Public transport, office desks, good old team lunches, and walking in the heat, who thought we'll miss all this. After all, we're the ones who wanted the weekend to last forever. Everything changed in a week of minor ambiguities. The best thing we should do right now is to stay in and sit down to check on a few things we will never (never!) take for granted again.
The Freedom To Travel
From those tiny weekenders with family, special ones, friends to even the solo trips. Ever thought it could all come to a halt? While we do stay in for the world to heal, we also notice that Dolphins have returned to Italy, the Swans in Venice are swimming freely, and the OZONE LAYER IS RECOVERING! Oh, it's almost like mother nature is healing, and we cannot wait to meet our favorite spots in the world (at their healthiest!)
Friends And Family
We are all guilty of canceling that plan every week (after being the first to make them). We're dying to get back to those coffee and dinner hangouts. Honestly, we could even use some of those 'boring' extended family get-togethers. Social distancing has become emotional distancing, and the first thing we're doing after the lockdown is HUG, everyone we love.
During this stressful time, the focus is on immunity. For all the times we were "too busy" to carry around our EASY Auric Body Defence, our nut box, and ended up munching on a street-style sandwich, we messed with a chance of building that immunity. So we're starting now and making this a lifestyle. A healthy diet, some meditation, and movement are our new friends #LessonLearnt.
Food, Shelter, and Clothes
Are you worried about your #2020 goals? Wait a minute. If this time has taught us to be grateful, we're the most thankful for realizing that our problems, desires, and goals are not so significant to the planet. Most of us are reading this in the comfort of our home, tucked in bed in cozy clothing, probably with a snack in hand, while crores of people are dying of starvation, lack of safety, and good public health services. Thank you, Universe.
We're making a few lifestyle changes and adding some more gratitude to our lives to come out a fresher and better version of ourselves. What are you changing?
Important Lessons we learned this pandemic
Maintaining a healthy work/ life balance.
It can be said as the state of equilibrium where a person equally prioritizes his/ her personal and professional life. All the demands of the career as well as all the needs of family and self. Some of the common reasons for a poor work-life balance is mentioned below:
- Increased work responsibilities
- Longer working hours
- Increased responsibilities at home
- Responsibilities of kids and family
A good work-life balance is essential. It has excellent and positive effects, like it reduces stress, lowers burnout risk, and increases the sense of well-being. This benefits both the employees, employers, and also their families.
According to the career experts:
"Employers are encouraged to provide a good working environment that supports the work-life balance of the employees. In this way, the employer can save a lot of costs, will experience lesser cases of absentees, and that will help create a more enjoyable, loyal, and productive workforce."
Employers who offer telecommuting options and flexible work schedules help the employees have a better work-life balance.
However, while you are creating a schedule for your work, think about the best way to balance your work and personal life. Work-life balance is very little about dividing the 24 hours of your day evenly into your work hours and private hours. Instead, it is more about the flexibility to get the things done in your professional life and still have the time and energy to enjoy with family or have personal time.
There can be some days when you have to work longer hours, and sometimes you might have lesser work. During these times, you have to manage the hours and time accordingly and take the time later in the week to enjoy the activities.
Family Matters More than Ever Now!
This pandemic and the following lockdown has embedded the terrible image of our loved ones living alone, far and might be struggling in such conditions. Maybe many people would have come back to their families due to work-from-home schedules or due to erupt severe coronavirus cases already. However, there might be many people who might want to come back to their families but cannot due to the shutdown.
No families and even individuals have ever thought about a situation like this, where everyone would be locked in their houses and asked to maintain social distance with each other. However, beneath all these stress, tension, and health issues, we all have realized the importance of family. We discovered the complexities of all that went wrong and rediscovered our inter-dependence of generations(us, our parents, and grandparents) that how much we need each other.
Adults and kids
According to research conducted by the Pew Research Center, more than 50 percent of people aged between 18 to 29 have come back to their homes or living with their parents. This figure is unmatched since the Great Depression. Last year globally, from February to July 2020, more than 3 million young people returned to their parent's place. That's not it; it's also found that there is a lot of shared Netflix accounts. It can be said as a culture shift.
This lockdown works as an excellent time for family bonding and family dinners. These are times when families sit together, talk, and eat, with few families having the grandparents stay with them. The grandparents are filling in for the childcare after dinner, discussing everything at the dinner table, and everyone bonding with each other. Several adult family members are staying together with their parents. This is going to be the current scenario, at least until the pandemic is over.
Extended and long-term home sharing
It is even seen that a considerable number of older people moved out of nursing homes to their loved one's homes. This has become a priority that gained immediate importance and urgency due to the pandemic. It primarily due to the increased emergency of their medications and health.
Pandemic has made us think and worry about our family and us a lot. Now that we know, we can't hug our friends or loved ones as we did earlier. It's much of FaceTime, Zoom Calls, and teleconferencing. It is the only way of connecting with people. You must have sent your faraway kids or friends' mails and share the news using video calls. These are some of the coping skills that we learned in COVID-19.
Unleashing the Medicinal revolution
One of the lessons we are learning in this pandemic is the scientific community's work. They are trying and fighting hard to find the relief (vaccination) for this pandemic to put an end to all of it.
Previously, it used to take 5 to 20 years to create a vaccine for any dreadful disease. But, now, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the pharmaceutical companies such as Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute of India, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and many other such Pharmaceutical companies came up with vaccination just in 11 months. The process of drug development has changed forever; it became even faster.
Breakthroughs in the research: Supporting the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, it would have been more than a decade worth of research into mRNA vaccines that helps the humans cells to know how to make a particular protein that will help trigger the specific immune system. This vaccine finding research has overcome a lot of hurdles already, such as making sure that the mRNA will not invoke any inflammation in the body.
Nevertheless, it is very feasible to say that with improved technologies like now, soon, we might even treat incurable diseases and more. The mRNA technology can lead to a better flu vaccine to get quick updates as soon as the flu changes with the season. We can even develop the universal flu shot that will be effective for several years. Scientists are looking for vaccination for rabies, zika virus, and HIV. With faster and developed technology like now, it might be possible to achieve it. It can even be expected that now more mRNA-based vaccines might be approved in the next few years.
Can help in the long run: Shortly, the mRNA vaccine could also help regenerate muscle in the failing hearts and might also target the unique genetics of the individuals with severe cancer cases with a personalized cancer vaccine. Every cancer case is special with its genetics. Once the doctors are to sequence the cause of the tumor, they can use it to make a vaccine that will help the immune system fight it. Many more such vaccines can be prepared from the mRNA. It will prepare us for pandemics in the future.
However, in the meantime, we should use the vaccine that is available to us. Don't skip the vaccine doses that are available in most big cities such as New York, California, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and so on, as well as in small towns and villages. The COVID-19 vaccination is available to all above 18; you can book your slots and get your jab quickly. Also, don't forget mask-up; sanitize yourself while getting one.
Befriend the Trending Technologies
Coronavirus pandemic has mostly transferred our daily life to the online platform, from buying stuff to selling stuff; everything is to be done online, minimizing human contact. Folks trying online banking, buying groceries online, and medicines online will stay longer with it. It doesn't mean that we should forget the old conventional way, but we should adapt to the new modernized way.
Digitalization of everything: Digitalization has started a long time, but pandemic has given it a significant push. Before it was like, buy groceries from a supermarket or hypermarket, try the clothes and shoes in shopping malls before purchasing, visit the doctor personally to examine your health crisis, and see the most awaited movie in the theatre.
Arguably, all of this has been changing for the last few years; corona on board gave digitalization the necessary push. Handling the daily chores and lifestyle of people has now changed. Now everything is available online; we have to choose the items we want, put our address, pay the bill, that's it, the product will be delivered to your doorstep any minute.
We may cling to few in-real-life experiences, but it is apparent that the easy-to-use virtual tools are in demand. They are like a NEW DEFAULT.
Covid has shown us nothing else but how resilient and adaptable humans can be when nature and society force us to be so. We are forced to adapt to digitalization, learn about new technologies. This catastrophe is only the safest way to continue and live our lives hassle-free and stay connected with our loved ones.
It's not just video calls and TV streaming: Various applications for different uses doubled their earnings in this pandemic. For instance, in India, the Big Basket app for groceries, vegetables, and essentials delivery doubled their profits. Similarly, the food delivery apps the medicine delivery apps have been in high demand since last year.
Not just it, as the offices are shifted to work from home, and people are working from home offices, the video conferencing tools such as Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet are hugely used for meetings. In the financial sector, the apps such as PayPal, Google Pay, PhonePe saw a considerable use of their apps for paying bills online and offline using QR codes.
This doesn't end here; every sector has started its business digitally and started helping and serving people online—the health department provides consultation using telemedicine or online consultation. Similarly, insurance coverage has expanded for remote appointments. This will bring out even more effective results after the pandemic is over.
There is surprisingly increased use of financial technology in older people. Well, the situation has forced us to take the online platform to be safe and secure at home and still access the things that we want.
Save money for the Next Crisis
Last year, a number of people lost their jobs, and many people saw a cut in their salary. Most people have relied on their savings to sustain their livings. Many people have even relied on their retirement savings to put away their emergency needs.
It is being reported that before the pandemic, nearly 4 out of 10 households did not have the money required to cover the unexpected expenses. Then the economic crisis hit every country badly. India saw a GDP contraction by 7.3 percent in 2020-21. By last October, it was reported that 52 percent of workers were reporting deduction in wages, reduced hours, even layoffs. It hit badly for every employment sector. Many people have taken a loan or made an early withdrawal from their retirement plan or intended to do it.
Pandemic has given us hard times and serves as an alarm bell. It rang for every middle-class people. However, many workers are caught off guard without any savings for an emergency. This catastrophe has laid bare so many weaknesses in our safety net.
Companies come as savior: Companies can be the biggest savior at this time. One solution is workplace innovation that has started catching on, such as providing work from home set up or reimbursing for it, monthly relaxation time for better mental health, and creating an environment that will motivate the employees to work securely and in a healthy surrounding.
However, the employee should spend the earnings carefully and save a short portion of the earnings as savings that will help during these crisis situations. Funding the emergency savings account with the automatic payroll deduction is key to success. At times, you may feel that you don't have enough money to put aside as savings. However, if you set aside very little money every pay period, you might not feel the pinch.
Say yes to new beginnings: All thanks to quarantine and forced frugality, savings rate- the average percentage of people's income left after personal spendings and taxes has skyrocketed early last year. It is at peak to an unprecedented 35 percent approximately. As soon as the lockdown started, there is a steep decline since then; it is mostly in 15 percent now. With the pandemic came the economic crisis, making people aware of the importance of savings, which forced people to save and cut down unnecessary expenses.
Indisputable benefits of telemedicine
The direct face-to-face communication with the health care people regarding our issues has changed to face-to-face virtual communication.
Apart from corona, many other diseases and sicknesses that people are fighting with require consulting doctors. For instance, older people with diabetes or high blood pressure might need to visit doctors for regular consultation (once every month). Their life revolves around this constant calendar for in-person appointments.
With the pandemic ongoing, the idea of direct doctor consultation has been tossed out of the window, and telemedicine became the new way of consultation. The timing is fortuitous, but telemedicine is proved to be a godsend gift, especially for people with chronic health conditions.
Goodbye to routine visitations: Patients can now sign up for their visitation online anytime they want and consult the doctor from the safety of their homes through video calls. The medical records can be maintained through the online medium. The result can be passed on through emails. Remote monitoring helps to recognize early sickness when there is a need for adjustments or treatment.
Easy accessible: The pandemic has made us realize the need for more home-based medical help for chronic diseases. But it takes a person's willingness as well as a lot of gear. For instance, the Bluetooth-enabled blood pressure machine checks the blood pressure; your consulting doctor can check it whenever required and analyze the data. People are getting access to the equipment, and the health care system is already ready to handle all the data.
Experimenting with group visitation: A lot of healthcare service providers are experimenting with group visitation. Such as, if a few of the patients have type 2 diabetes, then instead of spending few minutes with each patient to talk about it, the doctor can arrange a group call, talk about it with all the patients at once, and give consultation about their diet, exercise, and medication. It has been seen that some of the patients had excellent tips and the sessions are very interactive. It turned out to be an exclusive type of YouTube channel or routine. Group visits like this are continuing to be there in the future, becoming a part of the daily routine for people with chronic sickness.
It is like having a doctor's visitation at your home.
Managing chronic health conditions is not just about getting in your car and driving to your doctor's office! Taking care of your health in these situations can be very difficult, but telemedicine services have made it easy.
Our cities will change forever.
Well, this is the truth that we all have to accept. Our lives, cities, and countries are going to be changed completely. It is a huge watershed moment in how we live, how we organize, and how we move in society. These changes are going to be long-lasting.
Lockdown, shutdown, mask up, social distance: all these things have changed our lives unexplainably; the effects of these will remain and last long. Things will change! This will be the new normal. Crowds have become an enemy, public transport and metros have become a health risk, packed offices and towers are for a big no, and a home in the suburbs away from the crowd is a blessing.
Even the offices and work culture will change a lot. Many workers are now adapted to it, with offices doing full-time work from home for the past year. Many employees have the very least interest in returning to the regular job life. The commuting time is being saved, and cubicles are replaced with flexible home offices, where they can work from any room. WFH has given the flexibility to employees with ample outdoor space to sit, having lunches with family, spending time with family while working.
The companies are also saving a ton of money, as there is a cut on the utilities, workspace rent, and all the extra office expenses. The productivity is the same, and the people get to be at their home and work. Apart from this, a lot of office expenses are saved if the offices stretch their sustainability.
Public spaces will be exclusively for the public. For instance, the restaurants want to set up their dining area outdoor; they will likely gain more customers. As avoiding closed areas with crowds has become a routine, outdoor dining set up for a restaurant will work well. A majority amount of people will want to have their vehicle than opting for public transport. A record-breaking number of people will be too cautious, and self-care will be the priority, so as the wellness of their loved ones. The idea of social space and maintaining hygiene will increase, and people will always be ready with their personal protective equipment.