The Art of Looking Back: The Pandemic
It has been an entire year since the beginning of the COVID Pandemic. How can it be???
What were you doing exactly a year ago? Do you remember?
There was a ‘stay at home’ order in place, toilet paper was flying of the shelves, and you probably did not leave the house without hand sanitizer. Oh, and we were all wearing masks for the first time.
So often, it is easy to move through life and rarely reflect on the events that have taken place. Even when these events shape and impact our worldview, personal life, and relationships. Think of the ways COVID alone has shaped each of those: your worldview, personal life, and relationships.
What is the number one reason you don’t look back and reflect? Regrets? Negative experiences? Or do you simply just forget?
For some reason, the ritual of reflection has become clouded and often given a bad name. But I would argue that reflection is important, for many reasons.
Reflecting on the time that has passed during this pandemic gives us the opportunity to notice changes. Changes in ourselves, others, and life as we ‘knew’ it.
The COVID pandemic has changed so many things about the world. There’s no more shaking hands when we meet new people, no more blowing out candles on a birthday cake, and wearing masks has become the new normal. The phrase ‘smile with your eyes’ has a whole new meaning these days as we try to show facial expressions with a mask on. But it has also changed if, and when, we can see family and friends, something that might have been the hardest change of all. The pandemic may have caused some loss as well. You may have lost a job, a friend, a family member, or an opportunity. These are all things that are incredibly difficult to deal with.
While there are some changes that are weird and hard, there are also other changes that are beneficial. Like the fact that it’s socially acceptable to order groceries online and have them delivered to your front door. Or that you can order food curbside. What about the fact that you can see your doctor from the comfort of your own home? These are all things that are generally seen as better, right? They make things like grocery shopping, getting meals, and visiting the doctor more convenient.
Reflecting also allows us to notice the things we have learned. Every challenging experience teaches us new things, things that we can carry forward into the next challenge.
This pandemic might have allowed you the time and space to learn more about yourself, how you deal or don’t deal with stress and uncertainty. You might have discovered a new coping skill for your anxiety, or even picked up a new hobby along the way. Being quarantined with family members might have allowed you to learn new things about them or make you realize how much you took alone time for granted. Maybe you learned how difficult a teacher’s job is as you were suddenly responsible for your child’s learning.
Have you reflected on the COVID pandemic yet? If not, here is your invitation. While reflecting, it is so easy to focus on the bad things, but it is just as, if not more, important to remember and reflect on the good things, even if there aren’t that many. So, below you will find several prompts that will guide you in this practice of reflection. Take a few minutes to slowly work through these questions; grab a friend or loved one to join you.
How did you feel at the beginning of the pandemic?
What was most disappointing part of the pandemic? Why?
What brought you the most joy during the pandemic? Why?
What did you learn about yourself throughout the pandemic?
What did you learn about others?
Who and what did or do you miss most from pre-COVID times?
What/who have you been most grateful for during the pandemic?
Is there anything about the pandemic you enjoyed? If so, what is it?
How has your life changed since the beginning of the pandemic?
The practice of reflection is difficult. It is something that takes intentional practice. I hope you were able to sit still and gather some thoughts about this past year that you may had not realized before.