What the Pandemic Taught Us: Finding the Positive in a Tumultuous Year 

Julie Bitely

| 3 min read

Dad helping his little boy put a puzzle together
The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed life for everyone and caused stress and struggle for many. Throughout 2020, families and communities have mourned the loss of loved ones to a virus that is still raging.
It’s hard to imagine remembering this year with any fondness, but there are some aspects of 2020 that could be worth holding onto. As we look forward to 2021, take a second to pause and reflect on the positive aspects that have resulted from 2020.

A slower pace

With many extracurriculars canceled or postponed, families and individuals had a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of jam-packed calendars throughout the spring and summer. Moving into 2021, consider which activities and obligations can be resumed. Fewer outside commitments can foster meaningful time to connect with one another at home or pursue individual hobbies that could enrich quality of life.

More time for family

With many parents working from home and kids and teens learning through virtual platforms, families are together more than ever. While this can certainly be cause for stress, it can also foster closeness and camaraderie. Families who take on the pandemic with a sense of grit, resilience and an attitude that they’re in this together might emerge closer after things go back to normal. Many families might remember this time with a sense of nostalgia.  

A return to nature

One of the ways people coped with COVID-19 restrictions was by getting outside. Many tried running, cycling and hiking for the first time, exploring parks and natural areas near their homes. Time spent in nature is linked to decreased anxiety as well as lower cortisol and blood pressure. If your new routine involves more time spent outside, work to make it a permanent change.

Renewed interest in home cooking

Early in the pandemic, more than half of consumers reported cooking more and 46% reported baking more. Making food from scratch gives you more control over what goes into the finished product. If you’ve incorporated meal planning into your week, try to continue this healthy habit into the new year.

New ways to connect

Although in-person gatherings were shut down or extremely limited in scope, many people found virtual alternatives that helped foster a sense of social connection. Whether you instituted virtual happy hours with far-flung friends or turned Sunday family dinners into games played over Zoom, maintaining social connections will remain important as the pandemic lingers as a safeguard against loneliness and isolation.
While there’s no question this has been a tough year, working to develop a grateful mindset for the good in life can be a powerful way to protect your mental health. 
Will you remember any positives from 2020? Share what you’ve been thankful for this year in the comments.
Photo credit: fizkes

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