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The worldwide coronavirus pandemic changed life as we knew it. It has impacted the relationships we have with others and has transformed the relationship we have with ourselves. From altering our daily routines and life goals to changing how we navigate through our relationships, the pandemic has fundamentally shifted our society. Mental health has only become more important. The universal experience of the pandemic has taught us some important lessons about what it means to live in today’s world. 

#1. Your Mental Health Must Be Your Priority

The first thing we learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is that we need to prioritize our mental health. As everything quickly became virtual and socially distant, each of us had a lot of extra time to sit with our thoughts. The change in the atmosphere throughout television news and other media was frightening to many people, and overall the pandemic caused a significant rise in mental health issues among our population. From the pandemic, we learned how important it is to tune in to your mental health. 

Average stressors experienced before the pandemic only became more challenging when daily life began to change. Things like juggling work and childcare, physical isolation, job loss, or losing a loved one from the virus all were compounded by having to adapt to a new lifestyle. With the closing of businesses, one would think that there would be more free time for self-care and relaxation, but this was rarely the case. 

Self-care is something we emphasize strongly when it comes to mental health. It is essential for our well-being, especially when we need time to adjust to new circumstances and expectations when they surface. The majority of our population found it difficult to adjust, especially because of how quickly mandates and protocols changed. As we transition back to a new normal, continue to check in with yourself. 

#2. Connection Is Vital for Our Well-Being

Another lesson we learned from the pandemic is that connection is absolutely vital for our well-being. During the peaks of the pandemic, social distancing protocols were enforced, making it incredibly difficult to connect with others. Many of us turned to the luxury of technology to keep our relationships nourished and to keep ourselves sane. 

While many of us befriended technology, the convenience of staying connected with our distant friends and family also became apparent. The pandemic became the topic of conversation for everyone, as everyone was experiencing it. Because of the uncomfortable physical distance between us and our loved ones, the importance of connection became more evident than ever.

Loneliness and isolation can make individuals susceptible to developing addictions and other mental health conditions. Although we understood the necessity for social distancing, it inevitably caused and continues to cause immense feelings of loneliness among many individuals. We encourage you to seek out support from others that may still be experiencing distressing mental health issues caused by the pandemic. Know that you are not alone. As many of us are still adapting to the entire experience, there are programs tailored specifically for individuals experiencing an intense disconnection from the world. Take advantage of the time that you spend with others moving forward, as you now know how truly precious time can be.

#3. There Is a Lesson to Be Learned in Everything We Do

As life happens, we learn how to adapt. The pandemic helped us to learn how there is a lesson to be learned in everything we do. 

Making mistakes is a part of what makes us human. Some of the best life lessons are learned through the most difficult of times, and the pandemic has been a difficult time for many of us. “You learn something new every day” is a sometimes cliche, commonly used phrase, but it rings true here. Over the last year and a half, there were new protocols, new enforcements, and new circumstances that we were all introduced to. It is always easier to see the bigger picture when looking back on an event than when you’re experiencing it head-on. Looking back on the pandemic so far, each of us has learned a variety of lessons due to our experience of it. We can recognize that even the most confusing experiences can teach us something positive. 

#4. Life Is Temporary and Precious – Be Grateful 

The last and certainly most important lesson that we learned from the pandemic is how important it is to appreciate what we have. Everything in life, including life itself, is temporary. Many of us have lost someone because of COVID-19, which has taught us how important it is to be grateful for the people that are in our lives. The pandemic consistently teaches us to be grateful. 

The pandemic has filled each of us with intense and sometimes indescribable emotions. One thing that many of us have learned is the importance of spreading appreciation for life. Whether we become more appreciative of our friends and family, our living situation, or for life itself, the pandemic has taught us to acknowledge the things that bring us happiness and love. 

Although the pandemic has surfaced many challenges, there is a lot we can learn from the last year and a half. Through the pandemic, we learned how important it is to prioritize our mental health. We now understand how essential human connection is for our well-being. We also learned that life is a lesson within itself and that life is a temporary and precious experience that we share together. We must foster an appreciation for the people and things we have instead of focusing our energy elsewhere. At West Coast Recovery Centers, we understand if the pandemic has taken a toll on your mental health. We want to help bring you back to a place of mental well-being by providing you with a variety of treatment options aimed at substance use and/or mental health treatment. For more information about the resources we offer, give us a call at (760) 492-6509.