24 March 2020

Things I’ve learnt from COVID-19

The world is panicking. Stores are sold out of essential supplies, and even when they’re restocked, they’re limited to 1 per customer. Coronavirus (or COVID-19) is now considered a global pandemic, and every day there’s a new statistic of how many people died. So amongst all the COVID madness, you might be asking yourself “what does this mean for me?” And I’ve been asking myself the same thing.

The world can be pretty selfish
If you’ve recently been to a supermarket, you would’ve noticed empty shelves as panic buyers stocked up on basic food items, toilet paper, hand sanitiser and soap. And, now there’s a second wave of panic buyers who missed out on their first opportunity, but have ran out and are frantically buying. (There’s no need to do this). There are really no winners here. Shoppers who are elderly, disabled or live week-to-week are most disadvantaged, as they are not in a physical or financial position to ‘stock up’. They rely on the weekly availability of these items. Store workers are being physically and verbally abused over the lack of availability of these items, and the limits that are now in place (neither of which they have control over). And the companies aren’t winning either. Sure their items are flying off the shelves, but in a few weeks/months time, when the shopping chaos has settled down, the panic buyers won’t need these items (they’ve stocked up in preparation for the next disaster), and sales will return to normal, if not worse. 

I’ve taken my health for granted
Without health, we have nothing. I didn’t realise how much I’ve taken health for granted. Even if you’re doing all the right things (Eating well, moving daily, socialising and getting adequate rest), you are still susceptible to infection (or being a carrier, with no symptoms). None of us are protected. The best thing we can do is remain calm and follow the advice of the World Health Organisation. Let’s take this one day at a time.

Self-care is very important
Well, I didn’t learn this recently, but it’s becoming increasingly important to care for your mental health, as well. Especially in this time of panic and worry. Now that people are quarantined to their homes, I’m seeing so much more positive energy. The working mums who now have an extra half-hour to spend with their kids. The University students who can spend less time stressing about on-campus parking and more time at the beach. The office worker is enjoying the comfort of attending Skype meetings from the comfort of their living room. Each of you inspire me to spend more time doing things that make my heart sing. Since everyone is spending time at home, it’s increasingly obvious how simple acts of self-care can benefit an individual. Spend a day doing things that spark joy. 

This is so much bigger than me
A few weeks ago, I was in my own head. Overthinking about my job and my degree. Things that, in retrospect, aren’t a big deal. Not to say that these things aren’t important, but looking at the bigger picture, there’s so many more important issues. I want to spend my time showing up for things in my life that matter to me. I want to learn more about this virus, I want to know what I can do to help. I want to offer support to someone who needs it. If each of us can learn something from this, I hope that we come out as kinder people.

If you’re reading this, you’re going to be okay
Those who are in the privileged 2% of the population should take a moment to be grateful. Until now, I’ve never experienced social panic like this, and for that I feel so lucky. I’ve lived my life knowing that there’s always fresh food to eat and clean clothes to wear, so I’ve never known much of a struggle. Yes, the grocery stores are running low on some items, but we have access to a range of resources that the majority of us, haven’t yet utilised. Each of us have resourcefulness, kindness, respect, courtesy and common sense - each of which cost $0 to use. There’s a good chance that you will not starve, nor will you be dehydrated. Going without some food and household items will not kill you. If you are in desperate need of something, there will always be a neighbour, a friend or a colleague who can help. Be that neighbour, be that friend. Only take what you need and do what you can to help others - be part of the solution, not the problem. An ‘each-man-for-himself’ attitude will not prove useful during these times. We need to unite, and support one another, and together we will be okay.

Yours in all things sustainable, 

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