is your confidence in your ability to overcome challenges. So if you’re going through something difficult right now, think of it as a learning opportunity; a chance to grow stronger.
#4: I should always be grateful.
When I look back over these past two years, I realize that life for me and my family could have been so much worse. Though we suffered a lot, we managed to not be hospitalized due to COVID, and we were fortunate to not lose any loved ones— those are two things to be very thankful for. I’m also grateful for the healthcare workers who put their lives at risk every day just to be there for others. During my stay in the hospital for lung collapses, I had some of the best nurses. I watched them show up every day I was there, ready to care for their patients—not once did they complain. If you are a healthcare worker who worked or is working during the pandemic, I thank you for your bravery and commitment; you are still appreciated.
There is plenty of research on how expressing gratitude can positively affect us. It can help improve our physical and psychological health, strengthen our mental health, and even help us to sleep better. When we focus on the good things that we have, it can give us a positive outlook on our lives. If you need help with becoming more grateful, try starting a gratitude journal and write in it daily—look over it when you're feeling down. You can find more tips for living a life of gratitude here.
So those are four things that I’ve learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. What are some of the things that you’ve learned in the last year or two? Do you feel like you’ve grown stronger as a person through all of this? Comment your answers below! I hope you all have a wonderful New Year’s Eve/Day. Stay safe!