Updated: Oct 9, 2021
It has been a crazy 2 years. Covid took hold of the world in March 2020 and locked down anything that had a social aspect. In the almost 2 years since this happened people have had a lot of time and opportunity to reflect on their overall wellness in a holistic way.
Probably one of the most important things we could have reflected on is the potential to improve our personal health. More importantly, to realize the way in which our overall health impacts our immunity to disease and illnesses (like Covid). If you haven’t learned through all this that proper sleep, good nutrition, and daily exercise can improve your state of mind, quality of life, and immunity, you may be missing out on an opportunity for positive change. The world is full of quick fixes to everything that ails us, including various pills and kool-aid both medicinal and supplemental. Nutrition is the new sustainable medicine, and if you can teach yourself to eat healthy foods and resist unhealthy foods, it’s possible to avoid a lot, if not all, medical complications in life. Marketing has made people so concerned and focused with how they look on the outside, it’s very, very easy to forget what things might look like on the inside. What you put into your body is equally, if not more, important than what you put out.
Many people were either laid off or risked layoff, and the government enacted pay subsidies to support people who lost their jobs (CERB), and business subsidies to keep workers employed (CEWS). Even with all this support, businesses were shuttered as revenues dropped across many sectors where social interactions were part of the regular business models. The loss of jobs and income sources made many people revisit their financial situations and pivot. Thankfully, in Canada, the government was there to bail people out to some extent and provide what everyone should have already had, an “emergency fund”. Covid was a situation where the government had a responsibility to provide financial support as they were responsible for the impact of the shutdowns on people’s ability to earn a living. But what if it was an economic depression without government responsibility or intervention, or you simply lost your job? Covid was a suttle reminder that everyone should maintain an emergency fund for rainy days, some flexibility in their budgets for inflationary pressures, manage all their expenses appropriately, and not hold unnecessary debt. Living beyond your means is a precarious situation.
Covid coined some new terms for people, and ”Essential Services” was one of them. If you were paying attention to what jobs were important to keep the country running and which jobs were shelved, you would have learned that specific jobs and sectors are far more resilient to economic turmoil than others. Obviously, medical services and grocery chains were a couple of the resiliient sectors. The utility sectors, for example gas, power, electrical, city services, were some others. Social sectors were hardest hit; retail, restaurants, hospitality, gyms, air/sea travel, recreational, etc. Of course, jobs everywhere will require refilling during and after the recovery. But this was a time that people may now be considering career changes, or if you are just starting out, what careers you may want to consider in terms of being recession-proof. Many businesses are still resisting re-staffing in the face of more uncertainty.
This is an area where everyone has suffered, and everyone had to learn to cope. The total shutdown of social activities and the slow recovery in this aspect has been very hard on the human race. We were unable to visit or see family for months. Travel was not possible. Borders were closed. Humans are very social beings, and we need to be able to move around and interact to be happy and thriving. Relationships were challenged and strained in a way not expected or experienced in recent times. Couples were forced to shelter in place and spend a lot more time together, straining even the most successful relationships. The imposing of strict rules by governments and the on-and-off nature of those rules during Covid has had a polarizing effect on populations, making everyone less empathetic and more irratible. There is a demographic of radical believers and radical disbelievers, and all the people in between. This polarizing effect has caused more tension worldwide, manifesting itself in pockets of impatience and misunderstanding. In social circles and the news, people are constantly emerging with an extreme lack of tolerance, short tempers, or selfish positions. Covid has tested everyone’s social awareness and social skills, and everyone can learn to do better on some level with this.
Community is an extension of social, but more related to the things you are active in that improve your community. Most of these types of activities were on hold during Covid and are still just trying to get going again. The absence of these activities further adds to our social deprivation and the ability to feel good about our contributions to our communities and society. In our own city, several social and charitable events have been shelved for 2 years in a row now, and in a community that depends heavily on the tourist sector and these events, this is significant. All charitable and/or volunteer activities were, and are still, at a stand-still. This hurts many of these organizations and our overall community wellbeing. Covid has been a period of strong reflection, and more than ever, people are considering what social movements they will support the most and what new ones they want to get on board with. There are so many ways to benefit your communities and the world. You do not even have to join a community organization to benefit communities and the world. For example, a growing movement towards biking more, or a higher plant-based diet supports the environment and future generations. The beauty is that many of these organizations and movements are already established and growing, it just takes you to search for enlightenment and decide to get on the bus. If you are more of a starter than a follower, more power to you, get going and start something! If you haven’t taken a hard look around your community and the world during Covid to see where there is a need for volunteerism or to support a positive movement, you may be missing an opportunity to impact meaningful change. You will feel better and have a sense of accomplishment if you are contributing to something with a positive outcome.