We all know that isolation is tough, we are living it every day but there are some good things coming out of it too. Everyone’s experience of this is different, but I hope one of the positives below might help you see that there are some things we can be thankful for. There have been improvements in the environment, we are spending more time with family, allowing ourselves to slow down, seeing the community come together, and most importantly, it has given us perspective. I hope the positive news below is a nice break from the negative news consistently being reported.
ONE: The environment
While the travel industry has been hit hard and airlines have grounded their fleet across the world, we have seen some amazing improvements in our natural environment in only a few short weeks.
In India, 1.3 billion people have been instructed to stay home. This has resulted in pollution levels dropping, which means the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas can now be seen from as far as 125 miles away for the first time in 30 years.
A reduced number of boats on the canals of Venice has allowed sediment which was being churned up by the traffic to begin to settle and the water to become clear. There have been reports of more wildlife returning to the canals, for example, Cormorants, as they can now dive for fish they can see.
Two months of pollution reduction in China has saved over 77,000 lives and researchers in New York told the BBC their early results showed carbon monoxide mainly from cars had been reduced by nearly 50% compared with last year. Who knows what other benefits we will come to see as the burning of fossil fuels continues to drop and air quality continues to improve around the world.
TWO: Family Time
Whether you are isolating at home with family members or friends, we have been given a little gift by being able to focus on our loved ones. If you are at home with kids, enjoy this precious time where you get to interact with them, help them, and support them. It won’t last forever and as they say, they grow up so fast!
Because we are at home more, we are not only able to cook together, but we can sit down at the table as a family. Even if we aren’t with our families right now, we have the time to Zoom them in for that Easter lunch, or that Thursday night when we might normally be out with friends at a restaurant. We can now also pick up that call from mum halfway through the day and not have to explain you are at your desk and can’t really talk.
Have you checked in with more family members than usual? I know I have. Cousins, grandparents, aunts & uncles, some of which I only see or speak to once a year have been on mind and on my call list. It has been really nice connecting and checking in with family and friends.
Lastly, our furry friends are also benefiting from our presence around the house. They are happier now that we are home during the day, and getting more affection and attention because of that. Family will drive you crazy at times, but let’s enjoy this period to connect with and really focus on them!
THREE: Slowing Down
We are being reminded of the happiness simple things in life can bring, the things that can so easily fall to the side when we are busy. For example, taking time and pride in cooking a meal, spending time on your physical health, focusing on your mental health, or enjoying that walk in the fresh air.
There are so many things we love to do that we can’t at the moment: going to the movies, perusing art galleries, gathering at the pub, or sitting down at a restaurant. We are being forced to slow down. We can’t catch up with four different friends in one week, visit family, stay late at work and travel all over the city to fit it in.
We are reading books, doing puzzles, growing herbs, and baking bread. It has taken a few weeks to get into the swing of it, but once you slow down you can really benefit from this new rhythm.
Not only are we slowing down, but we are reminded of our old hobbies or things we have wanted to try for a while. We now have the time to learn piano, paint that deck or pick up that book again.
FOUR: A sense of community
Like with so many crises and natural disasters we have seen in the last few years, there are always feel-good stories to come out of them or stories that show the community care and that we are not alone.
We have seen companies like LVMH use their perfume factories to produce hand sanitizer and deliver it for free around France. Cable companies are offering free wifi for homebound students, and we have seen supermarkets allocate early shopping hours for NHS workers and the elderly.
In the first few weeks of lockdown, my local pilates studio offered free sessions every day to help keep us sane while they figured out how to move their business online. There are programs where volunteers help the elderly shop and deliver it to their door. And in what has become a weekly tradition, the nation comes together each Thursday as part of the Clap For Our Carers campaign, to publicly recognize the efforts of the NHS workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic every day.
There have been countless initiatives from celebrities such as the ‘All In Challenge’ which helps provide food for those in need and just the other night we saw the star-studded ‘Together At Home’ concert with everyone from Lady Gaga to Paul McCartney helping raise funds for the front-line workers.
One of the biggest positives that I think has come from COVID-19, and the one that I hope lasts the longest, is perspective. We have had time to reflect on how lucky we were to go for that walk in the park, sit on a picnic rug in the sun, pop down to the local pub and hug our family members.
Once this pandemic passes and we go back to some version of normalcy, let’s remember that our actions do affect the environment and try to remember what it feels like when we put time and effort into our physical and mental health. Let’s continue to cook, grow, draw, and check-in with loved ones. There is light at the end of the tunnel and we will come out the other side. We are already seeing some countries loosen their rules and scientists all around the world are working hard on a vaccine. Let’s remember to take it one day at a time and that we are in this together, keep talking to friends and family, and do the little things that make you happy and feel good!