My heart breaks for people who have been isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic.I think of mothers, fathers, and grandparents in nursing homes who depended on visits from their family to keep their spirits up even before the pandemic. My heart breaks for the financial devastation many people have faced during this pandemic. My heart breaks for the lost lives and those working long hours on the front line trying their absolute hardest to save lives. My heart breaks for children not being able to see their peers at school. All this heartbreak and yet there is some good with this. Here are a few things I consider to be positives of this pandemic.
Opportunity to engage
My heart beams with gratitude for the chance to engage that this pandemic has given many of us. We get to be home with our partners and our kids. We can play with them more and truly engage! Family game nights and movie nights have returned. Dinners together are back. Gone are our busy-out-of-the-house lives.
With the pandemic and the stay at home orders, how many of you have worked on that house project that has been on the back burner for years? I have seen more porches built, more flowers blooming, and more curb appeal than ever before.
Growing your own food
I am so impressed by all the people who have started gardens. And what a great summer for it! Bring on the tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, and lettuce. Soon, there will be the fall squashes and pumpkins.
You are doing what—zooming? What’s that?! Before the pandemic, many people have never been on a video conference. Now it is a daily activity for those of us working from home. And the kids are using it for school! And I think it is awesome that 70 and 80 somethings can be found having fun with silly apps like TikTok.
The Great Outdoors
I have hiked more and boated more since March than I have in years. As it is safer to be outdoors (still social distancing) than indoors with this virus, many people are getting the fresh air.
Hundreds of studies have shown that nature is good for us. In one study conducted by Stanford University researchers, 60 participants were randomly assigned to either go for an urban walk or a nature walk for 50 minutes. These participants were then given several assessments. Compared to the urban walk, the nature walk resulted in decreased anxiety and better cognitive functioning—they could focus better. Another study conducted by researchers in Japan and Holland found that just 20-30 minutes outside reduced stress levels. Nature clears your mind.
A time to reflect
I think the biggest positive of the pandemic is that it has forced us to reflect on how good our lives are. Think about all you may have taken for granted. A meal at your favorite restaurant. Live music. Going to the movies. Traveling abroad…even road trips to other states.
We are in this together. I pray for all of humanity as researchers work on vaccines. Stay safe and healthy and try to think of the good!