The news these days bombards the viewer or reader with hundreds of stories filled with fear, loss, worry, death, and destruction, all related to the Coronavirus. You can’t go online without experiencing people, perhaps even friends, who are spewing hate and judgment because they don’t agree with an opinion. It can be very easy to feel overwhelmed with negative feelings and emotions when the world around us seems hellbent on highlighting the worst-case scenarios, dire data, and predictions of the world post-Coronavirus.
Perhaps it’s because I have already lived through one of my worst nightmares and survived after becoming a widow at 38 years old. Or maybe it’s because I refuse to believe that silver linings don’t accompany gray clouds. Maybe it’s just a coping mechanism I employ during times of overwhelming stress. Whatever the case may be, I can’t help but see all the blessings I and my family have gained during the Covid-19 crisis.
The Blessings of Covid-19
I’ve rediscovered my love of the outdoors.
It’s not that I had forgotten that I loved the outdoors. I just didn’t make outdoor activities a priority anymore. From early in the morning until the sun went down, I was rushing kids to school, then activities, then home for dinner and baths. By the time we had any free time, it was too late to do anything outside. Weekends were overtaken by more activities and chores. Once the quarantine started, my kids and I began taking morning bike rides/jogs through our neighborhood. Every morning, we have explored the outdoors for at least 2 miles. It is now the favorite part of our day!
I’m saving money on membership fees.
Listen, I absolutely live for my gym and yoga time. I have never once regretted spending a small fortune on membership fees for these types of places. But since the lockdown, I have not been able to go to my yoga studio or hit the gym. It has been HARD, I will not lie. But it has forced me to think creatively when it comes to my workouts. I still need that “me time.” I still need to keep my physical and mental health in check. So I canceled my memberships and started working out (with the help of this family of apps!) in my home and I am LOVING it (and the savings!).
My kids have learned valuable life skills.
Both of my kids have learned how to ride their bikes without training wheels during this crisis. I have learned that while I don’t want to homeschool permanently, I can absolutely handle it for the short term. My kids have learned that books are better than TV, outside is better than inside, and playing with neighbor kids is better than bugging mom for snacks eleventy-billion times a day. We have learned varying degrees of patience, forgiveness, and grace. And we continue to learn how to let creativity guide our days.
Our personal library is well used.
As a young girl, I would spend my summers holed up in my room reading books (nerd alert!). As a writer, reading is not only entertainment, it’s honing a skill and studying an art. I have always adored reading, but because of Covid-19 I have made it a priority in my life again. And my daughter, who is only in first grade, is tearing through books at record speed! Our love of learning through reading has grown exponentially through this lockdown!
I’ve discovered a love of slow living.
The slow living movement is not new, but since Covid-19 I have grown to respect and desire the kind of lifestyle slow living provides. The art of deliberately disconnecting from the outside world via screens and instead focusing on your family and personal needs is oddly liberating. I have been sick of living in a fast-forward world for so long, and this was just the reset I needed to determine how much slowing down could benefit us.
We are ridiculously healthy.
My kids and I have always been pretty healthy. We rarely get sick and when we do, it’s usually only a 2-3 day confinement at most. Since the Covid-19 crisis started, I have made sure that we are taking our supplements regularly. And I have been diffusing daily essential oils and feeding us wholesome foods like a boss. We spend a lot of time outside (Vitamin D!) and get lots of exercise. None of us have even had the sniffles from allergies this year! If I wasn’t already such a believer in holistic living before, I certainly am now!
We know our neighbors better.
Before Covid-19 and the lockdown, I knew the names of one of my neighbors. Just one. And that’s only because she’s a mom in my local mom’s group and we had met before. It’s not that I’m not interested in knowing my neighbors. I’m just an intrinsically shy and private person. And my kids and I are so darn busy all the time, we’re never around long enough to meet anyone! Now, however, my kids regularly play outside with all of the neighborhood kids. And I have borrowed books, puzzles, toys, ingredients, and gardening tips from dozens of my fellow neighbors. It’s been wonderful getting to know people!
Our family has grown stronger.
I’m going to be honest, my kids and I have already been through a lot. We lost my husband, their dad, only two and a half years ago. We lost our home, our security, our income, our lifestyle, our friends, our neighbors, among other things. We’ve had to start over from scratch in new places, make new friends, find new establishments we trust. My kids have been uprooted. We have all been lost in a sea of grief.
Through all of it, we have clung to each other for strength and peace. My kids come to me when they’re scared or sad and I do my utmost to comfort and calm them. We have found our own unique rhythm in weathering life’s storms. Facing this crisis with my kids has, once again, shown me that we are a tough trio. That we are strong and courageous. That we are resilient and fierce. And that we will be okay no matter what life throws at us.
And I hope it continues . . .
While I am beyond ready for the world to open back up and to resume regularly scheduled programming, I am already looking for ways that I can continue to cultivate these many blessings in my family’s life. I do not miss the days of constant shuffling from one activity to the next. Nor do I miss the stress and strain of living a busy, but ultimately lonely, life.
I want to continue to find new ways of enjoying the simpler pleasure of life. I want to continue to enjoy our community, our neighbors, and our friends. I’m hoping my kids will continue to ride bikes with the neighbor kids on a warm, sunny afternoon. I hope I will continue to read mystery novels with my closest girlfriends and talk about the stories over Zoom calls. I plan to continue to make my family a priority and busy schedules an afterthought. And I hope that more people realize the gifts they’ve been given through this crisis and continue to cling onto them as well.