COVID-19 has changed all our lives. Although most of that change is uncomfortable and — being totally honest here — pretty miserable, some of the internal changes many of us are going through could better our lives.
Don’t believe me? Well, here are some fantastic points concerning how COVID-19 may teach us to manage our lives and stressors better and build true friendships. Take a look — maybe there is a small sliver of silver lining in the form of personal growth that we all might consider?
What work means when it values “resiliency”
In the past few months, the word “resiliency” has been used to describe an optimal way of being. As in, a resilient person can work through and overcome any hardship or trauma that comes their way.
Although resiliency is a crucial component to getting through life, institutions and workplaces’ obsession with hiring resilient people, all while expecting them to work through hardships with a smile on their face, is frustrating.
“Resilience can be an idea well-suited to an era of budget cuts and inequality, according to sociologist William Davies, author of The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Well-Being,” Teen Vogue reported.
“It is founded on an ideology that the political and economic world is never going to change, so people have to change themselves so as to cope with it better,” Davies told Teen Vogue. “Therefore people need to have certain character traits, so as to be capable of living in a world that ultimately won’t look after them.”
In the past few months, we’ve all witnessed quite a few societal changes that could mark the beginning of a new era — an era where people receive care, and institutions and the people who run them are held accountable.
Read the full Teen Vogue article for more on the concept of resiliency.
Know who your friends are
Finding good friends is never an easy task. And people are discovering that since meeting up in person is not an option for many friend groups anymore, the companions who are figuring out how to make it work are the ones who will help you make it through anything.
An insightful piece by Rachel Thompson on Mashable explains: “Lockdown, for me, has been replete with lessons about my interpersonal relationships.”
“Having the time to sit back and reflect on the friends who are present and engaged in my daily life has been life-affirming,” Thompson continued. “In the dark times of the pandemic, seeking out those who are willing to lend an ear, or who bring levity to difficult moments has made me realise which friends spark joy. Then, of course, there have been sad, difficult realisations about friendships that are no longer what they once were.”
When we have no other choice than to focus on our relationships and internal feelings, we’ll (may) inevitably discover what makes us truly happy.
Read more about Thompson’s insights and her interviews with others about friendship here.
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Learning to sleep well during the pandemic (and well after)
Teen Vogue recently published an article about #pandemicdreams and how many people’s nightmares are worse than ever. Even more frustratingly, these nighttime issues often turn into daytime anxieties.
Meir Kryger, MD, FRCPC, a sleep expert at the Yale School of Medicine, told Teen Vogue that “since COVID-19, many of his patients report that they’re experiencing more bad dreams than usual or are experiencing them for the very first time.”
“My personal belief is that it’s related to an underlying anxiety about sheltering in place, being worried about your family and friends,” Kryger told to Teen Vogue. “And what happens when you’re worried about something or you’re stressed or anxious, your sleep becomes unstable.”
Kryger gives tips on how people can improve their overall sleep quality right now (get enough sleep, avoid caffeine and excessive screen time, create a routine). However, his advice also will prove useful for all of us after the pandemic passes. Because if we can teach ourselves how to rest and relax during a pandemic, we can do anything.
What this means for you
The pandemic isn’t going away anytime soon. And although we’re all hurting right now, we can use this difficult time to check-in and discover what matters to us and learn how to better care for ourselves, and those we love.
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Abbie Stutzer is a queer, non-binary writer living in Kansas City, MO. You can find them doing witchy stuff at home with their numerous pets or at the local animal shelter saving lives. Contact Stutzer via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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