Silver Lining Amidst a Pandemic? Absolutely!

After being on a cruise for the entirety of my kid’s Spring break, I was a bit worried about the conditions back at home. Before we left, I’d cleaned out our refrigerator completely, and having bought no groceries in the entire week prior, I was prepared to get home, brave the store, then hunker down. 

It was at the grocery store than I had some epiphanies that I wanted to share, all of which are silver linings to this interesting and scary situation we’re in at the moment.

What’s So Good About Being Quarantined?

Several things! Below are a few that come to mind.

  1. Life-Giving Food is Available. (But you might have to look around for it, unfortunately.) The foods that make us healthy, give our bodies nutrients, and ones that boost our immune system are in a grocery store somewhere near you. When I stepped back and looked at my grocery cart, the colors were gorgeous. This is what we all know about eating healthy, right? Shop on the perimeter of the store, and not the middle. Those foods that are grown or raised, and in their original form, are the absolute best for our bodies. Given that we absolutely need to boost our immune systems right now, this is very good news! So, stay away from the middle of the store, and shop the life-giving food along the perimeter. These items freeze just fine, so you can still stock up.
  2. Slowness and Sensibility Are Good Things. While some stores have people going absolutely bananas, this isn’t true for every store. I’ve been several times, and people have been slow and methodical. True, they may be buying weird things they don’t need right now, based almost solely on fear. No need! Just buy the bare necessities—the things we actually need and not what we want. Trust me, the toilet paper will be restocked in time. (Plus, here’s a tip: Buy wet flushable wipes. If you got a little bit of poop on your arm would you simply wipe it off with a bit of toilet paper? No, you wouldn’t. So, think of your bottom the same way. Wet flushable wipes are actually better anyway!)
  3. Family Time is a Good Time. Kids are all home from school, but that doesn’t mean they have to stop learning. Plug them into all the many online learning programs available. Then, spend some good, quality time together! Play board games, watch a movie, organize a space together, do some baking, or go for a walk. 
  4. Spend Time in Nature. Speaking of going for a walk, you know what social distancing does allow? Going outside! We aren’t stuck inside, we’re just stuck not being in groups of people. Step outside, go for a walk, go ride your bike, take a jog, or sit on your back porch and listen to the birds. Research shows that people who spend more time in nature are less depressed, less anxious, and experience less stress overall. We could all use a little mental and emotional wellness right now. 
  5. Connect Virtually. We’re a virtual society, so this should not be hard. Want to sit and chat with a friend? Go for it! Thanks to apps like Facetime, Marco Polo, and Google Duo, visiting with friends is right at our fingertips. You can enjoy coffee together or even share a movie. Pop some popcorn and enjoy it together. Kids and teens can do this with their friends, too! 

Being quarantined doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy so many things that life has to offer. Frankly, I love the stark reminder that we don’t have to be so rushed through life, and we don’t have to live like we haven’t eaten in months. We can be intentional with our time rather than being so rushed. We can connect with our friends, and spend more time with our children. 

The world can feel like a scary place right now, but it doesn’t have to be. Pump the brakes on life, slow down, and take in all that your world has been trying to offer up, even when you missed it in the hurried pace of normal life. 

Jennifer Slingerland Ryan
Jennifer Slingerland Ryan knows a thing or two about kids and families. First, she knows they are joyous, exhilarating, loving and so darn fun. Second, she knows they suck your life dry and make you weep like a baby. By day she’s a psychotherapist; by night she’s a mom and wife. She claims to love therapizing couples, educating parents, reading dystopian fiction and sleeping in her free time (read: she never sleeps). Jennifer is a mom of twins who are sweet as sugar, but just hit that tween stage so all bets are off. Her youngest is...a joy. Let's just stop there. Most days you can find her in her office seeing clients, doing laundry, loading or unloading the dishwasher, or catching up on the latest episode of Real Housewives of (Insert City Here), Walking Dead or This Is Us. She is a tree-hugging country girl from West Texas who reads, writes, and teaches about human development and families as a hobby and profession. You can read more from Jennifer at her therapy blog, ichoosechange.com