The Silver Lining of the COVID-19 Cloud
It feels like the world has turned upside down, or at least been knocked off of its axis by a few degrees. Things are happening and developing and changing very fast. There is the immediate concern of one’s own health and the health of loved ones, especially elderly parents and relatives. There is the worry of employment and income for at least the next few weeks. The economy is trembling. We are dealing with a lot of uncertainty.
However, I am glad for some of the ‘side effects’ of this pandemic. As a parent coach, I emphasize the precious value of time with our kids. I believe that the currency of parenthood is time. Life is so busy for kids and parents with all there is to do in 24 hours. Quality time with our children can become elusive.
Now here we are where kids can’t go to school and parents can’t go to work. Many families are now home together with nothing to ‘do’. There is no schedule of having to be at school or at work; there are no appointments, after school activities, no sporting events – there is no place to be but where we are, at home. I love this! People are being forced to slow down, giving them the opportunity to appreciate who is with them and what is happening in the moment. It is a perfect time to stop and enjoy life, especially with the family you have around you.
I have begun to see how this shift is positively impacting families.
- I went for a hike yesterday with my son and there were so many people out doing the same thing. People of all ages, lots of kids – all out enjoying the beautiful out of doors together. The fact is, the benefits of being outside are huge! Studies have shown that being outside impacts people’s physical and mental health. But beyond that, it has also been shown to have a significant positive effect on mood and behavior.
- There was a clip on the news of the quarantined Italians, singing beautiful music, each from their own balconies. Kids were playing instruments, and all ages of people were making music together. Truly an inspiration.
- Mundane chores such as cleaning the house won’t be quite such a chore now because there is time in the day to get it done.
- Cooking may become more creative because there is time to play around and experiment in the kitchen.
- Despite the absurdity of fighting over toilet paper and hand sanitizer, it is a time that communities can come together because we are all facing the same uncertainty with the same bit of fear or anxiety – even if we have to stay 6 feet apart from each other.
- And perhaps most salient for me is the realization of how connected we all are. I’ve always known this to a certain extent, but I sometimes lose sight of it. This event, however, has brought to light, in such a way that nobody can ignore, that we are all connected in this universe. A tiny ripple in a little market in distant Wuhan, China, where this virus originated, has affected nearly every country and every person in the world, one way or another. Think of the significance of this. In a more positive picture, consider how a smile or kind word to a stranger affects that stranger. This starts a ripple that gets bigger and wider, with the potential of reaching more people with whom that stranger later interacts. We are not always aware of the effects that our actions have, but it doesn’t mean they don’t happen.
This is no doubt a trying time for us all. But it is what it is. We do the best we can to keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy. We wait for the economy to come back. In the meantime, we can use this unusual time in history, to enjoy our newfound free time and to enjoy or time with each other.
Julie Hatch is a