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The NSPA Blog

Silver Linings in the Age of Social Distancing

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Posted on April 2nd, 2020 by Bettina Carlson, under Inspiring Stories, Social Distancing, Take Charge

It has been over a week now, that we have officially been under the order to “shelter-in-place”; although factually it has been three weeks now that our lives have slowed down. These have been interesting weeks, to say the least, filled with uncertainties and novelties. And unfortunately, filled with many struggles, as well. 

In today’s blog post, however, I want to share some uplifting anecdotal stories and ways of what people have been doing during this time of uncertainty and home boundedness. Some call them Silver Linings.

Family Time

While the current policy is called “social distancing”, some people actually have found themselves to be more socially connected than before. How so? 

It makes me so happy to share, that a few older adults, who I have spoken with, have shared, that their adult children and grandchildren are now checking in on them more often and engage in longer conversations! There is no rush in the conversations like there was on so many occasions before. 

And not only do they have conversations; but where the  technology is available they play games together, for example guessing games like “Guess Who?” They say the entire family can play, from old to young, and it’s super fun. 

And sometimes, they use this “online gaming” to help their daughter or daughter-in-law to babysit the kids, while the moms cook or pursue another household chore. 

Likewise, some grandparents have been enlisted to help with homework. It appears they make great and engaging history teachers! Sharing their own personal experiences as to historic events, for example, their memories of the first man on the moon, the Kennedy assassination, Civil Rights movement, life before technology, serving in one of the Wars, and more. 

They also make great listeners, listening to the youngest ones reading out aloud to them. What a great way for the grandparent to hear a story and for the young ones to practice their reading. 

I have heard elder women tell me, how they have been asked by their adult children or grandchildren to teach them how to prepare and cook a favorite family recipe! Where technology was available and easy to use, once again, they “stood next to one another” at the stove via FaceTime, Zoom or another meeting app.

It appears that in some cases “social distancing” is actually more of a “physical distancing,” where families while separated by physical distance are now actually connecting more than before. For some this unfortunate current situation has definitely been an unexpected blessing. 

Laughing

Some people have shared how overwhelmed they get by the constant news coverage on the virus. How their anxiety and fears are heightened and starting to hurt them. Instead of letting their anxiety and fear spiral them down, they took various actions. 

Limiting exposure to the news is one way of keeping down the overwhelm.  And in order to actively counter anxiety, one of the most common and simple tools I hear of these days is the use of laughter. People actively seek funny memes and jokes, myself included. It just takes off the edge to be able to laugh, even, or especially, if it’s a meme about our own fears. It doesn’t take away from the seriousness of what is happening, it’s just a healthy outlet for our anxieties.  And anyone active on Social Media knows there is an abundance of memes and jokes posted every day. 

Some people keep sharing funny jokes in their chat groups they started, via text, email, or on their Facebook pages. It really can make a difference to many by guiding their minds away from the negative to the positive. There is a reason why these memes are so abundantly created and omnipresent.

Being Active 

Another popular activity helping with keeping us busy, centered and adding to our health is walking! Plenty of people have shared with me that they go for daily walks; sometimes even twice. It’s getting them out of the  involuntary confinement in their houses and shows that there still is a world out there. They say, their appreciation for simple things like birds, the sky, the blowing wind, even rain, has tremendously grown. They find nurture in nature! That is pretty awesome! 

Other’s make use of online fitness classes. Many gyms and fitness studios offer classes on Zoom to keep their members going, connected and centered. 

Birthdays

Here is a heartwarming story of how friends come together and show up for each other. I was sitting at my desk at home, and suddenly my attention was drawn to a commotion on the street. A number of cars were driving by really slowly, honking, windows rolled down and kids hanging out the windows waving “Happy Birthday” banners. Some even left presents at the end of the driveway. Turns out it was my neighbors’ child’s birthday; quite a memorable one. It put a big smile on my face, can you image the birthday child’s smile! Do any of your friends have a birthday in these times of social distancing?

Learning

Another way people created a silver lining with the extra time at home – they invested their time in growth! Growth in areas they have been meaning to catch up on to further their careers, or just to satisfy a curiosity they had, or just because.  They are taking online seminars on topics ranging from learning about other cultures, starting your own business, learning about nutrition, learning more about their diagnosed health conditions (where they exist), to how to fix your HVAC system. And so much more.  

Health

Not only do many of us now have more time to cook again, try new recipes, cook from scratch, or just learn cooking and or teach it to our children. I have heard from some people how they have used this time to explore food and cooking to improve specific health concerns. And apparently successfully. 

In one case it’s a couple of mom friends with children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). They have heard for so long, how certain foods might exacerbate their children’s symptoms, while others might help mitigate them. But due to their busy daily schedules, they couldn’t find the time or motivation to dig deeper into this information and explore it. Now, with all this time at home, they decided there is never going to be a better time to give it a try. So they started to research and gather information, discuss their findings, and develop a meal plan together. And they implemented it. The first week was difficult I hear, but then it became easier. And they had each other to encourage each other when the going got tough. After a couple of weeks, they are seeing improvements in their children. And actually, because the meals are largely based on eating the rainbow (lots of vegetables and fruits), low sugar, very few processed foods, the moms say, they feel better, too. They are loving this silver lining!  

Decluttering and Housekeeping

Another successful “therapy” for many is the decluttering and home organizing. It keeps them busy, gives them a purpose, and finally checks off that to-do box on their chore list.  And they thoroughly enjoy looking at their now clean areas, basking in a deep sense of satisfaction. Another bonus, their minds now feel equally decluttered, giving them peace and rest. 

When my neighbor embarked on her decluttering journey, her husband was happy she was busy, haha. Next thing, he is part of it. She had pulled out a box of old photographs, that the two of them went through together, reminiscing in memories of people, events, and places. They both had a great time together and were flooded with beautiful feelings. 

Finally but not the End

There are so many more stories out there of how people have turned or found this stay-at-home time to be a benefit to them. We hope you are one of them! 

Stay well, be blessed.

And as always, we are at your service should a need arise.

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