10 things I learnt during the pandemic

An almost never ending year, 2020 is finally going to end and I felt an ardent need to pen down things that I learnt during this roller-coaster ride. Before I do that, I’d like to tell you how the story began.

Scroll down for reading the 10 things I learnt straight, or read my story as well.

Early March 2020…

While I was preparing myself for an internship, and end semester examinations, the pandemic blew in our faces. The country witnessed three consecutive lock downs and a fourth one was on its way. It was April by now, and like everybody I was confused. I had plans, concrete ones that I had to execute but couldn’t due to this godforsaken virus. So, I spent the end of March and half of April taking courses on Udemy. Some web development courses. The funny part was I was dreading semester exams since I had stopped studying for them exclusively. I was on my own now, doing things without thinking.

Come May, 2020

By then, semester exams got cancelled, and it was understood that this pandemic was far from over. And as I pointed out earlier that I was not doing things as planned, I took the “Introduction to Human Spaceflight” course on edX, considering my mind-boggling interest in astronomy and space science. Although, I belong to a traditional engineering domain, Electronics to be precise, now I figured it was time I do and study concepts that I really loved. I spent a month studying that course in depth. And soon after that, I enrolled in an Astronomy course offered on Coursera. So I was devouring online courses, materials and participating in competitions, leading to building up a LinkedIn I could later be proud of.

June-July 2020

These two months were a flash. I remember making a flowchart of my life, making plans and deciding what I’d be doing given the Covid-19 situation.

August 2020

Somewhere in August I had a sudden change in my routine. From a night owl, I became a morning person. I was reading, exercising, eating well and taking care of myself. I started to journal on a daily basis and spent more time with my family. I would wake up at 5 every morning to witness the sunrise and write about it, the birds, the gentle breeze that blew and the silence of mornings. I fell in love with mornings.

September 2020

Along with coding, and studying, I got back to painting. Oil painting is a passion that I’ve had for sometime, but I would always end up blaming the lack of time. I painted more, on weekends particularly and loved the sense of euphoria. I would wake up to exercise, listening to podcasts and turn on some peaceful music to journal and then head for breakfast with my family. Honestly, I’ve never before been able to spend this much time with my family because of my sleep schedules. I slept better, and had control over my days.

October — November 2020

I had crafted a perfect routine wherein I could balance my study/work and passions for writing and art. I would study in the mornings and read or write later in the evening. I also spent time watching quality movies and shows that helped me during the period.

And just so you know, I haven’t stepped out of my house during this entire time, beginning the lock down somewhere in March.

I also switched off social media and got rid of the habit of mindless scrolling. It has helped me tons.

Everyone has faced this time, first in confusion and later coming to terms with it. And, needless to say, it is not at all necessary to stay productive, or to keep meddling with things, because the time that we’ve been giving is precious. It’s a pause we got that was beyond our imagination.

Finally….

December 2020

15 days into the month and all I’ve been doing is writing and binge-watching. Sometimes digital painting as well. But, now I’d like to tell you the things that I learnt, and how they changed me as a person.

  1. ALL YOU HAVE IS TODAY

I used to be a planner before, still am. But now I’m able to appreciate the moment in front of me. Whatever is going to happen tomorrow shouldn’t make us anxious. I know it does, but, if we can break everything into small packets and live one moment to the next, life becomes easy. So, focus on that book you’re reading, or that painting you have right in front of you. Feel it, embrace that moment and be grateful. Don’t forget to breathe, because we all do sometimes. “Whatever comes tomorrow, I’ve lived my today.”

2. FAMILY IS EVERYTHING

Spending some quality time with your siblings, mum and dad can be rejuvenating. I used to regret not doing that before but now I understand the importance. It nourishes to be a better person. At the end of the day, this is what matters most.

3. TAKING TIME OFF IS IMPORTANT

We all get stuck in monotonous lifestyle that asks too much from us. Be it college, or job or anything for that matter. Taking a couple of days, or even a week off gives you a kick start. It’s not a waste of time, instead it only helps you brings back your focus and energy back on track.

4. THE POWER OF MORNING ROUTINE (Mornings are beautiful :D)

I used to be a night owl. The 5 Am Club by Robin Sharma helped me change my perspective. Not only has my productivity risen, I feel more enthusiastic and energetic throughout the day. Oh, and that sunrise. I don’t think I would ever want to revert back this change since I have fallen in love with the quietude mornings bring.

5. PRACTICE GRATITUDE

Writing down three things I’m grateful for every single day has made me merrier and feel the moment I’m in. Anxiety is an old tale for me now, since practicing gratitude has taught me to be grateful for the tiniest things. They matter. Things like having a roof over your head, or food, or family, books to read or education are few things I feel grateful for everyday. Most people don’t have that luxury and being grateful for all of it is important. If you’re reading this, you’re alive. We have lost so many lives to the virus. Be grateful.

6. SOCIAL MEDIA ISN’T REAL

I used to spend a lot of time curating, writing content. And post that the mindless scrolling would come along. And honestly, we all do it unintentionally and hours pass by robbing us of our time. Looking at who’s doing what, celebrities and their lives might sound good, but everybody is dealing with and struggling in their own lives. It’s all a show. It’s important to be on a leash and use social media intelligently. My suggestion: Don’t check your feed in the mornings, as soon as you wake up. Keep that later, during the evening after you’ve completed important chores.

7. KEEP A JOURNAL

The pandemic forced us to stay home, not hang out with friends and some. Communication is human nature and we can’t replace physical interaction with video calls. Talking to someone, speaking what’s on your mind is what we do. But, when there’s no one to talk to, our mind can become a mess. The frustrating thoughts, uncertain emotions are common. Keeping a journal and writing down your thoughts on a software on phone or an actual journal come handy. I call it, “The Vomit Journal”. Writing down thoughts soon after waking up and before sleeping not only clears your mind, it allows you to empty your full cup so that you can leave you anger, emotions, frustrations behind and start a new day fresh. Highly recommend it.

8. YOU CAN LEARN ANYTHING ONLINE

From free online courses, to paid certificates, you have access to learning from the comfort of your home. And times like these, can be effective used to do just that. Knowing the right websites to learn from, or just tinkering with a new found interest can take you places. You just have to begin.

9. READING TAKES YOU OUT OF THE FOUR WALLS

I have always loved reading. It was the pandemic wherein I read so many of them. But, I believe, if you have books, you are not stuck. You can literally travel the world. Imagination can take you everywhere.

10. IT’S FAR FROM OVER

The year is ending, but the pandemic is not. The change of December 31st to 1st January, 2021, is just a date change. It is not affecting how the world looks right now. But, we must believe that it will soon be over and things will get back to normal. In the meantime, we must learn, grow and endure in whatever way we can.

I still have so much unsaid, unheard, unread. Let’s keep all that for later, shall we?

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Writing about Self Improvement, Mindfulness and Philosophy

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Aayushi Iyer

Aayushi Iyer

Writing about Self Improvement, Mindfulness and Philosophy

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