There is no doubt that COVID-19 has already had a huge global impact. Entire cities have essentially shut down and the ways in which we connect with the people in our lives have completely shifted.
Eventually, we will see rates of infection dropping off and we will no longer be confined to isolation. But what lasting changes in our lives and ourselves will be present after this pandemic finally ceases to exist?
COVID-19 has stripped away many aspects of our daily lives. We may be used to a routine of going to work, going to school and socializing without giving much thought to how these basic activities relate to public health and safety.
It’s likely a lot of people who have lived through COVID-19 will encounter long-lasting changes in the way they perceive and interact with the world we live in.
Systems within our world will remain forever altered — with the impact on our national economies and a palpable fear of touchable surfaces within public spaces, businesses are being forced to ever-further adapt.
The COVID-19 pandemic shows us just how many of the aspects of our daily lives we may be accustomed to are privileges, like going out to shop or see a movie.
The facade of some of our perceived needs easily melts away once we can no longer leave our homes or partake in indulgences used to fill insecurities or quell boredom. This will hopefully instil a new sense of appreciation in people once we are able to live freely again.
Being confined to our homes may be both a curse and a blessing as we may have more time to spend with loved ones — either at home or at a distance — and more freedom to focus on our own mental and physical needs.
The culture we live in is obsessed with productivity which can act as fuel for workaholism, anxiety and burnout.
During this time, the world should adapt an alternate perspective and see how this culture detracts from our lives, taking focus away from the things that truly enrich our lives like spending time with loved ones.
Hopefully, this will turn out to be a time of contemplation for a lot of us. A situation such as this global pandemic is a profound reality check and it reminds us of the things that are most fundamentally important: our health, friends, family and safety.
The only silver lining of COVID-19 may be that there is something positive to take away from the experience: to see a communal priority shift toward being more grounded and appreciative of the simple and important aspects of life, even though it will absolutely take time for people to mentally recover from and process this experience.
This experience may also aid people in becoming more mindful and aware of their privilege. It is important to appreciate what we have and recognize that many people are not dealt a fortunate hand. The more we become aware of this, the more we can inspire change and action toward helping to support those who need it in our communities.
Though some will face great struggles during this time, the situation has brought the necessity of coming face to face with a lot of our fears. We have nowhere left to run, leading hopefully to insight amongst the chaos.
There are reasons for concern regarding how the anxiety of these times will linger on into the future. There already exists a saddening amount of paranoia and xenophobia in our world. But with the aim to educate and look out for each other, there is hope to clear up misjudgments and misunderstandings.
We will likely see people throwing sharp glances at strangers coughing or sneezing in public areas for a while into the near future. It will take time for the communal wounds of COVID-19 to fade.
The more optimistic and realistic we are as we look to the future, the greater chance we have at making it out of this situation with insights overpowering ill feelings.