10 learnings you’d wish you had mastered during the lockdown
As the pandemic established its presence country by country, outgrowing certain habits like thriving on constant chatter, binge eating at restaurants and splurging unnecessarily was inevitable. But what came as a surprise to me was the shift in perspective followed by an urge to walk that path just to learn about things that were probably ignored or invisible to me during the chaos.
Let me tell you, these 10 learnings that I am about to share caused me to really take a hard look at my life but keeping hope as my only armour I embraced these unfamiliar experiences.
Mental health is the most important and expensive asset one can possess
Isn’t it strange that while growing up especially in India, we are taught the importance of being wealthy while mental health was given the backseat and, in some families, it was not discussed at all? Peer pressure and the ever-evolving competition is responsible for this. Today as we find ourselves trapped in the claws of the virus; it is mainly our mental health giving us the courage to pass through the day. I believe that working on your mental health will always be a work in progress but you will experience the results when you achieve clarity in thoughts, an increase in productivity levels and an odd strength that pushes you towards better days. It has taken us a pandemic to realize that money is extremely essential, but it will never make its place before health.
Money has nothing to do when it comes to developing new skills
In the pre-covid world, I firmly believed that to develop a new skill and ace it, one needs to enroll themselves into a class and that would come at a cost. Not that these were excuses to run away from a concept called self-learning, I honestly felt strongly about it, until one day I came across a French lesson online and decided to give it a shot. Eventually I started enjoying the process because I was learning from experts all around the globe and I felt liberated because I was moving at my own pace at a time that is convenient for me. I received validation on my new discovery when colleagues and friends shared their self-learning experiences with me. Today I may not be a fluent French speaking fille but I am certainly in a better place from where I started off.
Do not push an opportunity or a desire for another time
“You never know what tomorrow holds so don’t leave today with things undone and words unsaid,” “such a cliché quote” is what most of us said back in the day but during this pause we feel the intensity of every word in this statement. I know of people who have turned down their desire to travel due to other commitments, while some like me have refused to exchange a tight warm hug with a friend because demonstrating emotions openly felt uncomfortable. Just like these there are infinite unfulfilled dreams, needs and actions that are just left to chance. Hereafter, let this pandemic stand as a reminder to accomplish our dreams, satisfy our cravings and cherish every kind gesture, so that even if there is no tomorrow, we will be content that we lived working towards it.
Do not over attach yourself to plans and timelines
With the dawn of every new year comes a ray of hope followed by a bucket list with attached timelines. This year was no different but 2020 had an offbeat plan for us. Beginning with the Australian bushfire, to the floods in Indonesia, to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, to the cyclone in Bengal and now the locust swarm, this stretch of bad events makes us wonder if this year could get any worse and slipping into despair is the most common consequence not only because we feel sympathetic towards the victims but also because the initial plan created with so much attachment has now been hindered. Fortunately for me, I realized to tame attachment at my previous job when my boss rejected my campaign plan that was built with so much dedication and a dozen of other emotions. Post the temporary furiousness, I came to terms with the reality and understood her reasons for doing so. She further explained that strength lies in the absence of rigidity and that stuck with me. Oprah Winfrey once said, “Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them, just find a new way to stand”. Isn’t this quote so relevant to our situation today?
Storms do not ring doorbells, so instead of clinging on to the destination, direct your energies towards the little triumphs that will get you there.
Do not let social media control you
Social media is a great place to be only if we consume it wisely rather than the other way round. For obvious reasons, a quarantine mind is very fragile, while the content out there is unpredictable. Sometimes it motivates you and many a times it drags you down. When the pandemic clouded our lives, we saw memes around ‘lockdown productivity contest’, if you participated in the same to showcase a talent and earn a virtual applause it is perfectly fine but question yourself if you uploaded those posts in a competitive spirit or simply to prove a point to someone. Social media was developed to benefit our lives and our business, but we humans have transformed the original purpose of this technology. If you find yourself in such a rut, consider a social media detox.
Set boundaries and say NO
In a work from home environment, intruding into personal space is a common phenomenon but that does not mean you succumb to it all the time. Drawing a healthy boundary and learning to say no is an underrated skill that we need to use without experiencing guilt. You are not being a rebel, your head is not high in the clouds, you do not mean to offend anyone, you are only honoring where you are at in life and committing to build a better version of yourself. If you genuinely feel you are stretching yourself to an unpleasant level, say no because at the end of the day you are not entitled to anything and anyone. This brings me to my next point i.e. Self-love.
If you notice carefully, the six learnings mentioned above has self-love at its core. But in addition to these, I would like to highlight the importance of building a self-love routine on your day off. An elaborate shower, cooking a fancy meal, switching on an uplifting movie, turning off the news and meditation are some of the things I indulge in. Your routine could be built based on your preference, howeverlet healing be the agenda.
Needless to mention the appreciation we all have for our frontline heroes. But the appreciation does not stop there, in fact our current situation has cultivated a feeling of gratitude for all the little things because there is always someone out there having so much less than what we have. For example, the migrant workers walking hundreds of kilometers from the city to their village with little to no food or water. Honestly, I have always been a philocalist, being appreciative and grateful comes naturally to me but I was taken aback when I recently caught myself glorifying a cup of coffee, something that I sipped every day at work. What I am implying here is, if you are in the comfort of your home, having three meals and a family by your side consider yourself blessed.
The art of marketing your work
My profession is all about enhancing a brands reputation and I have been told that I do a great job, however on a personal level, I find it challenging to prettily package my work and promote myself, maybe because I am trying to abide by a virtue known as humility.
For many years I believed that great work was enough to get noticed and opportunities would knock at my door. Fortunately, on my journey things clicked well, probably because my work and I have always been under my bosses’ nose and there wasn’t a need for self-promotion. Now that work from home has been established as a concept, the obstacle stands right in front of me especially when I see every second person blatantly running a self-promotion campaign. Necessity being the mother of invention, it was time to suck it up and play along because we are each our own greatest advocates.
And finally, if your self-promotion campaign fails, let integrity be your savior. Irrespective of the distractions, offer your organisation the best in your capacity and confidently rise to the occasion when you are being asked to showcase results.