April 12, 2020
As the morning birds chirp their spring song, you gradually wake up. Last night, you gladly surrendered to the sleep that allowed you to stop thinking about the pandemic that has taken over your everyday life. With nothing else to do, you pick up your phone, and to no surprise, the first word you inevitably see is coronavirus (COVID-19). It’s another article relaying hospitals’ lack of supplies. It’s another toxic statement from Trump. It’s another exponential jump in deaths. Whatever it is, it’s bad.
It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic is scary, stressful and anxiety-inducing. For some of us, it’s more than just news. With growing numbers of confirmed cases, the sick, worried people we used to see on TV are not just strangers, but some of our friends and family. This pandemic has completely altered our way of life, but I’m not here to give you another negative thing to read. I’m here to adjust your point of view—even if just for five minutes—because any bit of optimism is valuable in this uncertain time.
It’s about time to address some silver linings.
Even though we have been experiencing many emotions day-to-day within confinement, there are some positive things that have come out of the quarantine. Some of these things include taking part in hobbies and activities that you normally wouldn’t take part in, the increased creation of media for the sake of entertainment, and the reduction of carbon emissions.
People around the world have been creative when it comes to keeping busy and staying healthy. One of the most common ways individuals are maintaining their mental and physical health is by going on walks. Think about how often—before quarantining measures—you set aside the time to take a walk, take a step away from electronics and take interest in the self-reflection that these things typically generate. It’s reassuring to think about the amount of time you’re dedicating to yourself right now.
Another great source of optimism for many people is connecting with friends. This is also something that has been happening for me a lot more often now than it did before the COVID-19 crisis. Zoom calls have brought me closer to people that normally don’t have much time to hang out. Even though we are physically away from friends and family, we have the ability to continue to build community.
Old and new hobbies have become an additional pastime. This is refreshing because the chaos of pre-quarantine life rarely allowed for many of us to spend nearly as much time with our hobbies that we’d like. It’s rewarding to simply sit back and think about all the things you now have time for. Looking at it this way, this shift in priority is energizing in an otherwise lethargic time.
The next spirit-lifter has been the increase of content that has been released on social media, since everyone is at home with nothing else to do. The iHeart Living Room Concert for America that Elton John hosted included at-home performances from Alicia Keys, Billie Eilish, The Backstreet Boys, Dave Grohl, Billie Joe Armstrong and more. This thoughtful source of entertainment brought music into our homes from theirs, and raised money for the virus. Another source of positivity came from The Office star, John Krasinski, as he hosted “Some Good News,” a segment in which he reported only good news and also included Steve Carell—through a Zoom call of course. While these sources of entertainment from celebrities is a nice escape from reality, it can’t go without mention the insensitive content some celebrities have released. One instance is Drake’s Instagram post showing a video of his lavish at-home basketball court with the caption, “My life for the next however long.” Thanks for that, Drake. Overall, though, the media has been a great contributor to alleviating boredom.
Finally, it’s important to note that as a result of people around the world remaining at home for the past couple of weeks, carbon emissions have been reduced. Many factories have been shut down, air travel has decreased and the economy is downing. All of these factors have contributed to a nearly 25% decrease in carbon emissions in China. We have to keep in mind that emissions are likely to grow after the pandemic is controlled, possibly even offsetting the decrease, however, G-FEED states, “the reductions in air pollution in China caused by this economic disruption likely saved twenty times more lives in China than have currently been lost directly due to infection with the virus.” We need to bring more awareness to the positive effects of the decrease in carbon emissions so that after controlling this pandemic, we walk away with an even larger goal of keeping carbon emissions reduced.
Hopefully we left you with some clever ways to help make your quarantine a better place. Hopefully this gives you just a bit more purpose to keep pushing through the stress and anxiety of this mess. Hopefully you can see the silver lining.
Rachel Gignac is a junior professional writing major with a focus in editing and publishing and a minor in graphic design. Her enthusiasm for editing can be recognized in her work as a content editor for the official Michigan State yearbook, the Red Cedar Log. Outside of work and school, she fulfills her love for art and photography through traveling and crossing as many countries off her list as she can.