It’s been almost 5 weeks that I’ve been home with my kids, homeschooling them and sheltering in place, as mandated. None of us had any idea 2020 would bring such a drastic change to the way we live our lives, but not everything about COVID-19 has been bad. I actually think a lot of good things are going to come out of this difficult time. I’ve been contemplating a lot about my life before COVID and my life right now. I’ve had a lot of time (clearly) to reflect and here are the 7 things I’ve learned from COVID so far.
7 Things I’ve Learned From COVID So Far
1. This is Family Time I Will Cherish
Every time I get annoyed about homeschooling my kids, tired of trying to juggle my jobs and my new role as teacher and stay at home mom, I realize just how lucky I am. This time at home with my kids is something I know I will look back on in a few years and sincerely cherish. How lucky are we that we get this rare opportunity to be with our kids almost 24/7? I know it’s hard, I know it’s really tough to juggle working from home and also raising our kids. Or if you’re in a tough financial situation and possibly laid off during this time, I know the struggles of worrying about finances while also taking care of our kids is so much to handle. But at the end of the day, this family time is really special.
One of my daily highlights is doing a video call with my mom so that my kids can practice their reading with her. My dad even jumped in on the call yesterday. I honestly feel like COVID is bringing my kids closer to my parents, even through a computer screen. Those daily video calls, I can hear how both my kids and my parents cheer up. We need these family connections, and this time at home can be special, if we choose to focus on the good rather than the bad. And time with my kids is definitely so special.
2. Teachers Are Highly Undervalued
I cannot tell you how much I took for granted dropping my kids off at school every day. It’s ironic that me, the daughter of two retired teachers, and also a person with a Ph.D. in education, who regularly works with K-12 schools, would still realize how much I’ve undervalued teachers. If one thing should come from this experience, all of us should be more grateful and understanding toward teachers. They have a tough job!
Now that so many of us are playing the role of homeschooling our kids, its safe to say that teachers are saints and our kids are so lucky to have such caring and thoughtful adults in their lives. I truly hope this experience helps highlight the importance of teachers and also provide them with leverage to not only improve their wages but also provide them with additional opportunities for professional development around technology so they are better prepared to teach online, should another COVID situation happen in the future.
3. I’m Bad at Relaxing
I already knew this about myself, but COVID has brought it more to light. I’m really terrible at just relaxing. I have even less free time now than I did before COVID since I’m also now responsible for my kids a lot more of the time. But, when I do have free time, in the past, I’d run errands. I’d go to stores, I’d walk around the mall. I can’t do that now, so I’ve really had to focus on finding ways to relax at home. This has been another positive outcome of this experience. I’ve been forced to relax, find new ways of being that don’t involve constantly running errands or being outside of my home. I’m even starting to love being home.
4. Working From Home Can Be Challenging
Another thing I’ve learned from COVID recently is that working from home can be challenging when you don’t have other options to add to the mix. I’ve been working from home exclusively for the last year and a half. Prior to COVID, I was doing just fine. I had a rhythm down of when I’d work from home, when I’d work from a coffee shop, etc. I had my go-to spots to work to give me a change of scenery and shake up the work from home routine.
Honestly, I didn’t realize just how reliant I had become on these coffee shops. Nearly every day, I’d split my time 30/40/30 between two coffee shops and my home. This routine gave me lots of variety while also helping me to be more motivated. Certain type of work I do, I tend to be more disciplined at home while other work I do better when I’m around other people, like these coffee shops. Now that I have no choice but to work 100% at home, it’s honestly been a struggle at times to muster up the same level of motivation. I honestly miss the human interaction and also miss the daily caffeine fixes.
5. I Miss The Gym
If you would have told me 5 weeks ago that I’d miss my gym, I would have laughed at you. Prior to COVID, I actually didn’t like my much at all. I would reluctantly go to get the exercise I do need, but I was never very happy about it. I went out of obligation and health benefits, but always begrudgingly. If you told me today that I could go to the gym, I’d probably run, not walk, there. I miss the ability to do the types of workouts I want. I miss the access to all the fitness equipment. Although I have started to incorporate at-home workouts, it’s just not the same. I’m very much looking forward to getting back to my gym routine when this is all over. I even think I’m going to be a lot more motivated to go.
6. I Took A Lot of Things for Granted
I never in a million years knew how much I took for granted on a daily basis. Something as simple as access to toilet paper has been in question for a lot of us. There have been times I felt these waves of panic when I couldn’t find any fresh produce, when we nearly ran out of toilet paper. I honestly miss the carefree days of being able to go to my local grocery store without there being a line, without having to wear a mask, without having to make sure I’m standing 6 feet away from everyone.
I honestly miss the casual interactions that you have at places like the supermarket. There is a big part of me that is worried COVID will change the way people interact. But, I’m hopeful that eventually things will mostly go back to the way they were in relation to human interaction. However, I do hope that people always keep in the back of their minds just how privileged we are to be able to go to the store and pick up groceries. I think we all need to be more appreciative of what you do have, and not focus on what we don’t.
7. We Can Get By With Less of Everything
If there’s one thing I hope that everyone takes from this experience, it’s that we’ve been overdoing it in a lot of areas of our lives. I think a lot of us realize we’ve been working too hard, and we’ve learned from COVID that we need to relax, find more downtime, and prioritize our families more. I also hope that people realize we can actually get by on a lot less driving, a lot less spending, and a lot less of things that are hurtful to our health, the environment, and society as a whole.
Personally, I have realized that I don’t need to run to the store every day to get something else. I’ve realized I can actually make do with a lot of what I already have. I actually think that a shift in consumer behavior could be really good for all of us. It could be especially good for the environment. I’m not sure if you’ve seen the articles, but there have already been some significant improvements in the environment. I think that’s a good sign to say that we absolutely can positively impact our planet by making small changes.
What have you learned from COVID so far?