Hello everyone! Today, I figured I would share a few lessons I learned during the quarantine that started last year.
I could have sworn I did a post like this one already but I searched my old posts and I really hadn’t! I’ve shared a lot of these here and there but I wanted to make one post of just the lessons I felt I learned during the past year.
The pandemic was definitely one of the hardest times of my life, as it was for everyone I’m sure. But I do tend to look for the silver lining in things and so I tried to make the best of it. I did look at it as a learning experience in many ways, and while I wouldn’t wish the pandemic on anyone, I do appreciate the lessons it’s taught me.
Oh! If you’re new here (newer than May 2020) you might be wondering, what’s BirthMay? Well, every year I blog every day in May because it is my birth month. I just figured it was something fun to do, and it has proven to be really enjoyable for me. This will be the fifth BirthMay on my blog! No matter how many BirthMays you’ve been through with me, thank you for being here this BirthMay and thank you for your support!
Lessons from Quarantine
Adapt and keep moving
I wasn’t sure what to really call this lesson. Other ideas included typical phrases such as go with the flow, everything happens for a reason, and so on. But I think that the overall lesson was about adaptability. It’s not always easy and sometimes you do need a good wallow about how everything is not going to plan. But adapting to any and all situations that come up is such a great skill to have and if we were able to adapt and change our lives for this, I think we can make it through anything.
Stop to reflect
I feel that before the pandemic I fell into the trap that many others my age did. We were focused on moving forward at all time and never really pausing to consider our lives. I think I did get a glimpse of the importance of reflection when I went to Mexico every year. I would always spend at least a few days of my two week vacation with little to no internet access. But I always considered it just a short break, and never actually looked at it as a time for reflection. In the past year I’ve really stopped to consider lessons from other times in my life, what I truly want to accomplish, and what’s really important to me. Going forward, I want to purposefully reflect on a regular basis.
The importance of saving
Being fiscally responsible is stressful but I think it’s more stressful to not be. I’ve really learned the importance of having a healthy savings account, and even started budgeting too! I’ve never been one to live outside my means so I wasn’t struggling financially at all prior to all this, but I still wasn’t thoughtful about my spending or saving. When I was furloughed from my job last year due to the pandemic, I really scaled back my spending. I was getting unemployment payments, but I knew that wouldn’t last forever and on top of that I didn’t know when I might find a job again. And even if I did find a job, what if that job paid less than my previous one? It all worked out in the end. Unemployment was continuously extended for me, thankfully, so I never really had to worry about not having some sort of income coming in. And then I found a job that actually pays more than my previous position!
Now, I want my focus to be on keeping this lesson fresh in my mind. Just because I’m making more, doesn’t mean I want to increase my spending. In fact, it’s the opposite! Eventually my expenses will increase, especially when I eventually move to Texas and have to pay a lot more on my own. But I’m still planning to continue to save a good chunk of my earnings for my financial goals.
Stepping towards minimalism
I’ve talked about this quite a bit since the start of my blog. I’ve always wanted to be more minimalistic but have always struggled with it. I realized that a big part of the problem was that I kept bringing stuff in. And actually, a lot of posts and videos about minimalism will say that the best place to start is to stop bringing in things. It doesn’t matter how much you declutter if you keep buying more things to replace them. And I am so grateful that I’ve learned that lesson.
When I went from working full time with a commute and after work activities to working full time without a commute or other activities to not working at all and no activities, my free time grew so much so fast! From the start of the quarantine though, I wanted to make it a point not to just lounge around all day watching tv shows or movies or playing video games like many others did. I wanted to stay productive in some way. That’s not to say that I didn’t do the other things too, I mean, I did read a ton of books and create a five star island on Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but I just made sure not to only do those things.
Some things I tried to do was write a novel for example. I wrote two novels this past winter! I also did things like gardening, baking, blogging, vlogging, and, of course, job hunting. I had so much going on and I’m glad that I tried to make the most of the time I was given.
This is a really big one for me. In fact, when I wrote out the list for this post, there were about five things just about self care that I combined into this one category!
First one, was reaching out to people. As you’ll probably remember, at the start of the pandemic it was all about “social distancing” which sent some people into a panic that people might misinterpret that as social isolation rather than physical distancing. I made it a point to keep in touch with friends on social media, through text, and zoom too. I think that overall, I could have done better but I have tried to check in with friends from time to time!
Next is cutting out the negativity. Contrary to the previous post, there were people who I didn’t want to stay in touch with because they were so negative. While sometimes I feel bad at cutting off those people, in the long run it’s been a huge relief and having that distance was so, so healthy.
Another item was taking care of my home. As I mentioned, I tried to stay productive and stuff that I did for that was to try to keep a tidy area. I’m horrible at staying tidy because I just have so much stuff everywhere (hence the need for minimalism). But in the quarantine I did bring in things like plants, so I could have more green into my space. I also took decluttering so seriously and did it multiple times in multiple areas of my home to create more space. I love taking care of my home and it’s so helpful for me to nurture my space.
The last item I think is taking care of my mental health. Again, it’s been a tough year! I think that being kind to myself has been so important, particularly when it came to the stressful job hunt. I won’t go too much into this one but staying positive and looking for those silver linings went a long way.
So that’s some of the many lessons I’ve learned over the past year! I actually started with a list of about 15 things but combined them into six categories. I do think that one of the most important things was to look for the silver lining in the past year, and I’m glad I was able to learn and grow even through such a difficult time.
Thanks for reading!
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