Once upon a time, there was life before quarantine: busy, full of activities and social meetups. Then COVID-19 arrived, and everything stopped. Suddenly we couldn’t hug, we couldn’t have our after-work drinks, we couldn’t go to the gym or to a fancy restaurant. Everything we thought was essential suddenly lost importance, and we started to miss the things that we had always taken for granted.
Personally, staying home was not easy. As a single young woman who normally lives such a busy life, suddenly being alone, locked in my 1-bedroom apartment, was a shock. However, I’ve learned so much during this time.
1 - Quality time
I’ve learned that we should always spend some quality time with ourselves, just checking in, the same way we do with the people we love. We need to pay attention to our feelings and emotions and let them out, both the negative and the positive ones. When we do that, we can put things in perspective, to enjoy at best happiness and fulfilment and to face fear and sadness, growing stronger.
2 - Social contact
I’ve learned that social contact is essential and that social isolation can truly damage our health. However, I’ve learned that we should learn to better identify healthy from unhealthy relationships and spend our time and energy accordingly. Eventually, we need to let go of toxic people and value people who have a positive impact on our lives.
3 - Time is valuable
I’ve learned that time is the most valuable thing we have, and we need to be more aware of how we spend it. We are so busy rushing from one thing to another that we are unable to live in the moment without thinking about our next commitment. I’ve learned that being present with all our mind and heart is the most valuable gift we can do to the people we are spending time with.
4 - It's OK
I’ve learned that it’s ok to switch everything off from time to time. I grew up repeating myself the mantra “The show must go on”. I’ve always pushed myself to “go on”, in the name of some sort of social duty that made me feel guilty if I stopped everything for a while. The quarantine taught me that only a few things are essential in this world and that everything CAN stop if we need to take a day off from our lives and spend 24h curled up in bed.
5 - Gratefulness
However, the most important thing I’ve learned is to be grateful for having a 1-bedroom apartment to spend my quarantine in, to have friends and family that I missed so much during the past few months, to have time to spend for the people and activities I love, to have the possibility to just switch off from time to time. Being grateful for what we have teaches us to learn to be happy while staying still, to not be jealous of people who have more, and to be compassionate towards people who have less and are struggling.
What has quarantine taught you?
With thanks - this post was written by Marta Luffarelli.