COVID-19: 6 Meaningful Lessons

COVID-19: 6 Meaningful Lessons

A year ago, most of us wouldn’t have understood phrases like social distancing and flatten the curve, and the idea of wearing cloth masks in public or not being able to even go out in public would have seemed silly. Flash forward to early 2020, and poof—everything changed.

While COVID-19 has given rise to new challenges and uncertainties, the pandemic has also yielded some valuable lessons. Still searching for that silver lining? Here are six takeaways to consider:

  • Family and friends come first: Before the coronavirus dominated our lives, many of us may have taken human interaction for granted. Spending time with our immediate loved ones now, however, has taken center stage. Despite the frustrations the daily confinement may naturally bring, it’s important to reflect on what our family and friends truly mean to us. As restrictions begin to lift, seeing those we haven’t been able to connect with face-to-face will feel that much more special. Maybe we’ll even share more smiles and hellos with those we don’t know.
  • There’s no place like the outdoors: Our homes may have become sanctuaries in a way we didn’t anticipate. Yet whether it’s gardening, hiking or walking through a park, or just poking our heads out the front door for some fresh air and sunlight, the great outdoors has remained a viable escape. The world may have ceased to exist as we once knew it, but nature endures. \
  • Prevention is power: What we eat, our exercise habits and general handwashing/hygiene awareness have garnered greater focus. When it comes to our health and wellness, there is power in ownership and prevention.
  • Hobbies are healing: From cooking and knitting to painting and learning a new language, our renewed enthusiasm for pastimes has helped to recharge our health batteries, not to mention build connections with our families. For example, the simple act of baking bread with a son or daughter can nurture an important life skill, as well as create a cherished memory.
  • Our minds matter: While the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted newfound worries, it’s also forced us to slow down and evaluate how we cope with stress. Has this resulted in a desire to learn yoga, meditation or mindfulness? Whatever the path to reducing stress and improving mental wellness, it’s worth staying the course once things return closer to where they used to be.
  • More stuff doesn’t deliver fulfillment: Staying at home and relying on less has taught us to reexamine our priorities. Buying or taking advantage of every possible modern convenience isn’t necessary for our happiness or survival.
  • Essential workers are heroes: It’s long overdue—delivery drivers, supermarket employees, health care professionals and other essential workers are finally receiving the recognition they deserve. The sacrifices they’ve particularly made during this pandemic haven’t gone unnoticed. Showing gratitude for these everyday heroes will go a long way toward building lasting goodwill.

Nobody knows what the ultimate outcome of the COVID-19 crisis will be, but one thing is certain—we are stronger when we act together. The lessons we absorb and the energy we put into making positive choices today will make a meaningful difference tomorrow.

Holland Hospital’s Lifestyle Medicine Program can help you live a healthier, longer life by focusing on nutrition, exercise, sleep and mental health. Learn more by calling (616) 494-8387.

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  • Tyler Murphy, MD

    Tyler Murphy

    Dr. Tyler Murphy is a board certified internist and lifestyle medicine specialist. He is the medical director of Holland Hospital's Lifestyle Medicine Clinic located at the Center for Good Health and is passionate about helping patients achieve health and wellness by optimizing nutrition, fitness, sleep, mindfulness and reducing harmful environmental exposure. Dr. Murphy is married and has two children. He enjoys experimenting in the kitchen and is an avid cross country skier and cyclist.

    Dr. Murphy invites you to create your healthy path and schedule your Lifestyle Medicine appointment today. Call (616) 399-9522. Tyler Murphy

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