I don’t think many of us expected a year of Covid-19. When the schools closed, and we were asked to stay at home I thought it would be for a few months. I certainly didn’t expect to be in a similar place 1 year on.
Although we’ve all been experiencing a pandemic, none of us have had the same experience. There has been a death toll higher than anyone dreamed, each death having an impact on family, friends and carers. There has been loneliness from not being able to physically meet people. Stress from working in new ways and learning more about your children’s school work than you perhaps wanted. Yet, change brings opportunities. I’m sure there are positives in the last year, even if they feel buried deep below other emotions at the moment.
My year started on 21st March, the day after the schools closed. I don’t know where the thought came from, but I decided to share at least one positive thing each day until life was back to normal. Maybe it was about recording our daughter finishing primary school. Maybe it is because I’m naturally a memory keeper and knew (hoped) we wouldn’t live through a time like this again. Maybe I knew I would need this positive outlook to help my mindset through my hardest times.
If I knew when I started that I’d be sharing daily pictures for a year I’m not sure I would have started. However, I have created a daily record that shows me how we adapted as a family, and how we appreciated the normal moments more than previously.
Here are some ideas to help you discover the positives you can take away from a year of Covid-19.
What new positives habits have you introduced?
With your normal routines and habits disrupted have you introduced new positives habits? Are you going out to exercise more often? Have you started a hobby? Are you learning something new?
I’ve been working on my morning routine. I thought it would be easy as I gained an hour from not commuting, but I’ve had mixed results. During the summer my routine was amazing, yet I let it go completely in winter. I now know it is possible to have a positive start to my day with exercise, meditation and reading. And I want that feeling again, so I’m persevering with new habits until I find the ones that stick.
I’ve been able to walk my son to breakfast club. It is a great time for conversation and litter picking.
What relationships have you developed?
You have probably completely changed the amount of the time you’re spending with different groups of people. How has this benefited your relationships? Do you appreciate some of your relationships more than previously?
I’m spending more time with my husband and children. And calmer time not rushing to get somewhere or doing chores. We’re watching film series together, we’re playing board games together and generally having more laughs together. I will always look back at this year as the time when we were able to spend quality time as a family.
I’ve deepened friendships by connecting each week to play Codenames over Zoom. It brought a break from normality, laughs and a chance to just chat.
What challenges have you dealt with?
This is a big one. You may have had lots of challenges, and you may still be dealing with challenges. It is important to recognise each challenge as a success where you have learnt and developed. Perhaps they were work related as you and your colleagues worked in new ways. Or perhaps they were connected to spending more time with your family or housemates, or even how you dealt with a toilet paper shortage.
One of my biggest challenges was converting an on site event we’ve run many times to a digital event; with two weeks notice and no experience of online events. At times, it felt like I was leading my team into a dark tunnel with no idea if it was the correct tunnel. But with team work, trust, energy and dedication we got there. And now I find it amazing that we’ve only been doing online events for a year.
Have you created new traditions?
As well as new habits, perhaps you’ve created new traditions? Do you now have pancakes on a Saturday morning? Or go out for a family walk on Friday afternoons?
We’ve introduced Trashy Fridays when we eat less health food such as pizza or chicken nuggets (kievs for the adults). We’ve also been making our way through film series. We started with Marvel Universe, then Star Wars and have continued finding more we want to share with the children, often cuddled up on the sofa.
What have you learnt about yourself?
Has slowing down and doing things differently led to any personal revelations?
I’ve learnt I enjoy being at home much more than I thought I did. I’ve also learnt I was living with a permanent level of stress, but because it was constant I wasn’t aware of it. There was the rushing to work, rushing home to pick the kids up, rushing to after school activities, cooking dinner and perhaps something for me before going to bed too late. I’m aware that I don’t want to return to that situation.
What are you grateful for?
There are so many people, things and events to be grateful for that this could be a long list. So think about the key things that have impacted you during the last year.
I’m grateful for all the people who’ve worked to keep my children happy as their normality was disrupted. This includes school, dance and music teachers and volunteers running Guides and Cubs over Zoom.
I’m grateful for the colleagues I work with, many of whom have worked front line or been supporting people working in Covid-19 situations. They’ve made me realise my job is not just about recruiting students. It is about the future of our society through healthcare, biosciences and living in health ways.
I hope these questions help you identify some positives from a year of Covid-19. If they have inspired you to record your experiences read my tips on how to create a pandemic journal or use my pandemics prompts to start your writing. And don’t forget to check your phone, you’ve probably got more pictures than you think; even normal pictures are not mundane in the last year.
Please continue to look after yourself and the people around you. And start looking for the positives. Why not share them using #socialdistancingpositivity to help inspire other people.