We are starting a new normal. Let’s admit it, some of the effects of the pandemic are here to stay, and things are not going to ever be one hundred percent the same as they were before. So why not leverage that change and become a better version of ourselves with habits that improve our mindset, enhance out mental and emotional health, and better our lives.
There are many reasons why we can expect long-term change from the pandemic. These include:
- People became accustomed to working from home.
- We lost a sense of security.
- We are not sure about the economy.
- Alcohol consumption increased during the lock-down.
- Domestic abuse and depression increased during the lock-down.
- We had to slow down enough to meet ourselves.
Humans are adaptable, and we have the ability to choose how our experiences will shape us. Through the Personal Growth Journey found in the Steps for Growth and Healing, you can change your mindset and create positive change habits. Let’s explore how this can be useful for each of these pandemic effects.
People became accustomed to working from home
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Less time commuting means we can spend more time being productive and more quality time with our families and other interests.
However, there are challenges. While we have reduced work stresses, we have traded them for home stresses as we have less social time and more close-quarters family time. We can end up multitasking as family members make use of our constant availability. Also, a lot of people have gotten into a habit of less personal care. If you aren’t going to see anyone in person, why worry about hygiene and nice clothes?
It has also led to a bit of a migration as people realize they need a bigger home with office space, that they don’t need to be inside the city anymore, that they can live in suburbs and less populated areas. This is a great opportunity for families to have those amazing experiences of playing catch in the yard, evenings on the front porch, and eventually we’ll get back to those neighborhood barbecues. But knowing that your office is just in the other room makes it difficult for some people to unplug or differentiate between work time and home time.
These tips can help you through this new way of being:
- Have a set block of work time that no one can interrupt. It doesn’t have to be your entire work day, just part of your day that you can be focused and productive. Let non-work-related calls go to voicemail, and set the message to let people know that you cannot be reached during that time period.
- Have a set block of family time that work cannot intrude on. Be fully present during that time.
- Dress up for at least one event a week. It could be church, date night, a family outing. Even if it is an order-in dinner with your spouse, you need that pick-me-up that we get from making an effort on our appearance.
- Go through the Steps to Growth and Healing which will give you habits to keep yourself in a positive frame of mind which will help you be a positive influence at home and at work.
We lost a sense of security
The world has always been an uncertain place, but there are certain things we feel confident about in our day-to-day lives. Big events can change that. September 11th, 2001, was an example of this, and it dropped the level of trust people had and transformed the way we travel.
In a similar way, the pandemic changed everything more quickly than we were used to, almost overnight. As a society we were suddenly aware that grocery stores can be emptied, jobs can terminate, friends can end up in the hospital or die. We can expect that, like the travel restrictions that still exist from 9/11, some of our new ways of doing things will last for a long time.
Young adults who lost out on many of society’s usual coming-of-age experiences have had their outlook shaped by the experience. In Europe, studies show that 65% of young adults are at risk of depression. Massimiliano Mascherini, the head of social policy at the EU’s foundation for living and working, told the Guardian: “The risk for the future is that we have a group who have spent almost a year and a half of their early life in a total blackout, gaining no experience or human capital. . . In previous recessions, those who suffered most, in terms of the labour market, bore the scars in later employability. They never caught up” (June 2021, “A Sacrificed Generation”).
We don’t like that feeling of lost security, but it can push us into a state open to new viewpoints. We can see that change is possible in the world, which opens up the prospect of positive change. The first step is to improve ourselves. We can make the conscious choice to have a growth mindset (The Steps to Growth and Healing).
We are not sure about the economy
While we have inflation from an unusual amount of printed money driving up prices, we also have stimulus checks giving us a little extra spending money. Digital money is suddenly not just a computer geek thing but real financial currency. The rising demand for family homes (again, people who are working at home are moving) is coupled with a spike in the price of building materials and a scarcity of certain building products.
Many commercial businesses have shut down and online business has increased. People are experimenting with new ways of making money.
All of these factors make it very difficult to predict where the economy is headed and what our best plan of action might be.
It is easy to become apprehensive, but change can be a very positive catalyst for advancement. As you go through the Personal Growth Journey on this site, you will realize that a positive mindset is more important than our experiences. We can turn apprehension to anticipation that we get to see the world work in ways it has never done before in the history of mankind.
Alcohol consumption increased during the lock-down
I think we can all understand why alcohol consumption and probably use of other substances increased during the pandemic. When we are facing uncertainty and anxiety, sometimes we just want to numb everything. Addiction does not mean we are a bad person, but in the long term, there are adverse side effects on our relationships and our emotional and physical health. So while there might be good excuses for the behavior to have started, it is critical to gain control of our habits so we are not harming others.
I have worked in the 12 step program, and before the pandemic we had a saying as group leaders and facilitators that addiction never takes a holiday. So if the weekly meeting was on Tuesday night and that happened to be Christmas Eve, someone was there to hold a meeting on Christmas Eve. There pretty much was no excuse to cancel. And then suddenly we were told we could not hold meetings at all. The concern for our members was strong.
Meetings are up and going again in many places, and quite a few now have the option for attending in-person or to join by Zoom.
I highly encourage you to get involved in one if you are alcoholic or addict, and if you are a family member, get involved in the Spouse and Family meetings.
12 Step Meetings will give you the numbers to call to find a local meeting.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints : Recovery is a religious 12 step program, this page will help you locate the closest meetings by in-person or call-in
Professional help is super important, and I really don’t want you to skip it. The Steps to Growth and Healing are an additional way to take control of your life, but only in conjunction with the proper recovery meetings and/or therapy.
Domestic abuse and depression increased during the lock-down
More economic stress, more time in close quarters, and fewer social interactions caused these emotional health problems to climb. The effects of these things don’t go away just because the world is opening back up. In fact, returning to social situations is creating new anxiety for some.
Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to get help. You have a right to be happy. Domestic violence from someone else is not something you can solve by yourself. But you can put yourself in a higher mental state so that you don’t feel like you deserve to be the victim of abuse. Depression is something I am familiar with in my life, and you would be surprised by how many people you know also suffer silently from various levels of it. You can be proactive and get help. Many therapists are serving their clients over Zoom, which can be really helpful when you may not feel like getting out and about.
In addition to professional help, The Steps to Growth and Healing will help you create a new mindset and habits that will help you take as much personal control of these problems as you can. Depression was my main motivation for creating the steps in the first place and I share them because of the change they made for me.
We had to slow down enough to meet ourselves
What do I mean by that?
From the time we are small, life is run, run, run. School, ball games, recitals, meetings, work, social groups, movie theaters, restaurants, and on and on.
And then it all paused. We were left alone with the voice in our heads, the brain voice that just endlessly repeats things it has been programmed to say. We were left with our emotions that are a by-product of the energy and programming around us. Some of us met ourselves for the first time. We were total strangers to that soul we really are beneath all the voices and feelings. We had to question if we even like ourselves!
One thing we all realized is there is room for more self-love. Once you have practiced all of The Steps and come to a place of self-love, you can be a force of light in other people’s lives.
The pandemic brought some negative things into our lives, but we have the ability to be the captains of our own ships, the CEOs of our own souls, and turn our negatives into positives. And whether or not the effects are lasting, we can create permanent change. The best way to transform the planet in a positive direction is for each person to reach their highest potential and bringing that uplifted energy into the lives of others.