I’ve been deliberating posting this article for a while because it still seems flippant to talk about the upsides of COVID on the back of such an immense loss of life and livelihoods.
But a lot of people have talked about it and a few people have even asked ‘so what have you learnt during all this?’ – almost like the standard ‘how was your weekend?’ line just doesn’t cut it anymore. Which it doesn’t – we’ve all been doing pretty much F all haven’t we?
When I was first asked that question the unfortunate answer that first came to mind was that during this time I realised how unhappy I was. I didn’t really notice – I was just going about my usual routine and I certainly didn’t feel unhappy. I wasn’t crying into my wine or anything. But until something different comes along, you don’t know how good or bad you’ve got it. Like when someone else’s order comes out at a restaurant and you immediately regret your choice.
For me the whole working from home change was the proverbial light bulb moment. The time saved by not commuting opened up all sorts of opportunities to make positive changes to my life. I no longer felt stretched for time and under pressure from every angle of life. It was like things had slowed down in pace, even if the work hadn’t. And yeah sure, not getting up as early especially during winter has been AWESOME. As has the amount of grilled cheese sandwiches I’ve been making now that I’m not rushing out the door every day.
Taking the whole lifestyle improvement idea one step further, a friend recently told me they did a S.W.O.T. analysis of their life (for those not familiar with this term – it means strength, weaknesses, opportunities, threats). After I laughed at the absurdity of it, I realised it was actually the best idea I’d ever heard!
What an excellent tool for self reflection! To take a good look at yourself and your life, to celebrate your successes and look at how things can be improved. You’d have to be pretty honest though. Is ‘being overweight / needing to lose weight’ an opportunity or should I put ‘strong dislike for exercise’ as a weakness?! So many options!
The threat section is probably a tad overwhelming though? Does that mean threat on your life? Cancer, global warming, coronavirus, snakes, a case of mistaken identity. Perhaps it just means things that threaten your ability to achieve your goals. Gosh does that mean lack of exercise can go there too??
Even if you don’t use this S.W.O.T approach, COVID has at least presented – or even forced upon us – a time of much-needed reflection. If you can’t name one thing you’re now doing differently or want to do differently as a result of this massive disruption (and devastation) to our lives, you’ve missed a golden opportunity.
The restrictions and changes that COVID has wrought are unlikely to be seen again in our lifetime. In the past six months, if you haven’t been able to look inwardly, take stock, and take positive steps to improve your life and the lives of those around you, well.. I’m at a loss for words to describe how much you’ve let go to waste.
Well, you can S.W.O.T. anytime though, I suppose!