We learn something new every day. The only issue is: most fresh lessons never sink deep until an unpleasant situation hits, and next, we have to sit and then pay close attention. And this is what’s playing out this period. The pandemic has kept us home—with enough time to brood over some of life’s endless lessons.

If you are like me, then you’ve most likely developed several redefined thought patterns this period and might have dug out a few fresh perspectives about life—including new views of the things and people around you. You’ve probably discovered some of your hidden strengths, too (and a few weaknesses you never knew existed).

According to Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.” So, by paying attention to the profound lessons flying around us, it’s certain that we won’t remain the same after the pandemic passes—but will become much better.

Outlined below are three lessons I’ve learned so far during the nationwide lockdown (and I’m sure you might have learned, too).

1. Memories are a gold gem, and you need lots of them

Being in quarantine or self-isolation is nothing close to a funfair. One study involving 219 people quarantined during the SARS epidemic found that 28.9% and 31.2% of these respondents exhibited symptoms of depression (and even PTSD, for persons who stayed longer in quarantine). So, in this period when social distancing and isolation have gradually become our default lifestyle, one thing (amidst several others) is sure to keep us through the tough times: lovely memories.

I received a phone call one evening from a friend. Although we often hung out, the lockdown has kept us away for several weeks. While I expected her to share her stay-at-home experiences so far, she rather shared memories of some fantastic moments we had together.

For about half an hour, she talked about our routine walks, our lengthy evening conversations, our seldom arguments, and the endless inconveniences she had caused me over the past year. Although she initially had a bad day, she explained how bringing back some good memories prompted a positive mood-shift—making her super-productive afterward. According to her, the good memories kept her going.

2. Your friends value you but might not tell you to the face

We all have friends with whom we share the bulk of our time. But unfortunately, it’s only a few of these friends that appreciate our companionship and acknowledge the diverse roles we play in their lives. Others act like we mean little to them. Now, this leaves us to wonder: do most of these friends care about us? They do!

Social distancing has left me with a new view about relationships—one of which is the realization that most of our friends value us even as much as we value them. Have you noticed the recent spike in video call requests, chats via instant messaging, and “just checking up” emails? Well, this is a sign that lots of people (including our friends) care hugely about us. Maybe it only took the pandemic to have them admit it.

3. You don’t need extra time, but a healthy obsession

Having insufficient time has long been our default excuse when we are unable to complete (or even begin) specific tasks. We always believe that if only we could get some extra time, then we would handle more tasks (and probably tick all checkboxes on our daily to-do list). Well, it turns out that we’ve only been deceiving ourselves all along.

The pandemic has left most of us with a lot of spare time. But if my guess is right, you’ve probably made no sizable progress with self-improvement lately. This proves that our inability to do some extra beneficial tasks (like learning a new language, writing a book, learning to code, etc.) isn’t ultimately because of our rigid schedule. We only probably have little or no obsession with these activities. The truth is, if we have a burning passion for something, then we will devote our time to it—regardless of whether the time is abundant.

Wrapping things up

There’s no doubt that the “new normal” isn’t favoring our mental health. But while we endure the discomfort and pray that things get better quickly, we can always seize this period to learn a few life lessons. This conscious practice is essential because one thing is sure: the trying times will pass quickly, and a new chapter will unfold where we must apply all the lessons we gathered—during the long break. So seize the moment.