As we hit the anniversary of COVID-19 in the US, I wanted to take a moment and reflect on the impact this monumental year has had on our collective mental health… including the good, bad and in-between.
This last year has shown us the power of collective experience. Rarely do we have a global experience in our lifetime that impacts each and everyone on us on such drastic levels.(At least one that we’re so conscious of and is so long lasting.) And while COVID-19 has in some way impacted us all, how it has impacted us varies.
What have we learned:
Humans are incredibly adaptable
It’s hard to imagine adapting so quickly to something so life changing, but many of us quickly did. It’s believed that adaptability is an inherent quality of being human. It’s also a skill we can hone. If you reflect back on the last year, you’ll probably see multiple ways in which you adapted to the world around you — wearing a mask, picking up groceries, zoom calls instead of in person meetings, virtual dates etc. While we often feel set in our ways and find comfort in the predictable, it’s important to recognize that even in today’s world, humans can still be adaptable.
Humans can be resilient
In a survey published in Dec. 2020, it was found that some humans overestimate their own resilience. The survey found that while 83% of people believed themselves to have high resiliency skills, 57% scored as ‘resilient.’ However in the last year we’ve seen an incredible amount of resilience. From people coming together to coordinate with one another, to adapting to life changes, the power of human resiliency is everywhere.
Humans can be compassionate, empathetic and kind
Compassion, empathy and kindness are powerful tools that connect us to one another. In the last year we saw these examples of compassion, empathy and kindness through neighbors helping neighbors, family members sending care packages to each other, friends calling with words of support. We saw communities rally around causes and disasters, and donors making sure their local food bank stayed open. And while we saw other expressions of emotion different from compassion, empathy and kindness, it’s these three things that weave us together during good times and bad.
Anxiety is real
When the pandemic hit the US our country was filled with uncertainty for months. We knew little about…