With most of us are sequestered inside of our homes due to the coronavirus outbreak, it seems that the brakes have been slammed on our busy lives. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because this mandated "pause" affords us the opportunity to reflect on what is important in our lives.
Our minds can be our biggest allies or our biggest enemies, depending on what and where we choose to focus our attention. If we focus on what we don't have, we will cultivate a mindset of scarcity. On the other hand, if we develop an "attitude of gratitude," we will build an outlook of abundance.
I offer you ten things many of us may have taken for granted before the pandemic struck.
1. Our Health. Most of us are blessed to have have relatively good health. We live in a country where widespread infectious diseases are not something we usually have to worry about. The coronavirus pandemic has changed this somewhat. For many of us, this outbreak has many of us feeling helpless from a health perspective for the first time.
2. High Fives, Hugs, Handshakes, and Fist Bumps. Due to our newly recommended social isolation and six foot distance rule, we are missing out on a lot of human touch with one another. High fives, hugs, handshakes, and fist bumps bring people together and they transmit positive energy. These physical gestures convey unity, trust and/or love. They give us a feeling of belonging, and they also warm the soul.
3. Vibing with Our Tribes. We are missing out on building fellowship and a sense of community with our tribes. Human are social animals. Since the beginning of human existence, we have bonded and formed clans with one another. Our modern day equivalent is gathering in large groups to share an affinity, such as: cheering for a sports team, going to a packed musical concert, or to congregate in a house of worship. The tremendous amount of synergy we create in these kinds of groups is immeasurable.
4. Freedom and Flexibility. We pretty much go where we want whenever we want. Our society is mobile, often transient and on the go. When we want to go somewhere, we often give it very little thought. We pull up directions from an app on our smartphones, and we just go. This has afforded us quite a bit of freedom and flexibility. Being grounded the past few weeks has made us realize this.
5. Face to Face Interaction. As humans, we are hardwired for social interaction. Research shows that individuals with strong social relationships usually have longer life spans. While Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams and other technological platforms have helped us fill part of this void, it's not the same as face to face interaction. We are gifted with the ability to read facial cues and body language when in the physical presence of one another.
6. Time to Slow Down. When are so busy living our fast-paced lives, we often forget the importance of taking time to slow down and chill out. Self-care takes a backseat in our culture that tends to glorify the "state of busyness."
Rest and recovery is important for our minds and our bodies. In someways , the coronavirus has served as a "slow- down reset button" in this regard. It is giving us time much needed time to rest and recover.
7. The Importance of Family. Most of us love and appreciate our families. However, we often take for granted the ones we love the most and the ones who we are always around. While we are stuck in our homes during this unsettling period, some of our family members may be getting a bit on our nerves. After all, this is a whole lot of together time! With that said, when push comes to a shove, you know who you can count on. The old saying "blood is thicker than water" rings true more times than not.
8. Teachers. We have all been giving much deserved praise and credit to all of the medical staff, first responders, and "essential employees" who have served us unselfishly during this time of crisis. These folks are heroes. So are teachers. These consummate professionals spend more time with your kids than their own. After spending some time at home trying to help their kids with their online lessons during this period, I doubt very seriously any parent will ever again question why teachers need Spring Break or any other holiday.
9. Competent Leadership. From a leadership perspective, trying times like this separates the wheat from the chaff. Somehow our forefathers founding concept of our political leaders being "civil servants" has been thrown out the window. During times like this, we need leaders who are calm, strong, emotionally intelligent, and empathetic. We don't need clowns who suggest that thinning the herd for the economy's sake is the right solution. We need leaders who support science, logic, common sense, and reason. We don't need "leaders" gaslighting anything that goes against their own desires as "hoaxes" or "fake news." We need our elected leaders to unify us in times of trouble instead further driving us apart.
10. The Little Things. We get so caught up in our lives, sometimes we can't see the forest for the trees. In our constant efforts to achieve and earn, we fail to take time to just "be." We forget that we don't always have to be doing something. Spending time isolated indoors during this mandated slow down can help us appreciate what is important and what is not. It's a time for us to realign our values with our actions. Most important, this period of time gives us space to realize that there are no "little things" in life. These things are moments. We should make each little seemingly unimportant moment meaningful. This is life.
This list was not offered as a gripe list. Just the opposite. It is a reminder for us not to overlook the good things in our lives.