By Medicine Hat News Opinion on May 7, 2020.
We are living in a world that can be scary and full of unknowns. Never before has there been anything exactly like the COVID-19 pandemic that has been terrorizing the world. Governments have followed recommendations of researchers and health experts in ways that have changed our entire lifestyles. At the same time, however, I have noticed there are many positives that are occurring every day.
1. Time – Being required to respect physical distancing and working from home for those who can, has allowed us much more time to pursue interests. Many people are investing the extra hours saved in hobbies, learning a language, reading, or exercising.
2. Money – A large portion of the population have less money coming into the household but those who are on fixed incomes have told me that they are spending less than they did previously. Some of this, of course, is because businesses such as beauty shops and retail outlets are closed but being at home also means that there seems to be less interest in spending money.
3. Skills – Being at home provides more opportunities to learn and use skills. Many family members are cooking and baking, renovating, starting seedlings, doing their own hair or sewing – practical skills that our ancestors used for everyday survival. Before, our busy schedules often would encourage us to turn to others to do the things that we are now doing ourselves.
4. Relationships – More time with those who live in your home can be positive – a time to communicate and share activities. Fortunately, we have social media sites and technology that allow us to stay close to loved ones who are living at a distance. Close proximity can also be stressful though and it is therefore important to schedule “alone” time.
5. Reflection – Facing difficulties can lead to assessment and realignment of values. When we are in isolated situations, we begin to think about what is really important in life. Most recently the ideas of health and loved ones top the list.
I know that there are many challenges that have been brought on by the pandemic. One of the most serious is that we do not have any clear idea about exactly how it will affect us and when it will end. It is therefore very important to drastically limit the input from TV and internet as these can significantly increase stress. Instead, focus on the things that you can do that will make today and your future more satisfying.
And remember to laugh as often as possible for laughter is good for the soul.
Dr. Linda Hancock is a Registered Psychologist. She can be reached at 403-529-6877 or through email firstname.lastname@example.org