Covid-19 can teach us about mindfulness by helping align our lives with our values.
What Covid-19 can teach us about mindfulness
Mid-March, 2020. States across the country announced massive economic shutdowns in order to slow the spread of Covid-19. We ran to the store and bought up toilet paper and canned goods, then we hunkered down at home, yelled at our children to get back to “school” (the kitchen table), and wiped down every package from the grocery store with bleach.
In the months that have passed since then, so much about our world has changed. Everyone wonders when 2020 will ever end. It’s been 7 months that feels like an eternity. Many people have been tragically affected by the loss of life and health. My heart goes out to all who have been affected in these terrible ways.
In the midst of this tragedy, there are wonderfully beautiful things that have arisen, if we just take the time to look carefully and mindfully. Here are a few financial-oriented examples of people turning challenges into reasons to be grateful during these very difficult months:
- During March/April, American’s savings rates (link opens in new tab) increased significantly due to the lockdown. Some of my clients used that savings to make significant payments to student loans, pay off credit cards, and accumulate rainy day funds.
- My business owner clients have shown resourcefulness that reinforces my view that an entrepreneurial spirit is one of the backbones strengthening our American culture. They gave themselves pay cuts or paid themselves last. They offered work-from-home stipends to help their employees continue working, from home. They pivoted their business models and developed new ways of delivering their services – all over an incredibly short period of time. I asked some of my clients the question, What would it take for the pandemic to be the greatest thing that happened to your business? And many of them answered by making their businesses stronger and more profitable than ever. They figured out a need consumers had, and developed creative ways of meeting that need.
- Some of my clients expressed a strong desire to give back, beyond anything they had previously articulated. They gave loved ones meaningful gifts. They gave their time and financial assistance to specific causes or charities. In recognition of their own blessings, they wanted to offer up to others that blessing. Personally, I’ve given money to several organizations and causes during this time, including local restaurants Go Fund Me pages, the Council for Economic Education (link opens in new tab) and Association of African American Financial Advisors (link opens in new tab).
- Many people are changing their lives to align more with their values. My friend moved to rural Wisconsin for the space and outdoor recreation, after wanting to leave the city for years. Another family is moving to the south to be closer to her parents and sister. Still another family is making a retirement dream of living abroad their reality now while in their 40s. Personally, I spent almost 3 months this summer working from our family’s lake home where my son was cared for by my parents and played with cousins every day, building relationships that I hope will last a lifetime.
- More people than ever seem to be concerned about being good stewards of their financial affairs. They have old employer retirement programs; they have recently inherited money; they have a job that remains stable despite all the year’s disruptions; they are starting a business after losing their job due to Covid-19. The uncertainty caused by Covid-19 has prompted these individuals to reach out to a financial advisor to talk about their personal situation. Now more than ever it seems important to get financial affairs in order. And more people reaching out means more families I might be able to help.
It can be easy to get down about so many things happening in the world right now – the world can feel like a scary place, filled with uncertainty and hate. But if we look a little closer and deeper, beyond social media and attention-getting headlines, we can see the good.
My America is made up of neighbors who rake each other’s leaves and hold the door when my arms are full of groceries; daughters who move across the country to be closer to their parents; grandparents who give up their free time to help their grandchildren with remote learning; and kind people everywhere. It just takes a bit of mindfulness to see it.