The upsides to the pandemic

The upsides to the pandemic

by Stacy Roman
Stripes Europe

Being in the throes of Lockdown 2.0 is challenging. We’ve already been through this once before, so we should be pros at this by now, right? However, just because we’re running through our Netflix catalog again or streaming Hallmark Christmas movies 24/7 doesn’t mean we’re not experiencing mental challenges. Everything feels as though it’s back online, stores and restaurants have shuttered (again) and with winter rapidly approaching, the great outdoors are a bit more limited. While it’s easy to focus on the negatives, there are actually quite a few upsides to the pandemic.

  1. Remote working has become more of the norm. Although you may miss the banter of your co-workers, the dawn of working remotely as a norm is upon us. Yes, it can be difficult to juggle the work/life balance, but it can be pretty rewarding. Personally, I’ve truly enjoyed working from home. I’m able to concentrate and knock things out more quickly than when I was in the office. I find I can be a little more flexible in my schedule and throw in a load of laundry when I need to walk away for a minute. Also, I don’t need to worry about the lingering smell of leftover fish if a co-worker decides to heat it up for lunch. Sometimes, it’s about the small wins.
  2. Fostering better relationships with family members. Since we’ve entered the age of Zoom and Google Meet, we’ve been able to check in on family members a lot easier. Although I would FaceTime with my parents in California prior to the pandemic, since I know I’m not able to visit (nor are they allowed out here), we tend to chat face-to-face online a lot more than we used to. Since after-school sports are limited to nonexistent for my teens, they lurk around the house a lot more. It’s been nice to see their faces and have conversations exceeding monosyllabic words.
  3. A greater appreciation for healthcare providers and front-line workers. Healthcare professionals and those who work the front lines of the pandemic have rarely been able to catch a break over the past year. Not only are they flooded with COVID-19 cases, but they still have nonemergency patients to see on a daily basis. Cashiers, warehouse stock employees, managers and other essential personnel ensure you have the essentials (toilet paper included) to get you through lockdown. Much respect to these personnel during such trying times.
  4. Enjoying the great outdoors. Even though the wintry chill is in the air, these past few months of restrictions have been a great way to see nature’s beauty. We can’t travel far, but we’ve discovered hidden parks, hiking trails and hilly bluffs overlooking valleys and just enjoyed the outdoor gems our host nation has to offer.
  5. There is a bit more wiggle room in the bank accounts. I’ll be the first to admit I miss traveling. We’re embarking on our final months in Europe and there are still a lot of places on my list I haven’t had a chance to see yet. However, my wallet is grateful for the breathing room. We took the money we budgeted for travel and were able to pay off the majority of our debt and start socking away savings — which will be helpful considering we’ll be moving at the same time our son starts college.
  6. Learning a new skill or fostering a talent. How many of us went on a baking binge during the spring? Anyone else master the skill of the sourdough starter? Honestly, had it not been for the pandemic, many of us wouldn’t have tried our hands at something new. Because we had nothing but time on our hands, we were able to learn new skills or hone the ones we’re passionate about. I’ve had friends learn how to play piano and the ukulele, while others created color masterpieces in their gardens.

Lockdowns and travel restrictions are frustrating and challenging, especially when you’re being subjected to more than one. Rather than focus on the things you aren’t able to do, look at the bright side and the things you can do. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and we can get through this together.

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