We have spent a lot of time focusing on why quarantine is difficult. But, as hard as it has been, quarantine can also have a lot of benefits for your mental health. So, for a change, let’s focus on some of the silver linings of quarantine.
That being said, it might be hard for you to be optimistic right now, and that is ok. Whatever you are feeling, your feelings are valid. There is no doubt that these are strange times.
Besides having extra time to clean out your closets, what are some of the silver linings of quarantine?
Learning More About You
Many people associate their identity with their careers. But, now that we are working from home, separated from some of the day-to-day chaos of our regular jobs, or sadly without a job, you might be learning more about the different facets of yourself.
There is a lot more to every individual than what they do to earn an income. It is perfectly healthy, and frankly great, to be proud of what you do as a career but you are a multi-faceted person. Many layers make up your whole self and while working, you may have forgotten (or failed to notice) some of those.
Without your work or social life to dictate your day, you may have discovered more about what makes you unique—your passions, interests, hobbies, and skills. You may have also gained a greater appreciation for other parts of your life that used to take a backseat.
Spending More Time With Those You Love
If you have been one of the ones graced with the ability to slow down, you might have had more time to focus on what matters most in life—human connections.
If you are home with your family, you may have had more time for fun things like bike rides, game or movie nights, or special projects. You might have more time to cuddle with little ones and pay less attention to the clock.
You may have also been able to do internet calls with friends and family from afar and wonder “why have we not been doing this all along?” Too often we are so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life—going from work to school to other outings— that we have lost sight of the things that are most important to us.
If you have been unable to see family/friends because of quarantine, you may have realized just how much you miss them.
Focusing More On Self-Care
When we are always running from place to place we frequently lose sight of the things that make us feel good. We fail to practice self-care until we find ourselves run down and exhausted.
Now that you have been forced to slow down you may have been able to reconnect with nature or old hobbies (like that guitar you haven’t picked up in years). Maybe you have decided to start meditating and focusing your attention inward, for a change.
Self-care can be as simple as binge-watching that show you have been wanting to watch for months but haven’t had the time. Regardless of what it looks like for you, it’s extremely important—leading to lower stress and improved quality of life.
Greater Emphasis on Overall Health
Together with self-care, being home and not able to eat at a restaurant means you have more time to cook healthy meals. You may have found you aren’t stopping for fast food every evening on the way to softball practice or piano lessons. You may be eating together more as a family and choosing more wisely.
There may also be more time to exercise—run, ride a bike, or do a video. And, sleep. Sleep, sleep, sleep. Many of us weren’t getting enough of it before quarantine and now, well, we have the time.
As many places begin to reopen and we contemplate stepping out of our homes and reentering society, try to take some of these silver linings of quarantine with you. Try to recognize the importance of slowing down every once in a while. Hug your loved ones tight and continue to care for yourself.
And, when things feel overwhelming remember mental health professionals are just a phone call away.
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Author: Alison Pidgeon, LPC
Alison is the Founder and CEO of Move Forward Counseling, a boutique private practice for women with three locations in Lancaster County, PA. She is passionate about reducing the stigma related to accessing mental health services. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.