As we near the end of the second week of social isolation, news of the spread of coronavirus is worsening, and social distancing has become the new standard. It is daunting to realize that nobody knows when we will return to our normal lives, or even how “normal” our lives will be when this is all over.
But in the midst of all these changes and the onslaught of bad news, there are some silver linings to the enforced social distancing and self-isolation so necessary for staying healthy and helping others to do the same. Here are six good things that are happening right now:
More Family Time
When families with young children or teens would normally be going in several directions at once, as I walk around my neighborhood, I see whole families – both parents and all the kids – out walking, throwing a football, jogging, or playing their own special games. I hope this lasts after social distancing ends.
The children in my neighborhood have been writing wonderful and encouraging messages on the sidewalks! Yesterday, while walking the dog, I saw all of these: “You’re outside!” “Isn’t fresh air great?” “You’ve got this!” “Keep smiling!” “We’re all together in this.” “Looking good!” and many others. These messages make me smile every time and kudos to the parents who are encouraging their children to help in this way.
Parents in our town have gotten very creative in entertaining their little ones. Each week they do a craft project with their kids – something that can be hung in the window, like shamrocks or silly faces – and then do a scavenger hunt as they walk to find as many displays as they can. The more we have had to stay apart, the more creative people have gotten in finding ways to connect with each other, reminding all of us of what is truly important.
Time to Do Overdue Projects
Without commutes, sports and activities, the gym, and social gatherings, all of a sudden, cleaning out the closet, or finishing a craft project started two years ago seems like a good idea. There is a strong sense of accomplishment in finally taking the time to finish things on the to-do list!
Learning New Technology
In the last two weeks, I have participated in a book club meeting on Zoom, several virtual family gatherings on Google Hangouts, and most recently, quick video chatting on Marco Polo – an app I had never heard of but know I will enjoy because I can stay in closer touch with my daughters. I am so grateful that we have the technology to connect virtually when we can’t do it in person.
More Frequent Connection with Friends and Family
With more time on our hands and concern for family and friends, people seem to be reaching out more frequently. In the last few days, I’ve chatted with former students, old friends, and family members with whom under normal circumstances, I would talk to maybe once every few months. We all have asked why we don’t do this more often, and I hope when this is over, we will.
The important thing is to stay healthy during this time, and the best way to do that is stay home and self-isolate as much as possible. But social distancing has its advantages, and with luck you are experiencing these benefits as well. How are you making the best of your stay-at-home situation?