Finding the Silver Lining in a Pandemic

Monday Author:  Susanne Skinner

There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in  ~ Leonard Cohen

These are troubling times in the kingdom. The world is upside down and the phrase du jour is new normal. Life as we were living it suddenly stopped when a virus threatened every aspect of our existence.

silver lining, cloudOne minute we were going about our business and the next found us in quarantine, wearing masks, and canceling plans for the rest of 2020. For reasons I will never understand, we also decided hand washing was a thing. When was it not??

Covid-19 impacts everyone and now is probably a good time to see if there is a silver lining in all this negativity. I’m not minimizing the bad news and…

There is Some Bad News

Our social lives took this on the chin. Suddenly, we can’t go places we used to go, and we must distance ourselves from one another. Not seeing our loved ones for months intensifies our isolation and anxiety.

The economy got a sucker punch. Many of us lost jobs or received furloughs, and not everyone can perform their jobs in current conditions. Industries that were thriving have been decimated and it’s a slow road to recovery.

The Dalai Lama reminds us.

“Whenever there is a challenge, there is also an opportunity to face it, to demonstrate and develop our will and determination.”

A crisis opens our minds to new ways of thinking. Doors all around us have closed, but we are finding new and innovative ways to accomplish the impossible.

We have the time to plan, and the changes we are making are not temporary. All of them can be put to good use as we move out of this suspended virtual world. We have proven that things we said could not or would not work, do in fact work! We are surrounded by innovation.

Think Inside the Box

We’re kinda stuck here, so let’s get creative. Despite current restrictions there is much we can still do for ourselves and for one another.

Think inside the box, silver lining, little girlsTexting and emailing, while still functional, has been surpassed by web conferencing platforms like Zoom for audio and video check-ins. They can be used for one-on-one or group calls and forty minutes or less is free.

It’s a new normal, and we love it because we get to “see” each other and wave!  Technology that often overtakes our lives is also enabling us to stay connected.

We’re learning to ignore minor inconveniences and doing things to help ourselves.  Hobbies and pastimes are suddenly rediscovered. Hours once spent in traffic are put to better and more enjoyable use. Businesses have proven (some against their will) that a home-based office does work. Employees are just as productive and less stressed.

Structural changes that were forced on us offer new ways to solve problems and simplify the way we work. We might not have embraced them if not for necessity.

Life’s simple pleasures are still there, hidden in plain sight. We’re just rediscovering them when we take walks, read, try new recipes, or teach ourselves a new skill.   

The New Normal is the Silver Lining

We are creating a new normal. When this is over, things we had to do differently will become just another option for getting the results we need.

The New Normal, Silver Lining, Finding TimeThe Coronavirus Crisis gives us all something to think about. The biggest of these revelations is that nothing is guaranteed. Just because we’ve always done something doesn’t mean we can keep doing it—at least in the short term.

Necessity created new and unique processes for continuing to access things we need and things we do. Life goes on, and daily activities have been re-imagined into innovative solutions.

Online learning and telemedicine are suddenly mainstream options where they were once niche markets. Working from home, once a highly valued (and elusive) job perk, is suddenly everyone’s new normal. When this virus is behind us, let’s hope employers are willing to keep some of that work-life balance in place.

The arrival of a coronavirus made us suddenly (and painfully) realize all the things we take for granted. This pandemic forces us to acknowledge just how good we have it and raises our level of consciousness for those less fortunate.

The silver lining here is that we are helping one another. Neighborhoods host drive-by birthdays and graduations. Local companies are stepping up to help keep restaurants open and people who frequented those restaurants are ordering food to go. We are embracing a higher level of caring.

We are also learning to help ourselves. Self-care is the new buzz word and it’s about taking good care of yourself with activities that make you feel rested, healthy, and whole. Good self-care means nurturing our mental, emotional, and physical health.

This Too Shall Pass

But not in the ways we planned or even hoped for. Many of the changes we’ve been forced to make are here to stay. Some of them are good changes and long overdue. This virus came with the unintended lesson of slowing us down, along with opportunities to change things for the better. That’s a big silver lining.

This too shall passPollution—and the lack of it—reveals the damage we’ve done to our air and water.  Managing natural resources is everyone’s job. When we stop doing harmful things we see and feel the benefits. This should never be temporary—but only we can ensure it is not.

A virus demanded that we trade some of our freedom for the greater good of our communities and our world. The balance between individual rights and public safety is an important lesson for everyone as we navigate our way forward.

On a personal level, quarantine gives all of us the gift of time. For those who begin a sentence with when I have the time, your lesson is the time is now.

We are all in this together.

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