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Look for the silver lining in social distancing

By Brittany Carter

There is no sugar-coating current affairs – with the global outbreak of COVID-19 and the social distancing measures being taken which could last for months, times look bleak.

But I’m compelled to look on the bright side right now and I’m asking you to do the same. There have so been many uplifting moments to shift our focus to throughout all of this. We collectively need to see the silver lining in the chaos right now as we wait out the worst of this thing, however long that may take.

That’s not to make light of the seriousness of this worldwide crisis, because it is incredibly serious, and it should be handled as such. But all we can do is continue to focus on the good while the fear and uncertainty threaten to flood our thoughts and emotions.

Amid all the precautions and distancing and closures I’ve noticed an incredible uprising of people looking out for each other. The community has been coming together in ways I’ve never seen before. And that, I think, is something that needs to be noted.

Seek out the silver lining during social distancing.

I’ve seen strangers offer to help purchase groceries for at risk individuals because it wasn’t safe for them to venture out to the grocery stores. I’ve seen social media acquaintances step up to provide toilet paper for people who haven’t been able to find any on store shelves. (Because the world has gone mad stockpiling toilet paper for reasons I still can’t fathom.) The amount of people I’ve seen step up to offer their own personal supplies and hand sanitizer, food, cleaners, etc., has been relatively astounding. It’s heartwarming to see so many people willing to help their neighbours.

Families have more time for each other.

Families are spending more time together. During the regular hustle and bustle of everyday life we can forget the importance of making time to come together. Quality time with our children is sometimes overlooked as we try to make it to jobs and fight our way through a seemingly never-ending amount of household chores, errands and extra curriculars. We’ve begun spending more time together as I’m sure so many families have.

That’s not to say we don’t get on each other’s nerves – after a full day of one-on-one time with each other we’re all on the verge of losing our minds just a bit. I’m not foolish enough to claim that it’s all been a walk in the park; video games are a frequent life saver. But generally, it’s been nice to see families getting some much-needed downtime with each other.

Social distancing allows for people to go out and enjoy nature.

People are enjoying nature. More and more I’m seeing more people walking on the sidewalks instead of driving on the streets. The roads are almost eerily quiet, but even some of the most secluded neighbourhoods have seen more individuals, couples and families out for leisurely strolls. It’s been uplifting to see so many people taking the time to be in the moment. To walk and enjoy the scenery. To ride bikes with no real destination.

Social media is bringing us all closer together - digitally.

Social media platforms are flooded with news about COVID-19 and the toll it is taking on other countries. The news frequently broadcasts about the speed at which the virus is making its way to our own backyard. But in a sea of bad news circulating across the internet, there has also been a flood of artists, musicians, teachers, fitness coaches, counselors, public figures and any other educational and cultural outlet imaginable offering free live streaming of their services.

Services which were previously by subscription only have begun giving the world access for free. Operas and museums and universities have all started offering courses and live tours or performances, all to be streamed online for free.

The local community stepped up to spread joy from the comfort of their homes.

Local musicians, yoga teachers and mediation experts have begun streaming videos, offering their support and a space for entertainment during social isolation.

If we can be truly grateful for one thing throughout all of this, I think we should all take a minute to appreciate that we happen to be alive at a time when technology is so rapidly and readily available to us, to allow us to maintain a serviceable level of connection when we otherwise would have been completely isolated and on our own.

Let’s all be mindful and thankful to all of the people taking the time to bring a little joy to us while we’re locked in our own homes. It truly is incredible.

Let's use this opportunity to focus on things we told ourselves we never had time for.

And finally, one of my favourite things about all of this – we all finally have some time to truly unwind. We have time to pick up the hobby we swore we just didn’t have time for. Have you been meaning to start that novel? Hop to it! Were you thinking about trying out a new recipe? What a better time than now? Were you hoping to spend more time with your kids, to reconnect with a lover, to finish watching that series on Netflix? Did you want to finally solve that Rubik’s cube? (I know I do!) Have you been meaning to get out and run more? Have you wanted to try a new hairstyle but just couldn’t find the time?

Quite literally, your possibilities are endless.

So yes – it is scary and eerie being so shut off from the world right now. Watching the news can be daunting and incredibly ominous. This whole thing is so far from our normal life that it has sent us all for a bit of a loop. And of course, there are entire industries still at it – working tirelessly to keep us safe and healthy, to produce and deliver food. There are more industries and services that need to be recognized and wholeheartedly thanked for everything they are doing to keep the world turning when it feels like it has all but stopped.

But for the rest of us on forced layoffs and self-quarantines, let’s try to see the silver lining throughout this storm. Considering the amount of people in my own life who have been just dying for the workload to ease up, or the stress to dissipate, or the hours to calm down – now is your time. What you do with it is entirely up to you.


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