It’s the end of the world as we know it. And I feel fine — R.E.M
Life, as you know it, is canceled. And it looks like this is the new normal for an indeterminate amount of time. You may be working from home now, working less, or not working at all. There’s no eating out, no going to the movie theater, no live music events. Hell, even the gym is closed.
When you’re used to the frenzied, frantic, furious pace of modern life, this tortoiselike existence can feel, well, boring. Plus, if you’re like most people, you’re a bit stressed about the whole “total economic collapse, and the end of the world as we know it” thing. But never fear, the widespread panic which has ensued is far more dangerous than the actual Covid 19 virus. And if you look closely, there are benefits to living life in the decelerated lane.
First, Be Grateful
But before we discuss the perks of this pandemic, take a moment and make a list of what you have for which you can be grateful. It’s more than you realize. Water? Check. Shelter? Check. Food? Triple check.
In reality, these are the only items necessary for your survival. If you‘re healthy, have a robust savings account, and your family is well, you’re one of the lucky few.
If you aren’t in the habit of being grateful, try it. It’s a vital way to start your day to keep your mind from ruminating on the plethora of unfortunate events that continue to occur around the globe. It will keep your spirits up when the going gets tough. And it might.
It’s All Relative
If you live in a developed western nation like the US, you’ve been living a life of relative luxury. Don’t get me wrong, no one gets through this life unscathed, and you’ve no doubt experienced some adversity. But, compared to individuals in other nations, and of different times, you’ve had it good. In other words, you’re spoiled. We all are. And now is an excellent time to acknowledge it so you can put our current plight in perspective.
Currently, two million children are living on the streets in Bangladesh. They have no electricity, running water, toilets, or any of the modern conveniences you’ve no doubt enjoyed throughout your lifetime.
These barefoot kids, many as young as three-years-old, scavenge the local refuse dumps for any recyclable item they can salvage. Then, they turn in the recyclables and receive a tiny bit of cash so they can buy food for their entire family.
Right now, five East African countries are plagued by swarms of desert locusts, which are systematically decimating crop after crop. They’ve already destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres, and the hordes could grow 500 times by June. And they’re not just destroying the food supply; the swarms are so dense, people to stay indoors since daily life is near impossible.
Then there’s the civil war in Syria– but I think you get the point. So, I digress. Things may seem dismal, but bombs aren’t exploding on our homes, and we do not have to beat back swarms of locusts to go stock up on toilet paper, which apparently, is vital to our existence.
Back to the Benefits
So, I promised you benefits, and I shall deliver on said promise. If you flip your mental switch and focus on the possible benefits of your new lifestyle, you’ll find they’re numerous. They may differ from person to person, but here are a few to get you started:
- There’s less traffic: If you’re still going to work, you may have noticed that traffic is light. Remember all those times you sat in traffic, wishing you had could be anywhere else or that you could get the time back you were wasting just sitting there? Now’s the time to enjoy the freedom of driving to work, unimpeded.
- You’ve got extra time: If you’re working from home, you now have the time you used to spend commuting to work. How much time is it? 30 minutes? An hour? Two hours or more? Do something with it. Exercise, meditate, play with your kids, or your dog, or your partner. Have a leisurely breakfast at the table. Do something that you used to say you would do if it “weren’t for my damn commute.”
- You’ve got lots of extra time: If you’re not working, you’ve got a plethora of time. Yes, it can be stressful to be unemployed and have all that extra time on your hands. But, think about how many days you’ve wished you could stay home from work. You now have the time to begin or continue your path to enlightenment, start doing yoga regularly, cook all your meals, organize your house, exercise, finish projects, or start that blog or YouTube channel. Spend time with people you care about, get reacquainted with your creativity, lay on your back in the grass, and make shapes out of the cloud formations. Do something to reconnect with life’s simpler pleasures and use this time for self-improvement.
- It’s less crowded: If you live in a major metropolis, there are far fewer people out and about. It’s like going back in time to the ’70s, and it’s a relief to have some space, so enjoy it. It’s not going to last forever.
- You’re going to save money: Since many restaurants are closed, you’ll be eating at home more often. You won’t buy tickets to events, get a massage, have drinks with friends, etc. You’ll save money on all these items and on the gas to get there.
- You can lose those extra pounds: If you’ve been saying you’d get in shape if only you “had the time,” that excuse is now mute. But I’m not talking about dieting. Diets don’t work. Use this extra time to educate yourself on the lifestyle adjustments required to finally lose weight for good.
- Learn to cook: Since the grocery store shelves are shockingly bare and the majority of restaurants are closed, it’s a fantastic time to learn to cook. There are YouTube videos aplenty that offer basic and advanced cooking classes for free. Or, if you already know your way around the kitchen, time to up your game. Cooking your meals has a plethora of health benefits and is a vital lifestyle adjustment for number six.
So, look at the bright side. You may find it challenging at first, but with practice, you’ll find the benefits behind this drastic lifestyle transformation are numerous and you’ll begin to notice them easier. Besides, when did it help any unfortunate situation to ruminate on the negative? So, take reasonable precautions to keep yourself and your loved ones well. Then relax. I promise you’ll be just fine if you run out of toilet paper.