10 life lessons the lockdown learned me

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Kevin Mangelschots

The lockdown has taught me, as well as many people I think, many teachings. Some good and some bad.

These are the 10 life lessons that I personally find most important.

Lessons Learned statement on paper note pad. Office desk with electronic devices and computer, wood table from above, concept image for blog title or header image. Aged vintage color look.

  • Don’t take the simple things for granted

    As a matter of fact, don’t take anything for granted.

    Your freedom to go where and when you want to. Being able to see your beloved family and friends whenever you choose to. Your health. All these things are often taken for granted without a grain of thought. (I know I did in the past.)

    We regularly take all of those things for granted, even though all of these can easily be taken away from you, outside your personal control.

    The coronavirus lockdown has ‘only’ been for about two months, and it already feels like an eternity for almost everyone. It feels very strange for us not being able to lead our usual lives and not being able to see each other, as humans are in fact very social by nature.

    In the future, we could be facing even longer periods of lockdown due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) or other health related issues that life throws at us down the road.

    So I think we should take a moment to think about all the things and people we love. Make sure to tell them you love them while you can, because we never know when the road that is life will end. We are only on this earth for a short while, so make it count and leave it a better place!

  • It’s normal to feel afraid/insecure at times

    Image of a woman showing signs of insecurity while looking afraid.

    Uncertainty makes us feel uncomfortable and possibly anxious. If this anxiousness is taken too far, it can turn into fear.

    This is a very basic human response to stress. Which is basically how uncertainty makes us feel, stressed. We often feel this way because we can’t predict what will happen in the future, thus leading to even more fear and anxiety.

    In order to combat anxiety and/or fear, we must step into the unknown, which is the skill or thing we don’t yet fully posses. But we should do so in small, manageable steps in order not to get overwhelmed/over stressed and thus, even more fearful.

    So gradual, voluntarily exposure to the thing/things we are anxious/afraid about helps us to combat and even curing this fear!

    An example of anxiousness/fear is social anxiety. Not thinking about it is not the cure. Neither is hoping it goes away on its own, because it won’t. Rather, the cure in my opinion is to learn the necessary social skills, so you know you can communicate appropriately with others.

    Which will in turn lead to you being able to better predict how social interactions will go and how you should respond appropriately. This will in turn reduce anxiety/fear.

  • Cherish your loved ones

    Love and kisses with a symbolic drawing of a heart with three crosses drawn in chalk on a red background with copy space for your Valentine greeting.

    Perhaps the most critical of these ten life lessons. Because what good is living without love?

    You, I, and everything else on this earth are only here for a fixed amount of time. And there’s no telling when time will run out for any of us. Not everyone is blessed with a loving home, a loving family or having any good friends at all really.

    We are social animals who can only thrive when we have meaningful social interactions. On a side note, both introverts and extroverts need social interaction to be happy, they just differ in the amount of social interaction they require and can manage.

    So know that feeling appreciated and loved is a basic and essential need for your own and other people’s well-being. Never miss a chance to appreciate each other!

  • Quarantine is necessary to protect ourselves

    A sign reading, “sorry we're closed”.

    The coronavirus lockdown was necessary to protect ourselves and other people from the coronavirus reaching critical mass. Fun fact: apparently the virus has been around for months before it got recently recognized.

    In the future, more lockdowns might be needed to safeguard our health. We don’t like it, it’s hard and taxing on our mental health. We feel restricted, isolated and lonely.

    But despite all of this, I urge everyone to follow the advice of professionals and maybe above all, use your own mind in order to think logically and critically for your own, and others sake as well. Which you should do for all things, not only for the coronavirus.

  • Time is ticking for all of us. We are not immortal.

    Image of a clock, with the words, 'don't waste your time' written on the notebook beside it.

    We will all die someday. This is the harsh reality of life. But at the same time, there are positive things to be found in it as well. It is what gives our life meaning.

    To accomplish something valuable during our lifetime. To love each other dearly and reach the goals we set for ourselves.

  • We don’t know what the future has in store for us

    We could get another case of the coronavirus, we can suffer a number of health issues and so on. The reality is that we don’t know what the future has in store for us.

    What we can control is learning how to deal with this uncertainty. Realizing and accepting that there are things in life we just can’t control, no matter how hard we try. The coronavirus lockdown being a necessary part to protect our society was unavoidable this time around. No matter how unpleasant it is.

  • Try to make the bad things better and the good things even better

    Image of a note lying on a wooden table saying, “positive mind, positive vibes, positive life”.

    There are always things that you can personally improve as an individual. There are most likely things that you have been avoiding or been doing poorly that would be beneficial for you and the people around you if you did it better.

    Of course, the first step in fixing something is admitting the things you’ve been avoiding and admitting the harsh truth that you may have been denying/avoiding it out of fear and anxiety.

    There is, however, also a very hopeful and powerful message in this admission. Admitting to yourself you haven’t been doing the best you can is very hard on our ego, which serves to protect our self-image. Which if you think about it is something we desperately try to protect.

    Because we feel this self-image we’ve created of ourselves is what who we are. Admitting we have been doing things poorly or not as good as we possibly can, means you are taking responsibility and is the hardest piece in the road to improvement. By admitting you haven’t been giving it your all, you can start working on actually fixing it.

    Of course, the things that you are already doing well like helping others for example can almost always be improved. You can for example broaden your range and try to help more people instead of only the people you know well. Or perhaps you could visit your family more often, which you know they would probably very much desire.

  • Small improvements will lead to big improvements

    Words written are, “consistency is” with a key displayed afterwards.

    Improvements, no matter how small, add up quickly. It kind of creates a snowball effect.

    Take for example, a snowball running down a snow-covered hillside. As it rolls, the ball will pick up more snow, gaining more mass and surface area, and picking up even more snow and momentum as it rolls along.

    It’s exactly the same thing with making improvements in every aspect of life. Whether it’s health, social, personal or work related.

    The reason we start with small improvements is, so we don’t get overwhelmed by anxiety and stress.

  • I realized that I had to change my life

    Image of a circle with the sentence “where the magic happens” written in it and another smaller circle with the sentence “your comfort zone” written beneath it.

    There were things that I’ve been denying to myself or been putting off for way too long. These specific things had been impacting my life negatively. Giving me a lot of anxiety and stress in the process.

    During this time of the coronavirus lockdown, I had a lot of spare time to self reflect. And I came to the conclusion that up until now my ego, pride, and arrogance didn’t allow me to see the truth. It stopped me from seeing the reason that I had been avoiding those things.

    I found that the simple reason I’ve been avoiding these things were both fear and anxiety. Truth be told, I was terrified. However, I also understood that in order to change, and become better at something, I had to voluntarily expose myself to the very things that were making me afraid and anxious.

    So instead of making excuses or rationalizing my previous behavior, I went on and started working on the things holding me back. One small step at a time. It isn’t entirely fixed, but you would be amazed how far you can come in only a short amount of time if you put your mind to it!

  • I realized what a responsibility I have in life

    I’m not going to go into the exact details of what happened to me, but let me just tell you this. Not only that, but I got into a severe depression due to some bad decisions I took.

    This depression got so severe that I needed to take medication, see professional counseling (seriously, if you are gravely depressed search help for your own sake!) and work on improving myself very hard.

    However, I only started to work on myself and my depression after I suddenly saw what disasters my actions had caused to my family. I could see my parents looking tired, sad, not talking much. Needless to say, it was me who was affecting them in a very negative way. That’s the harsh reality.

    Instead of indulging myself into self-pity I manned up, realized that even though I didn’t feel like getting better, I had the duty and responsibility to get better if not for myself, at least I could try to not make my family’s life miserable.

    Because what right do I have to impose my misery upon others?

Final note

Image of the word, “conclusions” written on a black backboard with white chalk.

Thank you for reading my 10 life lessons the lockdown has taught me, and I hope it can be of some use to you right now, or somewhere in the future!

If you enjoyed this list, then you might be interested in these 100 life lessons I wish I learned sooner.