What we have learned from COVID-19 so far
We’ve had a turbulent year this year, however, we have had many lessons that we can benefit from, today we are going to discuss three things we have learned from COVID-19 which are namely:
- Valuing time and family
COVID-19 has affected us all in different ways, rich, poor, young, old, every country on the face of Earth. It is not shocking to find that it has also affected Hajj this year for much of the world, most people usually save money for a long period of time, for some it may take decades just to perform the fifth pillar of Islam, Hajj. Sadly, many of those who put down a deposit or were confirmed to attend this year, could not attend the major pilgrimage this year due to COVID-19!
Our deen helps us to find closure when the unexpected happens, ultimately everything is out of our hands and in the control of our Creator. Destiny (Qadr) being a pillar of faith, helps us to not question why something may have happened as our destinies are written.
Looking at how the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah responded to COVID-19, despite being forced to change their original plans; rather than cancelling Hajj altogether – they adapted to the situation and embraced the changes to make the most of the situation, likewise when putting forward job applications and being faced with obstacles in our career; rather than giving up we can also make the most out of those experiences i.e.: when rejected for a job looking at the reasons why we did not qualify for a position and focusing on overcoming those issues. Take a deep breath, turn to your Creator for support and assistance, remain confident of your skills, and continue to apply. What’s yours will come!
Valuing time and family
Before the pandemic had spread and the government had issued a lockdown, many organisations and workspaces were forced to close for the safety of their own staff. In addition, some of us had lost jobs and others now had to adapt to a new paradigm of remote working.
From my own experiences, I had worked at a pharmaceuticals company, it typically would take me up to 2 hours to get to work, up to 4 hours of my entire day would be spent commuting to earn a living each day. I would take three London tube lines and a bus to get to where I needed to go! In hindsight, this would have shaved 20 hours off public transport usage for me every week while cutting down on my travel expenses.
Ultimately, this meant that not only was I now able to afford a longer lie-in under my cosy duvet, I was saving some extra cash in my wallet doing so. Perhaps this doesn’t sound so bad after all? I can imagine many of the readers stopping here and saying to me, “well, wait until you have kids!”. I respect parents in this situation who have had to either supervise or even homeschool their children whilst balancing their own careers in order to bring food on the table. However, with September just passing us, most public schools have reopened giving parents back some of the freedom which they had lost due to overbalancing many responsibilities at home. This means that hours of the day may be given back to help focus on other commitments that weren’t possible while children were studying from home.
So stepping back, how have I seen the value in my time? Well as I recalled earlier, 20 hours of my week were handed back to me with no need for me to dress up and commute to work. Instead of being the first one to leave the house, I can finally eat breakfast with my parents, I can get an extra hour of sleep in; which has seen several mental and physical health benefits including:
- Less hair loss
- Better memory retention
- Quicker reaction and recall times
- A reduction in my overall stress levels
On a typical day, I would arrive home after 7 pm and be the last one to eat, and now dinners with the family are more frequent. It ultimately feels like I am having much more exposure with my family and it’s definitely great overall although I do somewhat miss my ‘work-family’. But I stop and reflect on this question. “Why do I work?”, often it’s to have food in my belly, a roof over my head and to come home to a family that has access to their essential necessities. I work to provide for my family and now lockdown has allowed me to keep closer to the reason why I work.
During the early days of the lockdown, many of us were confined to our homes while only going out due to necessity. For a lot of people, this whole experience may have seemed to have been unfortunate with the closure of several mosques and group iftar parties.
However, though the mosques were closed and the Ramadhaan spirit may have felt different this year, many Muslims made the effort to re-ignite the very same spirit from their homes.
Although a core aspect of Ramadhaan is the community, many people this year had to spend it alone or with their families and for first time in a long time, solitude created the perfect environment to intimately connect with the creator, allowing us to namely reflect upon:
- Rediscovering ourselves
- Resolving our faults
- Learning a new skill
With all of the valuable lessons I have learnt by far, this has been the most impactful lesson we learned from COVID 19
Now it’s your turn, what have you learned from COVID-19?