Like most of the world, the impact of COVID-19 has been a game changer. I was furloughed, unable to see friends and family and I had no business coming through the door which I’ll admit affected my mental health. ⁠ So today, instead of thinking about the negatives I am taking time to reflect on the positives and more importantly what it has taught me.

The Wonder of Learning

A few months ago now I mentioned the importance of learning and why we should strive to continually develop our knowledge. In fact, it was looking back through that post that inspired me to write this one.

Jumping back into learning was one of the first things I did when I became furloughed. I needed to keep my brain active, so I expanded my knowledge thanks to some free courses on the web. I can now say I know a lot more about mental health, mentoring, coaching and randomly the impact of the Icarus myth.

My time in lockdown also gave me the time to refocus and recertify in content marketing and general inbound methodologies. The social media gods also lent a hand by introducing new features and in Facebook’s case a whole new look. Which leads me on to positive number 2.

The Power of Social Media

I honestly don’t know what I would have done without social media during lockdown. It became my gateway to the world a lot more than it used to and I fully believe it will continue to be. For context, I currently live over 100 miles away from my family and the vast majority of my friends. Throughout lockdown social media was my most powerful tool, it ensured that I could remain in contact with everyone. In fact, I have remained in frequent contact with people way more than I did since before lockdown and it’s given me a sense of community.

If there has one thing that Social Media has proven over this period is that it can build, support and connect communities. It’s what I will take away from all this when all this is done, that despite everything people came together to support, help and guide each other through this. It was with that sense of community that I became inspired to play my part, and when the opportunity arose I decided to become a Moray Wellbeing Hub champion to help others on their mental health journey.

The Impact of Self-Care

Like a lot of people before lockdown, I focused more on the world around me than myself. Then when lockdown hit I got anxiety about well everything but me being me I pushed it down. It was just another part of life. However, once I tapped into learning and developing my skills I realised that COVID presented the perfect time for me to focus on what I could control. Me. So I did, in the best way I knew how. Get back into doing what I enjoy.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I love to read, something that had fallen through the cracks over the past few years. So once I had my realisation I ordered some new books and set myself sometime every few days to switch off, get cosy and read and I did. In the first month or so of lockdown, I had completed two books and made a dent in my read-through of The Illiad, I felt like teenage me again. By reading I found myself able to take in the world around me. I was able to relax.

Crochet Blanket

When I wasn’t reading or learning, I restarted another hobby. Crochet. I had briefly crocheted a few years ago but like reading didn’t keep it up. So to keep my creative juices flowing I took it up again and within 5 months I have gone from struggling to make rows to crocheting blankets and amigurumi toys. I found a passion for something other than my professional life and with that my mental health improved. Plus I got to continue learning and connected with a crochet community online (did you see what I did there).

As I said at the start of this post, COVID has been a game-changer. I was furloughed, unable to see friends and family and I had no business coming through the door but despite it all, I’ve come out stronger. I’ve learned more, connected with the world rediscovered passions. What about you?

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