Calm in the Chaos - Tips for a Better Life
4 Silver Linings to Stay Home, Stay Safe
by Jamie Spannhake
April 11, 2020
I was thinking today as I am stuck at home again about how it is a very grave situation with Covid-19 and the corona virus. We have to be respectful of that and not make light of the seriousness but, at the same time, it’s really important for us to remember to laugh when we can. I was thinking about reframing the stories we are listening to and telling ourselves in our head, and how we can go from panic to instead focusing on the silver linings. I thought of 4 things that are not positive or beneficial and how to reframe them so that we are focusing on the more positive aspects.
1. The first is that “OMG I am stuck at home all the time.” I’m fortunate that I live in a rural area so I can go outside. But I know for lots of people that are in cities, you really are stuck inside and there’s not much opportunity to get out of your house or apartment. Two of the things that are silver linings for being stuck at home all the time are: I’m really catching up on my sleep because I don’t have anywhere that I need to be other than at home. So that’s great. And the other is that my car is really benefiting. I’m saving a ton of money on gas and in not putting the nearly 18,000 miles per month on my car that I normally put on it from driving so much. So those are two silver linings.
Now if I could just find some toilet paper (because we’re down to 3 rolls), it wouldn’t be such a big deal to be stuck at home!
2. The second thing is that “OMG I cannot go see anybody or give them a hug or shake their hand,” except for my immediate family. The reframing of that is: I am saving so much money on laundry in that I’m not having to do that much because I only have workout clothes and pajamas to wash. So, my clothes are actually being saved as well – they will last longer. And there’s no need for make-up and I don’t have to fix my hair (as you can see!), and I really don’t even have to take a shower because on zoom you can’t smell me. I have been showering, but if I didn’t want to, I don’t have to! And because I don’t need make-up or to fix my hair, the thing that I can do is: I can feign not knowing how to make video work when I am on a zoom call so no one can see me if I don’t want them to.
3. The third panic item for me – again these are not the real serious, grave things, these are the more mundane things that are affecting our everyday life – the third one: I can’t eat out. That is one of my favorite extracurricular activities: going to restaurants, trying new food, and eating delicious things. But the silver lining is that, surprisingly, even though I am home all the time where I could be snacking – and I am – I m actually losing weight. I don’t know if that’s because of the anxiety and stress associated with this, or if it’s because there is a good reason that food at the restaurant is so delicious. Because it has more calories, more sugar, more salt, all those things that make it so yummy delicious. So that’s a benefit. And once again, I’m saving money because I’m not eating out so much. And I’m cooking, which is enjoyable when I don’t have a bunch of other things that I need to be doing, which I don’t right now.
4. The fourth thing, the last thing, that I’m panicking about is that I am now responsible for my child’s education. I think “WTF, I pay a lot of good money to have someone who’s qualified do that because I am not. Whether you pay private school tuition or pay taxes for your kids to go to public school, we all pay money to have qualified people educate our children. Right now, even with distance learning, I am the primary teacher because I have 3rd grader, not a high schooler. Reframing that, the silver lining is that I am getting to spend a lot of time with my daughter. It’s not always enjoyable because I am the one pushing, trying to motivate, but still it’s fun. I am learning the things she is learning, or relearning them sometimes. I see what she is doing at school, which is interesting to me. For example, right now she is learning about Africa. We are learning about all the different peoples, languages, countries, animals, and geological and geographical diversity, which is pretty amazing. That’s fun. And I am relearning math, the NEW way, which, unlike most adults in the United States, is the way I do math. So for me, this is very exciting. And it’s a bonding moment when my daughter and I can both looked cross-eyed at her dad when he says “carry the one.” And she’s like “what?!” Exactly!
I hope that this has been a little bit of a break from the seriousness of the news. We should be grateful for the silver linings, and grateful that we have the things that we truly need. I hope you stay well, stay home, stay safe, and I will see you again soon!