There’s no denying COVID-19 has hit the world hard. Even if you’ve been lucky enough not to get sick, you’re likely still dealing with emotional effects of the virus. Whether it’s feeling disappointment when your activities are cancelled or dealing with “less than” syndrome while at home, the pandemic has certainly been challenging mental health-wise.
It’s particularly difficult for individuals who had big plans for 2020, like a wedding or a long-awaited international vacation. Even though we’re not sure when they will happen, we’re left looking forward to those epic parts of our lives. Once coronavirus cases subside, having a mega celebration with family and friends will feel amazing. Hopping on a plane and jet setting across Europe will seem like a dream come true. Even attending a live concert will be a luxury when life returns to the way it was before.
But our lives are made up of much more than the monumental times. Most of our days are spent in the in-between — those small moments that happen amidst the more memorable ones.
Suzanne Wylde, a holistic coach and author, also pointed out the significance of noticing the little things in life. “I find that it is often in the small things that we find true happiness, because they are usually unencumbered by the weight of our expectations or other pressure,” she said. “As less can go wrong and it is less complicated, it is much more about us having a pure experience in the moment.”
Unfortunately, due to COVID, we’ve lost the ability to experience some of these small moments. Yet that also means there are plenty of little things to look forward to post-pandemic.
While regulations and opening phases are different and changing everywhere, here are 10 small things to anticipate when the world regains a sense of stability akin to pre-COVID levels:
- High-fiving someone at the gym
- Seeing a stranger’s smile
- Giving somebody a hug
- Trying on new clothes while shopping (remember when we could use dressing rooms in stores?)
- Seeing a new film at the movie theater
- Browsing at the library
- Having an in-person conversation with a friend
- Sitting in a crowded restaurant or bar
- Seeing real people — not cardboard cutouts — in the stands at a televised sporting event
- Going to a water park
Now more than ever, we need to keep hope alive, even for these simple things. “I believe we all naturally understand the need for hope and how to feel it — it is built-in,” Wylde said. But these days, “we now have to protect it in increasingly intelligent ways.” This can be as simple as avoiding spending loads of time reading the news each day.
Even if you’re feeling down in the dumps these days, Wylde noted that it’s normal and healthy to feel this way sometimes. “[T]ry to remember that experiencing negative emotions is healthy and natural, but try to orient yourself by the positive ones,” she said.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, and there’s plenty to look forward to — both big and small things — on the other side. For right now, we can simply take it one day at a time.