What to Learn in a Pandemic

     Pandemics are tough to experience. They are able to affect millions of individuals physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually. Recently, most of the world has been undergoing the COVID-19 pandemic-also known as the Coronavirus. This virus is a more strenuous strain of the flu that attacks respiratory systems of the body, especially those who are elderly and/or who have compromised immune systems.

     Yet, despite the fears, confusions, and hopelessness this pandemic has brought, lessons are still able to be learned from it; hope is able to be cultivated from even the ugliest circumstances. Some lessons I personally learned are: the importance of being hygienic; discernment of real and fake news; being intentional in learning about the affairs of the world; the emphasis of continual self-reflection; and intentional appreciation and communication toward loved ones.

      The first lesson is about hygiene. We all are able to do better with hygiene, for others and ourselves. I’m twenty-five, and I’d still see people my age not wash their hands after using the bathroom; that’s gross. When we don’t take care of ourselves, we’re able to negatively affect those around us by getting them sick. We are also able to get others sick if we’re sick and we’re going out in public instead of staying at home to rest and recover. Therefore, this pandemic is able to teach us the importance of being hygienic by washing your hands frequently, covering your mouth with your arm or elbow when you cough, and staying at home when you’re not feeling well.

     Secondly, we are able to learn to discern which is real or fake news. Too many people are posting fake articles about this virus, which gives readers either misleading information, more fear, or false hope. Basically, fake news creates more harm, confusion, and hopelessness. Therefore, we need to be careful what articles we read, as well as be careful with what news we watch on television. Go to your state or country’s government websites for updates on what’s happening within each state or country. Diagnose whether or not certain headlines are accurate or misleading. We are all able to work together if we’re well-informed on what’s happening.

    Thirdly, we-including myself-need to become more aware of what’s happening around the world. A lot of countries are in deep disparity and poverty, with extremely corrupt governments. We need to have sound information and compassion for those around us in order to better understand how pandemics such as the COVID-19 are able to spread throughout the world, and how they are able to be stopped in their tracks. We also are able to learn from one another in how each country handled the virus.

    The fourth lesson we are able to acquire is the emphasis of self-reflection. Many of us are unable to go out much due to state lockdowns, lack of employment, and not wanting to potentially pass the virus to others. I know for me personally, I hated being stuck in the house in the beginning of this pandemic. I felt completely trapped and suffocated, and felt unfulfilled in not being able to work and be more social. However, through God and the encouragement of friends via phone or video chat, I’ve been able to self-reflect on myself; I’ve been able to have introspection on how I’m able to use this time wisely, and how I’m still able to be productive and fulfilled. This pandemic is able to be a time to catch up on tasks, spend time with loved ones, and grow as a person for the better.

    Finally, I believe this pandemic is able to teach us to be more appreciative of those around us. Socializing in person has been cut drastically due to this whole pandemic. I know this has created a lot of loneliness for me in the beginning-as I’m sure it has for others. Yet, I was still able to find ways to communicate through the use of video chat, phone calls, and texting. This time period has truly increased my appreciation and love for my friends; and I will be extremely excited and grateful to see them all in person once this whole thing is over. 

   My advice and encouragement is to reach out to the ones you love. Maybe you owe someone an apology. Maybe you lost touch with someone. Life is insanely short-and this pandemic has reminded us all of our mortality. Therefore, we need to be more intentional in how we use our time and energy toward others and ourselves. We need to grow in self-care, compassion, understanding, appreciation, and love. 

   This pandemic may be our temporary “normal,” but the lessons we are able to learn from it are able to be permanent.

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