What Did You Learn About Yourself from COVID-19?

Child StudyingYou have a perfect opportunity at your feet. Whenever life circumstances present themselves, you often learn about yourself and how you operate in different situations. COVID-19 is a great example.

As our life goes on, we often take for granted our routine, friends, work, and often even our romantic relationships. It becomes automatic, and we don’t think about it much. That’s normal.

But when there is a change in our circumstances, such as COVID-19, things that were “normal” for us can easily change. Sometimes the change involves loss. However, change also comes an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and what works and what doesn’t. 


How a Life Event Can Bring Issues to the Forefront of Our “Daily Routines”

Look at COVID. How did it change your regular routine? Were you able to work from home rather than in the workplace? Did being home change how you feel about your current job?

Were there changes in your relationship if you live with a mate, roommate, or family? What did you learn about yourself from the increased time together? What works, and what may need some tweaking for that situation to work better for you? Did you experience loss of some kind?

We get so caught up in our daily routine we can become accustomed to our life without questioning whether it works or not. Sometimes an event may occur that heightens our awareness of a situation or dynamic we just saw as “our normal.”

Furthermore, changes in our life, such as COVID-19, allow us to re-evaluate what works and what doesn’t. The choice is yours to take advantage of this time or to continue with your past “normal.” 


What Have You Learned About Yourself Now vs. Before COVID-19?

Recognizing what you learned is an excellent place to begin. Before COVID-19, were you happy with your relationships and responsibilities? Or were there areas of your life that were not working for you or were unhealthy? 

Were you enjoying your work, or was it just a routine you accepted as your normal? What about your relationships? Do they work for you, or are there some changes that would be healthy for you?

Have you noticed that you’ve put on weight lately, or took up a habit that you know is unhealthy for you, such as drinking alcohol excessively?

Are you beginning to notice some relationships are no longer making you happy?

Sometimes events in life give us an excellent opportunity to make healthy changes.


Are There Things You Want to Change About Yourself or Your Life Because of What You’ve Learned?

If you can identify those areas in your life that work for you, versus those that don’t, you have made great use of an unusual life event, such as COVID-19. 

So the first step is to recognize what needs to change vs. what can stay in your life. The more you learn about yourself, the easier it is to find what works for you in difficult situations.

 For example, is it a relationship that is troubled? Is it “fixable” and can improve on its own? Or does it need some assistance, such as professional counseling?  Are both parties willing to work on it?

If you want to change your job, what do you need to do? Is it your particular employer that is not working for you? Or is it the wrong type of work that is not a fit? If you find you are not doing what you want, are you willing to investigate another field? What if it means you need further training? Is that acceptable for you?

If it involves your lifestyle, are you willing to make healthy changes? It doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” change. Are there pieces that are easy for you to tweak? Do you need to start with smaller changes and work from there going forward?


What Actions Do You Need to Take if  You Want to Make Changes?

Once you identify those areas of your life that are not working for you, the next step is to identify the actions needed for you to be happier.

For example, if it is getting a new job, do you know what kind of job you want? Are you suited for that, or will you need to be trained or to seek additional education?

If it is about a relationship, it may also involve another person. What if they are unwilling to change or to accept help? What does this mean for you? Are you willing to end the relationship if things don’t improve? Are there some smaller changes you can live with but still be happier? 

If it is about making changes in your health or life in other ways, it works the same way. You identify what is needed to change positively and decide if you are willing to do that.

What are the advantages and challenges you would be facing if you make the change? For example, would you need more training, and would it involve further expenses to obtain it?

In each example, it works the same way. Decide whether you are willing to go after what makes you happier. Are you ready to do the work to get there? How are you going to feel if you choose not to make the changes?


Knowing How to Maintain Your New Changes

When you have identified what is no longer working for you, and you have taken steps to move forward, it’s crucial to maintain the new and healthy choices. But how?

First, identify those things you do do that make you feel happy and healthier. What do you need to do to continue those changes?

Next, look for anything that gets in the way of you continuing the healthy path you are on. Over time it can get “old” doing things we “know” are good for us, but don’t feel good in the “moment.” For example, if it is about your diet, look for recipes that are healthy that you would enjoy. Create a new “habit.”

Or it may involve changing an unhealthy relationship status that is not going to improve. Identify what steps you need to do to move forward in a healthy way. Find support with your family, friends, or professional assistance.

Remind yourself often why you made the new choices and how you feel after making the changes. Are you seeing positive benefits from your efforts involving the changes?

How do the changes make you feel? Is it what you thought it would be like after making the changes? If not, what is missing for you? And what do you need to do to feel happier? 

If you find that you are disappointed about the results, sometimes it’s beneficial to seek professional guidance to help you figure things out. Professional help can often be a productive and healthy option.


Final Thoughts

Life happens. What you do about it determines how you will feel. Do you fight against the situation, or do you accept the status? Are you choosing to focus on what you don’t like, or are you looking for better possibilities and options? Furthermore, can you identify those areas where you have control to make things better or to seek assistance?

The rest is about choosing what you do with a given situation. Your actions will determine the end result—your choice.

Be well.

About Susan Saint-Welch

Susan Saint-Welch LMFT has counseled couples and individuals for many years on issues such as dating, marriage, family drama, coping with difficult times, improving self-image and living the life you love. She provides psychotherapy for clients in California and Dating, Couples and Life Coaching for clients outside California through secure video conferencing. She has published numerous articles regarding these issues on her website, on YourTango.com and on MSN.com.

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