The Good in the Bad!
Danielle Bonney McPherson
March 18th, 2020
We can always find something good in what seems bad. We are all feeling the effects of the Coronavirus in this uncertain time. It is especially apparent in the social isolation we are experiencing in all of our attempts to keep safe from spreading it. No one feels it more poignantly than the elderly.
Older people are often already isolated. Many have had good friends, siblings, parents and spouses who are long gone. Most have retired from the routine of work life, and given up their independence of being able to drive. They were already at risk for anxiety and depression more than any other group in our society.
Although we all need to be very cautious and take the isolation and protection of ourselves and others seriously, especially the elderly, this is not the time to build emotional walls as well. It is a time to call on our better angels and get creative.
Here are some ideas to help our older friends, family, and neighbors feel less isolated, and for all of us to pass this time with reduced anxiety and loneliness.
Don’t isolate emotionally-We all need time alone with our thoughts occasionally, but when they are fearful, full of uncertainty, and we can’t talk them out, they can grow into anxiety and hopelessness. So even though we may not be able to physically go and visit someone, we can pick up the phone and call. Here is our opportunity to connect with old friends, family that is near or far, and maybe introduce ourselves to a neighbor we have never met. This gives all of us a chance to talk about what is going on in the world. We all have concerns and questions and when we talk about them, they seem a little less scary.
Give-We all hear, giving is a gift we give ourselves. Here is our chance to do something very small, that may make a much bigger difference than we realize! If you know an elderly person that is home alone, stop by or call and let them know you are going to the grocery store or the drug store and ask them to make a list, you will get what they need and leave it on their doorstep. If you have toilet paper, share some with them-this is a good ice breaker if you have never met them and a chance to share a laugh! Stop by with a book or two and lend it to them or offer to go to the library.
Take a break from it all-Take a walk in your neighborhood, out in the woods, or by the water. Feel the peace nature can provide for us. Listening to the birds, reminds us that it is spring and new life is all around us. Life in nature is unaffected and going on despite the Coronovirus.
Laugh-Laughter is still the best medicine. It takes away stress, floods us with endorphins that boost our immune system. Watch a favorite, funny movie or show on Netflix, talk to someone who always makes you laugh.
Enjoy- The time will pass anyway, how about reading a novel that takes us away to someone else’s life in a time or place that makes us forget for a little while the reality we have at hand. My husband and I are doing a really hard puzzle on our dining room table in the evenings. We barely talk we are so immersed in finding the pieces, it’s like we are meditating. I am going to get ready for spring by planting bulbs and starting seeds indoors.
Eventually life will return to normal. The good in the bad during this time will perhaps be that we made a new friend, drew closer with our families, built resilience, or made someone’s life a little easier. Let’s all do something our future selves will thank us for while we have the time.