The global impact of the Covid-19 is surreal and unprecedented. The news is incessant, and I find myself constantly scrolling, waiting for an update, waiting to find out the next terrible thing that’s happened. I’m not sleeping well, am incredibly distracted, and lack any motivation to do much of anything. Every business closure and infection announcement feels weighty. Every lockdown decision feels monumental. Every photo of tourists ignoring social distancing recommendations adds to the ever present hum of worry and fear that’s building. Many of us are starting to buckle under the overwhelming anxiety of it all. It’s A LOT. And it’s got to get worse before it gets any better.
So we have to start looking at the positives.
I don’t want to minimize the severity of the situation, ignore the disastrous economics implications, or trivialize the many deaths that have happened and that are yet to come. But I think it’s important to reframe a big negative like this into something less devastating, if only to give our minds (and hearts) a break, a moment to breathe. This is a marathon, and if we’re going to get through it with our mental health intact, we can’t only focus on the negative.
I’m choosing to think about the positives as often as I can in order to avoid losing my mind during these strange, scary times. So here are a few silver linings that I’ve thought of to make this situation more bearable.
What would you add to the list???
1. Businesses will see large scale remote work in action. A real opportunity for employees to showcase just how productive they can be from home so that, maybe, when this is all over, more companies will be willing to expand WFH programs and support remote workers.
2. So much knowledge is being freely shared! The internet is living up to its full potential, and we’re seeing the original intent of the World Wide Web blossom. Tour over 2500 museums! Get cooking classes from world-class chefs! Visit zoos and aquariums! So many free educational resources for kids!
3. Proving that the internet can be a place of community and engagement. In the last week, I’ve already participated in a few stimulating, fun debates; caught up with my best friends; and played some games— all online. I’ve always hated the assumption that we can’t be social online or that online life is somehow not part of our real life. (A fascinating topic explored in Because Internet! Highly recommend!) Now, there is no distinction between the two. Whether it’s Grandma learning how to FaceTime, a team learning to work together apart, an elementary classroom gathering for storytime, or friends partaking in virtual happy hours, we’re taking full advantage of the technology at hand, learning what it’s truly capable of.
4. A surge in creative problem solving from businesses, content providers, and entrepreneurs. Yoga classes, discussion groups, church services, late night talk shows, therapy sessions, restaurants turn into ‘corner stores‘ — they’re all happening online, from home, or in a new form. I think as the situation worsens, we’ll see even more creative fire fighting. Necessity breeds invention, after all.
5. We’re all being given a chance to slow down, forced to take a break, regaining some of that free time none of us seem to have anymore. Time to spend together as a family, to read that book, to write that book, to learn a new skill, to sleep in, to clean out that closet… We now have some extra time to do whatever it is that always ends up at the bottom of our To Do list. (Unless you have kids, in which case, your free time just disappeared because you are now also their teacher. #teachersneedraises)
6. Reconnect with nature. For those of us allergic to being outside, this is a good opportunity to discover the outdoors. I’ve made a Google Map of all of the waterfalls within an hour’s drive of Nashville — not something I would usually do! But we have to get out of the house and all of our usual fun activities either aren’t or won’t be options. I’m seeing an uptick in posts from people enjoying their pools, neighborhood walking trails, a local park, etc. We could all stand to spend more time with Mother Nature, and now’s the perfect chance.
7. We’re temporarily giving Mother Nature a break from humanity’s destructive practices, and giving us all an opportunity to lower our carbon footprint. Pollution is down, thanks to everyone staying home. Fewer cars are on the road. Fewer planes are in the air. China’s emissions have been cut about 25%.
8. This could be an end to America’s addiction to toilet paper. Many folks are turning to the superior hygienic experience of bidets. (Which is also better for the environment! Win-win!)
9. So many beautiful examples of global kindnesses such as when a Chinese company donated masks to Italy; Italian neighbors singing with one another from their balconies; American neighbors on Next Door offering to run errands for the elderly or entertain one another from a safe distance; athletes paying salaries of stadium staff. It’s refreshing to see so much compassion circulating when it feels as if the last few years have been a dumpster fire of hate. In case you’ve forgotten just how awesome humans can be, this crisis is shining a light on our innate kindness. We *are* capable of being this loving; perhaps we should challenge ourselves to keep it going even when this crisis is over.
10. Businesses exhibiting financial kindnesses, such as the Delta CEO forgoing his own salary in order to keep his staff employed; theme parks donating excess food; utility companies and banks waiving late fees and payments; governments putting economic packages in place to help the financially vulnerable. Too often, we just see the greedy side of corporations, but this corona virus has revealed the heart beating within many.
11. Attention is being drawn to our insufficient health care system, to why paid sick leave is so important, and to ways that we can and should better care for one another. Compassion, kindness, and love will allow us to prevail, but it’s going to be a challenge with our medical force working past exhaustion and with so many companies refusing to provide adequate time off to their staff. They may well be forced to now.
12. A chance for all of us to save some money. If you’re anything like us, you spend way too much going out (but we love supporting local businesses!) and we’ve been saying for *months*, especially once I quit my job, that we needed to get better at eating at home. Well. No day like the present.
13. A chance for some of us to cut back on our bad snacking or drinking habits. (If you didn’t stock up enough, that is, haha.) I realize this one is overly optimistic and will most definitely not occur in our household, which is why I said “some of us.”
This list doesn’t begin to touch the list of negative impacts that this virus is having on the world but hopefully it can help reframe the situation for you for a moment.
During these trying weeks, let’s cut each other a lot of slack. Extend as much grace to the people you are cooped up with as you can, and keep sharing cute photos of your pets and kids. It’s gonna take a helluva lot of cat videos to get through this crisis. But we can get through it together!