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Ten Silver Linings to Self-Isolation

Negativity and fear seem to be a daily fixture in society right now.

I know I have had many sleepless nights and tumultuous days worrying about everything that is beyond my control.  In order to maintain sanity I have chosen to focus on what we still have, and some positive changes amongst all of this crazy Covid-19 chaos. Last night as my husband and I curled up with our glass of wine to watch the last episode of Tiger King, it dawned on me that this was the first Netflix series we had been able to watch in its entirety since the birth of our first daughter seven years ago! We have a million series we want to watch, but never the time to sit down and binge. This hiatus has allowed us the gift of trashy television viewing without guilt! So here are a few more silver linings I’ve been able to identify amongst one of the larger storm clouds of our lives.

#1 The excuse to wear crap clothing

For reasons unbeknownst to everyone, including myself, I have saved much of my childrens’ hole-y, ripped and slightly stained clothing. This is perfect, because now we can save our nicer and more socially acceptable wardrobes for the return to normalcy. As for now, its shredded leggings and mismatched socks all the way! 

#2 A use for bar soap

If you are anything like me, you may prefer shower gel to bar soap. Over the past decade, well-intentioned relatives have gifted me countless bars of soap. Following in the footsteps of my grandmother, said bars of soap have graced my drawers, infusing my clothing with an antique lavender scent. However, due to  my lack of desire to brave the grocery store and replace my shower gel, I have taken to using these ancient soaps, because, let’s face it- no one can even get close enough to smell me anymore! 

#3 Becoming a pastry chef

If I ever had a dream of becoming a pastry chef, now would be the time to act!  With lots of time and nowhere to go, my family members have become dessert guinea pigs. We have tried cobbler and meringues, granola bars and coconut cream pies. Though some fall close to the failure mark, many do turn out relatively well. I find there is less room for complete failure when dealing with sugar and carbs, and my crew seems to have fairly low standards when it comes to presentation. 

#4 Book researcher- my new hobby

Have you ever read an amazing book, one that left you haunted for days? Those are the best kinds of books, but with so many on my list to read, I generally jump from one right to another. Not anymore! I just completed American Dirt, by Jeanine Cummins (if you have not read this- you must add it to your list!) I was enraptured by her realistic descriptions of Mexican migrants which prompted me to spend hours watching live video coverage of La Bestia and the perilous journey on the cross-Mexican train. I devoured so many articles about the drug cartel that I am slightly worried I will be flagged for my unquenchable thirst for information about this underground world. I am in book-nerd heaven!

#5  Saving money on makeup!

Has anyone else realized how much money you can save on makeup if you only do yourself up on video conferencing days!?! Let me enlighten you! I estimate that in a short month I could save enough to make at least a half-dozen Starbucks trips for my essential grande americano misto with two shots of sugar free vanilla…. The downside is that I look a little like a rabid raccoon for the majority of the week, but thats my family’s problem, I don’t have to look at myself.

#6 Forced technology adoption

At first I thought this was a huge downside to self-isolation. I was so frustrated with the amount of technology I needed to learn quickly so that I could teach my students from afar and my children from home.  However, as the stress headaches and sleepless nights slowly waned, I realized that the gains in learning I have made are incredible. I am not a techie. I’d say I sit solidly and happily at the bottom 10% of society. In fact, it was only months ago that I admitted to a close friend that I didn’t know how to take a screenshot! But guys…  since my forced techie immersion I have made a 3D python appear on my dining room floor and scared the living daylights out of my kids! I’ve also finally figured out how to make those cutesy bunny ears on Messenger Chat. Ahhhh, I feel like I can take on the world (or at least catch up to the bottom 20% ).

#7 So many walks!

Have you ever wandered so much in your life? I think I have been up and down every single  path my neighbourhood has to offer. Daily. I know I can’t be the only one. I’m noticing the same bullmastiff leading its owner around the walk behind our house a few times a day. When we all emerge from the covid cocoon I think we will all be in much better shape…. Which takes me to my next point…

#8 Home workouts

I loathe home workouts. Though my husband and I love running and are active gym members, I have pretty much zero interest in working out at home. With self-isolation I have been forced to try some online classes, and have discovered so many new workouts, all within the comfort of my unfinished basement, and while sporting my grungiest workout gear (refer to silver lining  # 1). We’ve done Hiit, Zumba, personalized weight training without weights, and let’s not forget the Just Dance video with my eldest daughter during which I pulled my back trying to hip thrust.

#9 Sooooo much time!!!!

I’ve often wondered what I would do if I had all the time in the world. Let me tell you, my dream expectations had me making homemade beeswax wraps,  perfecting my apple pie and redecorating our downstairs bathroom. Somehow all the time in the world has still not made me a decent homemaker, but it has allowed me to play board games without watching the clock, sew Brownie badges on sashes, write this blog and finally put my washer through the 4 hour cleaning cycle! Now just imagine what else I can accomplish in the following months….

#10 Watching the World Come Together

It has been touching watching how communities are banding together to support each other. Never have I felt more a part of my community than now. We have a neighbourhood calendar highlighting each child’s birthday and we all post notes and signs in our windows. Recently two teens turned 18 and they had a pub crawl through the neighbourhood, picking up treats at different porches. I am also amazed by the kindness of people offering to get groceries for others, or a mom in my town who is sewing free masks for anyone who would like one, while others are donating fabric to her. It’s visible on a provincial and national scale as well, though you sometimes have to weed through the negativity to find it.

When the current situation becomes too overwhelming, I try to think about what myself and my family have actually gained from this time. We have been lucky to have not experienced Covid-19 symptoms, and my heart goes out to those who are struggling. I have found that this ordeal has forced me to find the good out there and to search for hope. I want this to be  one lesson I can carry forward when reality returns.

Natalie is an educator in St. Albert, Alberta. She is the mother of three energetic little girls, and one evil cat. She is passionate about adventure travel, culture and running.

Photo credit: TMW photography