The top 5 silver linings of being in isolation.

There’s no denying that the last couple of weeks have been very difficult. Frightening, inconvenient, frustrating, restrictive and yes, being home with the family all the time can drive you mad. Most upsetting for us is that were not able to continue your child’s learn to swim education at this time, but everyone has the same story right now – all of our daily and weekly routines are changed beyond recognition and we all have financial, emotional, and practical considerations and adjustments to deal with. Some people have been able to slow down a little, others are juggling more than ever before, and we are all concerned about both the short and long term consequences – how do we maintain some kind of new routine whilst also keeping our heads above water? Some days it’s hard to stay positive, but it sometimes helps to focus on the silver linings and the benefits that might come out of this forced isolation. I was recently reminded of an inspirational quote from the late motivational author Louise Hay, who said “I do not fix problems. I fix my thinking, then problems fix themselves”. This helped me to focus my thinking on identifying the top 5 silver linings from the situation we all find ourselves in……

1) Family connection: Being in the company of my children and other half for 24 hours a day seven days a week is interesting, and we’ve certainly had our moments, BUT we’ve also found that small things have been able to bring us a lot of pleasure. Preparing dinner together, staying up a little later and watching a movie together as a treat, or going out for an afternoon walk just to get some fresh air and sunshine, are all things that we would never have had the time to do before this enforced slow down. Rather than focusing on the things we’re missing, I’m trying to focus on the moments we’re gaining.

2) Finding out where my children’s educational strengths and weaknesses lie, and how adaptable we all are under pressure: As much of a challenge as home schooling three children at three different stages of school can be, it’s also been quite educational for us as parents. We all lead such busy lives, and I had no idea that my children were struggling in some areas and excelling in others. The necessity of helping them with their education at the moment has given us a much clearer picture of where they are in their learning and will remind me to stay mindful of monitoring this when the crisis has passed. The enthusiasm with which they have taken to meeting with teachers, coaches and friends using online platforms and taking it all completely in their stride has impressed me greatly. Children are resilient and they will bounce back. In the meantime I think we adults also deserve a pat on the back for learning to do things differently, and should be grateful for the technology that allows us to effectively work from home if appropriate to our job and stay connected generally.

3) Learning to do more with less: One of the main challenges we all face during this time is the threat to our household incomes. Being mindful of using whatever is already in the house or in the cupboards is already making us less wasteful and more resourceful. In our family we’ve taken it a step further and are using this time as a chance to teach our children more about budgeting and finances, using the ‘Barefoot Investor’s’ financial strategy for children. It really surprised us how enthusiastic the children became about finding three jam jars and labelling them with three different types of expenses, then enthusiastically picking the chores they would do each week to earn their pocket money. You may already be doing some version of this, but again, up until now, I hadn’t had time to implement something like this. More information can be found here if you would like a starting point: http://barefootinvestor.com/resources/

4) It’s worth it – we are keeping our community safer: By staying in an isolating as much as possible over the coming days weeks and months we bring down the risk of community transmission of coronavirus. The short term inconvenience is worth the avoidance of community based virus transmission, and staying safer is what we’ve always been about. The consequences to the community of not staying in isolation are too grim to think about.

5) The crisis is bringing out the good in most people, and the best is yet to come. Personal behaviour and who we prove ourselves to be during this crisis will define us moving forward, individually and as a society. In both our personal worlds and on a global scale we are seeing so many examples of kindness, generosity and support, and appreciation of our amazing Dr’s, nurses, teachers and other essential workers working incredibly hard during this period. Let’s imagine how wonderful it’s going to be when we finally come up for air and don’t have to think twice about visiting friends, catching up with family, taking our children to their activities, learning to swim, popping to the shops, going to the movies, or having a much needed holiday. We will appreciate everything we have so much more – as they say, after the storm comes the rainbow. In the meantime, aim for survival rather than perfection, and try not to put too much pressure on yourself in the short term.

What are your top tips and silver linings during this surreal time in our lives? We would love to hear from you – maybe create a few minutes to park the fear and concern and anxiety aside, and really think about it, then share your top unexpected benefit from this time in our lives with us via Facebook, by either commenting on this post or send us a private message! We are all in this together, and I think we will be a stronger community moving forward because of it. Stay home, stay safe, see you soon.