2020 was a year like no other. We saw the devastation caused by covid-19. We witnessed political instability in many countries, economic recessions, and social disarray.
But amid the chaos, we also found hope, new ideas, different ways of thinking about the world at large and ourselves. We became better.
As we start the new year, let us look at how these changes have affected our lives in the areas of work, travel, and health.
Work: Virtual Services and Micro-businesses
Innovation often comes at times of great need. More than five thousand years ago in ancient Mesopotamia, people needed an efficient way to build pots, pans, and other containers to carry and serve food. As a result, the first pottery wheel was invented. Three hundred years later, someone realized it could also be used for transportation for chariots and other vehicles.
At the end of the 19th century, people saw the shortcomings of the telegraph. They realized there had to be a better way to communicate important messages between individuals in far-off locations. Thus, the telephone came to life.
Today, human beings worldwide are experiencing yet another need, the need to work to survive. The covid-19 global pandemic has left millions unemployed and thousands of corporations bankrupt.
But people are resilient. They find ways to flourish no matter the environment. Examples include remote services like online teaching, virtual assistants, web designers, and IT network managers.
Also, there has been a proliferation of micro-businesses. People with cooking skills have purchased Lakeside manufacturing equipment and created food delivery businesses. Those with social skills have started event planning agencies and remote business communication schools.
Travel: Vacationing With a Purpose
As for travel, people are no longer visiting other places just for the fun of it or because they want to take pictures next to architectural wonders or eat local dishes. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with doing this. People work hard for their vacations, and they have the right to do whatever they want with this short and precious time.
Still, there are other things we can do while on holiday. These are things that give us a well-deserved rest from the grind of daily life and contribute to making our world a better place. For those who like adventure, one example is ecotourism. We can visit a place and enjoy its beauty. But we can also become involved in efforts that create natural sustainability or generate awareness on the importance of environmental protection.
Another example is overseas volunteering. We can go on a safari in an exotic African destination like South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, or Kenya. And while we’re there, we can spend a few days teaching simple subjects like English and basic mathematics to children. We can also use a couple of hours of our day digging a hole that will later become a canal to transport water to impoverished neighborhoods and communities.
Health: A Holistic Approach
People want to look attractive and feel sexy. There is no way around it. Nobody wants to look in the mirror and see something they don’t like. Yet, as we learn more about our bodies and brains, we are starting to understand that true beauty comes from within. No matter how much muscle we have or how little fat there is in our bellies, this will not make us happy unless our minds are also in the right place.
A result of this realization is the wide-acceptance of practices like yoga, Pilates, and meditation. By stretching our bodies in simple, fluid motions and using effective breathing, we tap into the deepest recesses of our inner beings. We discover who we are, where our priorities lie, and what we are meant to do.
A holistic approach to health also includes the nutritional choices we make. As somebody once said, “a six-pack is made in the kitchen, not at the gym.” Slowly, we are beginning to welcome the notion that food and physical activity go hand in hand. It is pointless to jump into an exercise routine without having a meal plan to go along with it.
Finally, people are placing value on the importance of prevention. Instead of using meditation to heal ourselves and make us feel better, we can adopt daily habits that improve our lives.
We’ve seen three trends in work, travel, and health. There are others in each category, such as collaboration tools in business, virtual holidays in travel, and alternative medicine in health and wellness. Even though trends change over time, they all have one thing in common, the human desire to have happier, longer, more fulfilling lives.