What I learned from the Coronavirus Pandemic
If you are a frequent reader of my blog or follower on my social media channels you might have noticed that in the last few weeks, I’ve been quite absent. I didn’t write a blogpost in months, and was definitely spending less time on social media. The ugly truth is: The Coronavirus Pandemic has hit me hard on a personal and professional level. Very slowly I am getting my head and heart back and returning to a “new normal”.
How the Coronavirus Pandemic has affected me
First, I think we are all affected by this pandemic in different ways. Lots of us are struggling really hard right now, either mentally or financially. I am affected as well, and I want to give you an update on what happened in my life.
Private life had some ups…
As a family we were extremely lucky: My fiancé is usually commuting between Salzburg and London. When the lockdown in Austria happened on March 16th, he was back home with us. All the flights back were cancelled, so he is still working from home. And the baby and I are extremely benefitting because we are at least for a while done with this long-distance family thing.
We were also able to get my Dad back home from a holiday before the airports were closed. So, while we were really lucky to be together, we were also self-isolating in the same household with my parents for nearly two months now. Which is really hard, even though we generally get along quite well. Also, we didn’t have any support from our regular babysitter and housekeeper, so my Mom had a lot of extra work taking on both roles.
…while professional life had some major downs…
From a professional side life was also hard the last months. For the first weeks of the lockdown it was unclear if and how our family business was allowed to be open. We were trying to apply for governmental support schemes, either through short time work or emergency funding, and were facing extreme bureaucracy and technical hurdles. Nearly two months later we still have not seen one euro of that support money, and are somehow trying to keep everything running. The fear that our family business, which is over 100 years old, would not survive is always on my mind. Additionally, we were facing personal conflicts with our employees. Which is not a big surprise, as everyone was on the edge of going crazy.
These struggles, especially financially and personally, made a hard toll on my mental health. I was fighting hard, but didn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. I was working long hours and also on weekends, and I didn’t have enough time to take care of myself. Going for a run or a walk outside in the glorious spring weather was a luxury I could barely afford, even though it was legally allowed. Wen I was in the office, I felt bad because I wsa not spending time with my son. When I spent time with my son, I was feeling bad because I still had so much work to do. There were not only few occasions where I had fights with my family members, where I cried for hours and wanted to quit everything.
But now I am slowly getting back to what fells like myself. There now is a light at the end of the tunnel, with restrictions being lifted, and governmental support slowly on its way. And slowly I am realizing that not everything is bad and that I am actually really lucky. And I want to share with you what I learned in overcoming that crisis.
There is an opportunity in every crisis
This is something that my fiancé has told me several times, and it took me a while to actually believe it. While he might refer to the stock market, where you can definitely make money and find bargains also when the markets go down, it is also true for everyday life. Every crisis will end at one point. And when it ends, it is time for a fresh start.
You lost your job due to the Coronavirus Pandemic? Maybe you didn’t like it that much at all and this is now a perfect opportunity to find a new one. You realize that you don’t like the partner you’ve been self-isolating with? Maybe it is now time to live your own life. Your travel plans got cancelled? What about saving money and discovering the beauty of your neighbourhood? You can’t go to the restaurant? Maybe now is the time to cook. You can’t go shopping? Maybe now is the time to learn how to sew and knit. You can’t go to the cinema? What about learning a new language or reading a good book? You can’t meet your friends? Maybe now is the time to actually call them and have long meaningful conversations.
There is an opportunity in every crisis, even the Coronavirus Pandemic is. Now is the time to find it an seize it.
Spend time with your loved ones
The longer the Coronavirus Pandemic continues, the more people I know that have lost someone to COVID-19. Especially my friends in the UK have suffered a lot. And all of them told me that it is really heart-breaking if you can’t say good-bye to someone you love because they are stuck in intensive care and not allowed to have visitors. And all of them told me that they regretted not spending more time with that special person before they died.
So, spend more time with your loved one. As long as your country is still in lockdown, call them frequently. Once you are allowed, visit them and give them a big hug. Life is short, so appreciate your time together, especially in these tough times. I was really lucky and happy that all my family members were healthy and close to me. And I appreciate this hard, but special time that I have with them.
I don’t need that much to be happy
Guess what I didn’t miss during the Coronavirus Pandemic? Going shopping. Yes of course we had to buy groceries, but besides that I was not in the mood. And I realized that I didn’t need a lot of the stuff I owned. I went through my closed and put a lot of things up for sale. Most of it some very nice clothes and accessories that I didn’t wear in years. If you want to have a look, check them out here.
The only things I needed were for the baby, and I tried to get them through different ways. I was ordering toys from my friend that owns a toy shop. By doing this I was supporting a local business that was also affected from the lockdown. One other friend also sent me her used baby clothes, that she didn’t need any more.
Yes, I miss eating out, but I discovered that baking brownies was making me equally happy. So, will this change my consumption habits on the long run? Probably yes. Less money spent, more happiness.
Take care of your mental health
I have always considered myself as mentally healthy and strong. Why should I not be? I run Ultra Marathons and 24 hour Obstacle Course Races, and have given birth to a baby boy.
But the Coronavirus Pandemic definitely showed me my limits. The long working hours, the constant struggles in our business, the lack of sleep, and especially the lack of self-care were taking a hard toll on my mental health. There was one weekend where I had a massive break down. And I realized that I can’t continue like this. I needed to take care of myself.
I am now trying to make certain things a priority, even though I am not perfect at it: working out, sleeping more, not working weekends, baking brownies, finding more personal space, and now writing blog posts again. Self-care is not a buzz word for being lazy, it is really about taking care of yourself and recharging your batteries.
And I highly recommend to everyone making this a priority: If you need time for yourself, take it. If you need space, step away. If you need to recharge your batteries, do it.
So I can conclude with a quote that feels very appropriate right now:
Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.
How have you been affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic? Leave me a comment below!