Living through the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult in many ways. We have all had to make changes to our daily routine that may have caused us to exert extra effort, or impose new restrictions we are not used to. This can often lead to frustrations. However, some of these changes may have been for the better and are changes that many are hoping will continue long after the pandemic is over. I want to take a moment to focus on the things we have changed that may actually benefit us, and highlight these positives.
Many of us have started cooking and baking more. Using this time to learn new skills such as baking bread or making pies has been cathartic. With restaurants closed for in person dining, short supplies on certain items in the stores, and more time on our hands, we can now take the time to learn these new skills that fill a real purpose and need. Finding bread at the beginning of the pandemic was difficult and creating your own at home satisfied a need while also giving something to focus on. A process that takes time and attention and results in something concrete that in turn feeds us, helps our mood, and provides something productive to do. Cooking at home is usually healthier then grabbing take out. Many hope these new skills will continue to be used long after we return to “normal.”
Another occurrence that has happened because of the pandemic is that people have found a new way to use technology. Some who have never used Zoom video conferencing before are now using it regularly to connect with family, attend seminars online, or join in on Zoom birthday celebrations. It is connecting families that live far apart in ways that had not been considered. Using video technology allows people to attend classes and book clubs that may not be local to them by taking geography out of the equation.
The pandemic has forced us all to slow down. Activities and most social gatherings are canceled, providing more free time. While at first this may have felt difficult to adjust to, many have found this new slower pace has been refreshing. No longer are we bogged down by responsibilities that sometimes felt like a burden. This time bonus has provided the opportunity to read new books, connect with old friends, catch up on TV shows and even make improvements to our home. Long walks have become more common for most of us, and you can often see communities outside sitting in chairs in their driveways talking with their neighbors.
It has also been nice to see the community organize to support one another. For example, grocery stores have set up shopping hours just for seniors and the disabled, individuals are more engaged and willing to help their neighbors, and we see signs of appreciation posted around the community to thank healthcare workers. With more people working from home, it has increased family time, reduced commutes, and even reduced pollution.
We know there are many negative changes that have resulted from the pandemic and the stay at home orders. We certainly should not discount them nor make light of them. But in times of difficulty, it can be useful to remind ourselves of both the good and the bad. Take stock of the changes that you enjoy and be grateful for them. It is okay to enjoy some of the changes while still recognizing how difficult this time is. We should and can seek happiness in trying times. This, in fact, is what will help us all get through this a little bit easier.
Martha Shapiro can reached at Senior Concerns at 805-497-0189 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.