Friday 27 March 2020

11 positive things about this whole experience which will help make us better people

Urgh, where do I start? You low key want to watch the news but you also kind of don't because it's all doom and gloom and you are guaranteed zero news on anything other than the coronavirus. As surreal a situation we find ourselves in right now, it's important to remember that we are all in this together and to keep the faith where possible. I write to you today to try and spread some positivity at this challenging time. Today's topic: How will this uncertain time help better us as people?

Good vibes only

It will make us appreciate more

We take things for granted like going to the shops, seeing people and having access to household essentials like toilet roll and pasta. You will never look at a toilet roll in the same way ever again. I like to think that everyone is full of respect for healthcare workers anyway, but this whole situation will make everyone appreciate these hardworking doctors and nurses - who put their lives on the line every single day - even more.

It will make us more creative and imaginative in the kitchen

I can usually guarantee getting all the ingredients I need and I know what I'm going to cook all seven days of the week. The pandemic has thrown this into disarray for many of us. You can't get your usual ingredients. The shelves in the shops are empty. You can't get a home delivery slot. So at this time it's all about scouring your cupboards, fridge and freezer and being creative. I mentioned here and here how I helped calm my anxiety by taking inventory for everything I had in the fridge, cupboard and freezer so I know what random ingredients I have to cobble up meals with. I also have a spreadsheet with expiry dates to ensure zero food waste. It's all about being organised with a sprinkling of imagination.

It will make us check in with other people more

Normal life is busy, busy, busy and when you reach out to people by text / Whatsapp / social media etc, you don't always hear back. I'm good at reaching out and checking in, but I'm rubbish with the frequency I do it. This whole experience has made me worry about absolutely everyone and I've reached out to friends in other countries as well as here, and I've been in touch with my own family a whole lot more, especially as they are classed as high risk. The other day one of my best friends and I spoke on the phone which we haven't done that in the longest time (we usually just message each other and meet when we can). It was really lovely to talk and it's something I'm set on maintaining. If you haven't heard from someone in a while, I urge you to reach out to them and see how they are doing. You will make their day.

It will make us take better care of ourselves

Washing your hands after using the toilet, handling raw meat, touching bins and etc, and regular cleaning of surfaces at home should be common sense and a given, but sadly it's not to some people. Imagine doing these things and then putting your fingers near your face or worse in your mouth (blergh). This is exactly how bacteria and viruses spread. Whilst I have always been OCD about washing my hands, I have a terrible habit of biting at my nails or the skin around my nails. I've had to be really tough on myself to get out of the habit of putting my hands near my mouth. Hopefully this pandemic will help people be more mindful of their hygiene and / or habits. Including reducing the number of people who travel into work to 'solider on' when they're sick. There is nothing more important than your health and the health of those around you.

It will bring us together

There is a war time feel to this whole situation (just thankfully without the bombs) and however bad it feels, remember we are all in this together. Spare a thought to the vulnerable like the elderly and help out where you can. Get involved in your community (whilst adhering to social distancing of course) and reach out to your neighbours and help each other out. My heart has been warmed with stories of families sharing their supplies with others. Kindness costs nothing. And remember not to buy more than you need or stockpile so that no one is deprived.

It will help us appreciate quality time with the family even more

Not all families eat meals together. With many now working from home, former absent members of the family will be around more and able to join in with meal times for a greater sense of togetherness. As we're going to be spending more time with each other, turn the TV off and talk more. Watch less TV and bring out the board games and jigsaw puzzles. Play charades. There are so many ways that you can enjoy quality time together without needing going to go out or spend money. I've seen so many creative examples from home-schooled children on social media lately. And for those of us separated from our families and living in different households, it will make us appreciate future family gatherings in a whole new light.

It will help us appreciate our homes more

We are after all going to be spending a lot more time at home from now on. With an age of constantly needing to go places, see people, post the countries we've visited and things we've done on social media, we suddenly find ourselves enforced to stay home and not travel. With all the uncertainty and worry out there, we will appreciate our homes a lot more as a safe haven to be. Spending more time in your home than you normally would may help you realise that you actually like being at home and it may be a lifestyle change you make when this all blows over. If you find yourself spending a lot of time in one room (say you really get into cooking), it may encourage you to invest money into a home improvement / reno project rather than that second holiday you think you need. Investing money into your home will add value to your property and your quality of life.

It could change the way people and businesses work

With lots of people working from home for the foreseeable future, this could help companies that frown on working on home in normal circumstances, be more amenable to the idea in the future. Viruses are so easy to contract on the daily commute or from planes after business travel or a holiday. The more workers work from home, the less chance a virus will spread to other people in the workplace and multiply. Instead it will keep it confined to the household it started in and reduce risks of an outbreak. An agreed number of days working from home a week will not only help motivate individuals, but could bring about less annual sick days. I don't know about you, but I feel more rested when I don't have to commute all five days of the week. Also this pandemic could transform how shops and businesses operate - particularly the supermarkets - with more investment in people and resources to help fulfil the increased demand in online shopping.

It will help us take better care of the environment

Forget airborne viruses for just one second. Here in the UK we have had the most glorious weather since people have stopped commuting and have started working from home. Days of non stop sunshine and clear skies is unheard of here in the UK. It's a novelty. The fact that there is less pollution from air travel (less flights), factories (many in lock down) and commuting (cars being used less and no one taking the train into work any more) can't be a coincidence. As cabin fever inducing as staying home can be, you can't deny the good this will do the environment.

It will help us be more prepared in the future

This whole experience has taught me a lot and hopefully this is something we can all learn from. For me personally this has given me the drive to grow my own fruit and veg so I can be more independent in the future. Because if you can't get food and your supplies are running low, how do you survive? As a society, I hope this gives the government a kick up the backside to consider future strategies. At a time where isolation is essential, all stores should be closed. We need to have more of a focus on online food shopping with increased investment in people to meet demand. However such an arrangement is not ideal for individuals like the elderly who may not necessarily be connected online. During a pandemic, we almost need war time rations so we avoid the risk of people overbuying and depriving others. In an ideal situation, each household should be supplied with a weekly aid box. It will take into consideration the number of people - and their ages and health conditions - in each household and provide them with sanitary care, essentials like bread and milk, and healthy, nutritious ingredients like fresh fruit and veg. This will enable families to maintain a healthy diet and will ensure that everyone is on a level playing field.

It will make future cold and flu feel like a walk in the park

It will give us a sense of perspective and however crappy we feel from the common cold or regular flu in the future, we will have a new found appreciation that at least it's treatable and that we are fortunate to have the ability to soldier on and recover from it.

Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash

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