Appreciating Small Joys During Social Distancing

In the beginning of social distancing I was anxious and felt emotions such as fear, sadness, anger, confusion and dread. During the shut down it felt like if we could hold our breath and suck it up long enough, then we would make it through to the other side alright, but then my state’s stay at home order was extended by another month. 

When I heard the news, I felt crushed. It felt like all these weeks of waiting had been for nothing. Eventually, I realized that I had to learn to accept where the world was at and I chose to focus on the positive things happening now instead of covering my eyes and hiding until a better future arrived. Once I started doing this - the first time I let myself laugh; the first time I said a simple “those flowers look nice” - I felt instantly better, even if it was just for a short moment, and I wanted to continue that feeling. Soon it became a habit to actively seek out the positives in situations, and I feel it has greatly improved my mental health. 

Here are some small joys of the new normal that I have learned to appreciate:

 

  1. 1. Talking to people

    Three women talking and laughing on the wooden bench next to the tulip flower field

    Somewhat of an obvious one now that we are all being forced to social distance, but I have found myself appreciating communicating with others on a deeper level. From Facetiming with friends, to a simple hello or a wave in passing to a stranger, connecting with other people hits different now.

  2. 2. Appreciating other peoples' efforts

    Girl At Farm

    Both large and small. From the healthcare workers on the frontlines to the members of your community trying to spread a little light. Take notice and appreciate those who make the effort to help other people, and then try to do the same yourself. Recently on campus I noticed a new bed of flowers had been planted along one of the sidewalks, and I felt gratitude to whoever had taken their time and energy to plant some beauty for people to enjoy.

  3. 3. Counting your blessings

    morning stretch

    Take time to appreciate the little things in your life like the warmth of your bed and the view from your window. Take time to appreciate that you’re healthy, safe, and have a home to shelter in. There are blessings all around you once you start paying attention. You have food. You have clean water. You have comfy clothes. You have ways to entertain yourself. There are countless things to be grateful for!

  4. 4. Taking time to laugh

    woman sitting and smiling excitement

    Finally, take time to appreciate the little humors around you. They’re there. Yes there are larger, scarier things going on in the world right now, but it’s okay to take a moment to laugh. Appreciate the zoom call bloopers, when someone didn’t know their camera or mic was on. Laugh at yourself and your midnight snack creations. Be silly, let your guard down. Send ugly snaps to your friends. Try something new and be bad at it. Do whatever will make you smile, and then be happy for yourself that you’re smiling again.

I'm sure a psychology expert can explain this trend more eloquently than I can, but all I can say from my point of view is that this habit makes me feel better,and for right now that's enough. 

Thank you to our healthcare workers, essential workers and all of the helpers! <3