5 Things Covid Taught Us
2020 has been such a whirlwind for me, the least like what I expected it to be. I’m sure it has been the same for you. I had just turned 25 in February, was newly single and decided to be for a while after being in bad long term relationships back to back since the age of 18. This meant I was free to do whatever I wanted to do for the first time in my life! 2020 was meant to be a year of travel, seizing opportunities and just living my best life – that lasted for about a month.
“Living my best life”. What did that even mean to me? All I cared about pre Covid-19 was catching up with all the experiences I might’ve missed out these years by being overly considerate about my then partners’ feelings. I did not really bother if it wasn’t something I wanted to do, I just wanted to do it. But then freedom comes with a price doesn’t it? I started realising that as exhilarating things were they weren’t necessarily the things I enjoyed doing. I’ve always been someone who needed purpose as motivation in everything I did in my life. I was becoming less of that person.
When the “Circuit Breaker” was announced in Singapore on 7th April, I felt so lost. It was all so sudden. I couldn’t do any of the things I had initially planned to do and being a makeup artist, this meant no clients. I could no longer work and working was something which made me really happy as I loved dolling people up and making them feel good about themselves.
I lazed around for a good 3 weeks. 3 weeks of feeling sorry for myself, not taking care of my wellbeing, being uncertain and upset about everything which was going on around the world. My body clock was crazy and as a result of that I was awake most nights thinking and reflecting while everything was extra quiet.
I started making a list of everything I appreciated about myself and a list of everything I disliked about myself. The appreciation list was seemingly shorter then the dislike list. As I started trying to make the latter longer, I found myself being more grateful for the simplest things which I took for granted all these years. Whatever I disliked, I started coming up with ways I could “fix” if not improve on them. If I couldn’t, I simply had to accept them as a part of me. I started realising how human I was. But being human also meant I was capable of making a decision to learn from my mistakes.
Makeup and fashion has always played a huge role in my self confidence but it also helped me hide the things within that I refused to face.
Here are 5 things Covid has taught me:
1. Spending habits
Staying home for 3 months meant I had almost no use for all the things I had spent my money on. I had so many things which I had bought and my room was so cluttered! I “Marie Kondo”ed my space with the time I had. As I did that, I started taking a look at where and how I spent my money. I always wished I could do more for the needy, turns out I could. I started looking for NGOs which needed help especially during these times and did my best for them. Each time I wanted to shop for something unnecessary, I donated instead.
This taught me that it was a choice. It always was.
2. Being comfortable in my own skin
I was the only in my family who had bad skin. Looking back now, it wasn’t that bad but it took a large hit on my self worth and confidence. I started using makeup at the age of 13. I had to find ways to make basic drugstore products for me and my skin tone. It was difficult as a student and as there weren’t many products made for me.
Staying home meant no makeup for me. It was the first time in almost 10 years I had gone makeup free for such a long period of time. I started feeling better about myself and accepting how I looked. I started using so much lesser makeup than I used to as these were no longer flaws I had to get completely rid of, I actually liked my face more as I focused on good skincare and took care of it.
3. Mental Wellbeing
With having tons of time on hand, it meant tons of over thinking. It was really difficult to feel good and happy when the world is in chaos. I did my best to come up with a routine which worked for me to keep me sane. Turns out, I can have many feelings at the same time. I started looking at silver linings more and felt more positive. Which then made me a much happier person on the inside. I made sure to meditate each night before I slept for exactly 8 hours and do yoga every morning when I woke up.
This taught me to be thankful for being healthy and alive.
4. Exercise and Diet
Prior to Covid-19, I had started on my fitness journey. I recognised I was an emotional eater and had gained some weight which made me feel really bad about myself. I got back on track with that. I counted my macros and calories. I made sure the meals I ate were the food I enjoyed and what my body needed for it to function. I realised that my mood was much better when I cut down on sugary and oily snacks. I started cooking more and actually savouring my favourite food when I did indulge in them. I started enjoying exercising cos it was something I did because I actually wanted to take care of this body I was given and not take it for granted.
5. Cultivating Healthy Relationships
Staying home also meant no social life. It also meant I spent more time with my family. We cooked, exercised and watched movies together. I was glad that I had already cut off people who weren’t good for me long before. This meant that the friends I had were truly those who’s company and friendship I enjoyed. We stayed in touch via video calls and by sending each other food deliveries. We all became much closer and vulnerable with each other.
This taught me quality over quantity.
My most important take away from Covid 19 is that the most important relationship I had to have was with myself. Everything else I had in my life was a privilege which I should never take for granted. Almost like whipped cream on top of my coffee. I could not look for fulfilment in others and it had to come from within. I also learnt how to adapt and make the best out of the curve balls life throws at me.
Not bad for a quarter-life crisis huh?
Written by Ariella Sneha Naidu, Makeup Artist