7 Lessons learned from the pandemic

Last week, in this article, we promised you a post on lessons from the quarantine and what the pandemic can teach us. Even if we didn’t desire it, the quarantine proved to be a time to reflect on some of the essential things in life. Nobody has the same quarantine experience, though, so feel free to share some of your lessons in the comment section at the end of this post. 

Family is everything

Our loved ones are close to our hearts every time, but when danger seems to be on the horizon, we’re even more connected. Even if we had to stay away from them for a while, we prayed all our dear ones would remain safe and healthy. Probably one of the hardest things during the COVID-19 lockdowns was to stay away from the people we love. Would you agree? 

Family members in the vulnerable category had to be protected. In times when staying away from people is the most loving thing to do, we realize how much we love our family. Their safety and wellbeing start to get new meanings. I can only imagine how hard it must have been for those of you who are grandparents, not to be able to hug your little grandsons. How can someone explain to a one-year-old for example, that those little people smiling, cheering, and waving on the computer screen are their loving grandparents? 

Honing our skills 

The lockdowns around the world made us all realize we’re pretty much in the same boat. So what did people do while staying at home? It was interesting to check out the stories on social media and see what people were up to. Hairstylists were doing online tutorials on the best hair products. Advice on how to braid your hair, how to use your curler to obtain the most attractive beach waves, etc. could be found everywhere on Instagram. It was also beautiful to see how the same hairstylists would hone new skills during this time. Fantastic gardening skills seemed to surface. Some started to design T-shirts and other apparel items with COVID-19 fun messages. Others got into sewing and knitting, drawing, and painting. And oh so many got back into the kitchen and got a new love for cooking. Which was the new skill you honed during the lockdown? 

Long hair, no barbershops open, and the impossibility of getting a haircut were among the very frustrating issues during the pandemic lockdown for men. I’m sure you’ve seen those funny memes everywhere with kids having their faces covered with long hair saying, “Mom, mom, we need a haircut!” To which the adult with long hair covering the face, replies, “I’m dad!” 🙂

Long hair for a woman can be a problem if it outgrows her desired hairstyle, but for a man having a couple of months worth of hair can be an uncomfortable struggle. I loved how some men started looking like the singers from the old ABBA group. So coming to the rescue, the skill I got to hone during the quarantine was hair cutting. I had the privilege to cut my sweet husband’s hair. He had many Zoom meetings for work daily, and he could not go get a professional haircut. So this wifey watched a couple of youtube videos on DIY haircuts and gave him a nice haircut. That is why I’m forever grateful to you, wonderful barbers and hairstylists for helping with practical resources, keeping us looking nice and sharp even during the lockdown. You’re the best!  

So if I gave myself a chance to learn how to cut hair during the pandemic, would you also give yourself a chance to try an appointment scheduling app instead of your old pen and paper appointment book? I understand you’re not a technologically savvy person, but trust me, that I’m not a hairstylist either. We both need to expand our limits to achieve better things and conquer more challenges. We’re learning, and we’re growing! Download Appointfix today and give yourself a chance to learn something that can improve your small business above and beyond your expectations. 

COVID-19 and money

People usually measure success in how much money they make. Materialism is a reality of many societies in today’s world. And also a danger. Having more and buying new things all the time, going shopping, spending money are things enjoyed as a reward for working hard. 

For small business owners, the lockdowns brought more free time, but also very limited or no income. As someone was describing it, small business owners see their businesses as either “feast or famine”. This pandemic brought a lot of insecurity for people closer to retirement as they were seeing their retirement funds going down. A doctor friend very close to retirement was looking at his shares. When realizing he lost at least 30%, he told us how he decided not to stress or worry over it. He was quoting the Bible saying how “God takes care of the birds and the lilies in the fields,” so he chooses joy and peace over worry and anxiety. 

The truth is that being alive while many were dying of coronavirus seemed to be the most important thing. Money and shopping moved much lower on the list. People learned to be wise about spending. Nobody needed 15 fancy dresses for Easter anymore. We all learned to be content with fewer things, as we were mostly starving for genuine human interaction and connection. Being financially wise is an important skill to learn and continue working on even after the pandemic. 

Love conquers it all

“Love, love, love… love is all you need!”. How true is that during a pandemic? Love that is tested in difficult times is the kind of love you truly need. Some dear people had their weddings scheduled for March, April, May, and June. Big weddings with lots of guests were scheduled. Weddings are amazing once-in-a-lifetime celebrations, which take months to plan. Sometimes they are planned even more than a year in advance. So much hard planning and work went into these scheduled Spring weddings. It started with choosing and sending the wedding invitations, choosing the color theme, the church, and the reception venue, the music, the menu, the flowers, the wedding dress, the shoes, the bridesmaids’ dresses, the wedding favors, etc. 

Planning a wedding is as exciting, fun, and beautiful, as it is stressful. Waiting for the most beautiful day while finishing all the last wedding preps seemed all that the happy couples had to do early this March. Then COVID-19 came uninvited. Some couples decided to cancel their weddings. Others chose to reschedule within a reasonable time frame. 

Others just went all in, following their plans as scheduled and sacrificing a lot in the process. They settled for a wedding with only eight people or even with two people only. The bride and the groom were willing to give up a big party with hundreds of guests. They sacrificed a lot as they renounced their most beautiful wedding daydreams, but they didn’t sacrifice their love. All for love! Congratulations to all the couples who moved on with their initial plans and tied the knot during the lockdowns. May your marriage be strong, and your beautiful, courageous love last for eternity! 

How to be social and genuinely connected while being apart 

It was hard to navigate this season, but oh so worth it! Being inside, no matter where you were in the world, whether in Arizona, Illinois, Texas, Germany, Canada, Romania, Israel, or Spain, etc. there was something we had in common. Something we could not have imagined at the beginning of this year. We are emotional beings, and we need to stay connected to each other. A virus cannot break all human interaction. We needed to socialize more than just online. 

It’s during times like this when you feel like having something in common with every person you see on the street. You don’t know them, but you feel like waving at them. How did you connect during the lockdown? Did you wave to all your neighbors or people walking their dog by your house? 

One of the most beautiful moments at the beginning of the lockdown was to have some friends walking by our place and calling us from outside. We went to the balcony. My husband brought his guitar, and we started singing together with our friends from outside and their little kiddos. We were connected by music and friendship while physically being apart and socially distancing. It was one of the most precious moments of the quarantine. We repeated when we passed by our friends’ house on our bikes. That time they played a song on their player from inside the house as they came to the windows to sing together. We were outside on our bikes. Precious moments like that with totally surprise visits just to encourage others during this time of loneliness, gave birth to a genuine connection despite all the fear and panic around.  

Less is more, even in the kitchen 

After the stay at home order was released in our state, we didn’t go to the store at all for a whole month. We had stocked up on food and groceries to last us enough to avoid store germs for a while. To avoid trips at the store, as many of you, I came up with several interesting recipes to the delight of my wonderful husband. Having a limited number of options makes you more creative, forces you to think out of the box. 

For a long time, it was believed that the woman’s place was in the kitchen. Women did everything possible to get away from that old and primitive mentality, proving they can excel in every conceivable business field, academics, services, science, inventions, etc. Women are incredible human beings who are extraordinarily resourceful and ambitious, highly capable of anything they put their minds to! So while excelling professionally and taking care of their families, many women had less time for cooking. Takeouts, fast food, canned food, or already made food bought at the supermarket were the options many women decided to get help from. 

As ambitious and creative women are, when realizing that many restaurants are closed and taking care of their families means fewer trips to the store, many women chose to return to the kitchen. They found a new joy in making delicious home-cooked food for their families. Many involved their kids too. Some started having cooking lessons with their little ones, teaching them how to peel a potato, how to make a salad, etc. Of course, they would do that after getting the little one’s interest with baking cookies. The pictures with kids making chocolate chip cookies and other sweet delights were flooding the internet. Some families would post daily pictures with their daily kitchen adventure. The results were some delicious desserts, and I couldn’t but wonder how many trays of cookies a family can eat in just a few days. 

Was cooking one of your new-found loves this COVID-19 season? If it was, tell us about some delicious recipes you’ve tried for the first time and turned out surprisingly good. You get bonus points if you invented a recipe, or made a dish with a limited number of ingredients, or substituting ingredients for what you had at home, and it still turned out fabulous for your family. 

When masks are mandatory

This whole new need for wearing face masks made me think about more profound things. When we look deep down in our hearts, though, we realize that humanity has been hiding behind masks, before the real masks were even mandatory. Some were wearing the “success” masks, others “always happy” masks no matter how hard their lives were, others were projecting beauty and wealth on their invisible masks. Nobody was vulnerable. Everyone was doing just great. All those masks were invisible with the naked eye. But the soul would perceive them. 

Then COVID-19 hit, and humanity dropped their invisible masks, trading them for some real masks. New fabric masks covered the old invisible masks. The new masks were for our protection. Their role is to protect us from people who might have COVID-19 but are asymptomatic. Thinking about it, those people are blessed with an incredible immune system, right? I mean if they have COVID-19 but it’s as if they didn’t have it at all. Coming back to the masks, though. I think their primary role was to act as shields against fear. 

It was hard to go to the store and watch all the masked people, with faces covered and fear in their eyes. It was also very humbling. Now, as real masks covered our unseen masks, we could see each other’s vulnerability. There are solidarity and empathy in this process. Somehow as we look around, we realize we have something in common. We all have masks. We all have something to cover. Fear. We’re trying to cover it. But let’s kick it out completely. 

As we see each other’s eyes on top of these light blue or colorfully designed masks, we know we are in this together. The masks are just trying to hide our smiles. Now the eyes have to transmit all the joy. Are your beautiful eyes and your lovely soul up for this joyful challenge? Let us know some of your life lessons from the pandemic in the comment section below. We’re all together in the learning process of this incredible, precious and exciting thing called LIFE!

 

Emilia is Content Marketing Director at Appointfix, an app helping professionals and small businesses easily schedule appointments and reduce client no-shows using automated text reminders. Feel free to drop her an email at emilia.pustan@appointfix.com.