The "new normal" has plenty of drawbacks, but if you stop to think about it, there are some major benefits to this time.
Are you one of those people who’s actually enjoyed some things about the quarantine? You may be afraid or ashamed to say it, as there are so many people who most definitely are not having a good time. Social distancing and lockdown has been unbearable for many, since it has meant being alone, far from family, or living in toxic situations, and/or under great stress.
If we say we’re happy spending all our time at home, it may seem as if we’re insensitive or have little empathy. Just as we are suffering the negative effects of the pandemic, however, it can be refreshing to know that there are people who’ve had good experiences as well, and who can bring strength to those who are in less positive situations.
We might dream of being able to travel, to have dinner in a restaurant, or to see a movie in the theater. Our children miss their friends very much, and many of us would love for them to be able to go back to school, which is still not possible in many places. We want the situation to end—but do we want everything, absolutely everything, that we are experiencing to end?
There are people who have lived through the quarantine in unity with their families, surrounded by the love of those who are dear to them. Some have been able to continue with their jobs, or even have more work than before. Some have discovered, or rediscovered, things they weren’t aware of or didn’t appreciate before.
There are people who have found the pandemic to be an opportunity for change, to improve their relationships, to live with greater faith, to discover something new, or to learn new skills. They have more to offer the world today than they did before the pandemic. Let’s hope that this growth is not lost.
Here are 5 ways some of us have grown …
1Working on our relationships with others
In an era of social distancing, there is no doubt that our relationships are what matter most. Quarantine has meant ending some relationships, finding creative ways to sustain others, and reconsidering boundaries. In the end, good relationships are worth continuing to cultivate, because they help us become the best version of ourselves.
This time has helped us to take friendship less for granted. We’ve had to plan better in order to nurture those relationships in a world where the expression of friendship and affection has been reduced to walks while wearing masks, virtual games with friends, and phone calls of support to those who are far away, or to those from whom we had not heard in a long time.
2Being close to family
This pandemic has made it clear how important it is to spend time with family. While balancing everything can be a real challenge, many working parents are enjoying the extra family time that quarantine has given them. Much more can be shared around a table with home-cooked meals or while enjoying walks together than if everyone is off doing something different.
Even when children interrupt meetings to ask questions or say things, they remind us how grateful we need to be for the opportunity to be present at important moments in their childhood. These months of working from home have created unique memories with them that we may not have been able to have while we were away from home.
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3Getting to know our children better once again
Many have realized that, in the rush to get children to school on time and think about a thousand things to do, they had completely lost touch with their children’s emotions. They no longer knew or understood them as they did when they were babies, when they could almost instinctively anticipate almost every possible situation.
Parents have relearned their children’s signals, learning at what times of the day they are likely to be hungry, which foods will control their cravings and which will keep them relatively calm, what they like and what their favorite things are. Many have rebuilt a relationship they didn’t even know they had lost.
4More time together for spouses
Participating more regularly and visibly with shared household tasks can do wonders for the health of a relationship. Working together on a common goal can be very empowering for a couple, and keeping the house clean can provide a great sense of accomplishment and organization that makes a couple feel more united.
When there are fewer distractions, a couple has more time and space to focus on each other and the relationship itself. By not having a daily commute or plans for later, there’s more time to spend together and more intimacy. Couples who didn’t spend much time together before the pandemic have rediscovered themselves, and those who were already close have now redoubled their commitment.
Many people have felt “liberated” by not having to attend social events, parties or gatherings all the time. There has been a greater opportunity for many of us to stop talking about trivial things and to have more time to pray and focus on what really matters. How many people no longer remembered what silence was, or longed for more peace and quiet!
As life stops and reorganizes, people have a unique opportunity to focus on personal growth. There has never been a better time to get to know yourself. Now we can spend more time on analyzing how we’re doing on the inside and trying to incorporate more self-care into our routine, such as meditation or other forms of prayer, reading, and journaling.
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