STOP THE CLOCK AND SMELL THE FLOWERS!

Over the past two months we have had time to reflect and outline the positives we can take from COVID-19.

I, for one, have thought a lot about how I am feeling throughout all of this madness. And I believe sometimes tough times make us stronger. We have had to endure financial, emotional and psychological effects throughout this difficult time but these challenging times can also offer opportunities to grow stronger, such as developing new skills, drawing on strengths we may not be aware of, and learning new ways to help one another.

The pandemic has also made us think and review our lives and our lifestyles. I have really very much enjoyed the peace and quiet and not hearing a motorway in the distance of our home, which has been a constant buzz for as long I can remember.

An appreciation of nature is a blessing too. The birds seem louder and tamer. We even have a little blue tit nesting in a box in the tree and linked up a camera to observe her nesting habits. We never had the time before to listen to her knock, knock knocking on the entrance or see her make her nest of feathers and twigs.  It has been such a pleasure to see nature blossom and an enjoyable pastime to watch her fly in and out.

I’ve also had a less busy diary. I’m not having to jump – literally - from meeting to meeting, or rush from engagement to engagement! For me business, thankfully, has been continuous.

I’ve also discovered how enjoyable reading and cooking are, given there is no rush to do either. Before COVID-19 I would rarely have time to read a book or cook a homemade meal, but with life moving at a slower pace, both of these activities have given me more time to reflect and enjoy my leisure time.

We’ve also started talking to one another more. Many of us didn’t know our next door neighbours but this has now changed through local community and What’s App groups. I’ve seen more chatting across the street and ‘good mornings’ by everyone I pass when I take my dog Maisey for a walk.  We seem to have grown kinder and, I know from my own local community, we are stronger. As chair of our local Residents’ Association, I have offered a volunteering help service for those who need shopping or prescriptions collecting or just a little chat if they live on their own and that contact with neighbours I didn’t know before has been very rewarding.

I hope that the COVID-19 crisis has made us become less materialistic and re-evaluate the things that are really important.

Do we really need social media for our pleasure?  Or can we not just use this wonderful technology for our work? We know it works for business but I am not sure sitting at a computer each night or weekend for hours is really that entertaining or healthy! I have had time to go on my twice weekly bike rides, walk the dog a lot more and generally chill out, which I never used to do! And having to queue at supermarkets has made me a lot more patient – something I needed to embrace 50 years ago!

The virus has given us all an opportunity to get to know people in our community and what a wonderful legacy this will be in the years to come.

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