As much as I want to be that person on the internet who complains about the hardships social distancing has caused, I am not her. I am the person who recognises the beauty of this break and I think it’s a truth that’s not acknowledged enough. The more time I spend social distancing, the more I find myself wondering, “hang on, there’s a lot of positives to this social distancing thing…”
Here are a few positive aspects I thought of while social distancing that may change your outlook on the current situation.
1. Better hygiene habits
This is truly a habit you never knew you needed. With our usual busy lifestyles, most of us forget to wash our hands as often as we should. These new hygiene habits recommended by the HSE will most likely find their way into our daily lives. All of us will be more likely to wash our hands more frequently and correctly. Sanitising surfaces and a cleaning schedule may be a larger priority and as a result, our physical well-being will be better maintained. Besides, who doesn’t want to sing a verse of Hozier while washing their hands? I love it and even President Higgins is doing it!
2. More time to discover
The best part about social distancing is that we have an unlimited amount of time to discover new skills and do different things we wouldn’t normally have a chance for. This can include learning a new language, sport or instrument. Who knows you might find yourself picking up an old skill you forgot you had a hidden talent for. So, dust off your flute, piano or whatever dream is sitting in the corner collecting dust bunnies and give her a whirl. If you have a pet, why not teach it some new tricks in the back garden? That’s what I’ve been doing anyway and have enjoyed learning some new tunes on the violin. Whether fun or difficult to master, these things will make you feel great once you have focused on them.
3. Fewer carbon emissions
Since the coronavirus lockdown, greenhouse gas emissions in Europe are set to drop 24.4 per cent according to the Independent Commodity Intelligence Service. Although these figures won’t last forever, it’s nice to think that all of this staying at home is helping the earth and helping fight climate change. Who knew that by no longer getting up early to avoid traffic, commuting to work or school, or buying petrol would improve our air quality and lessen our carbon footprint that much? I didn’t! I think we definitely deserve a pat on the backs for our efforts in helping our planet revive itself, and we should keep the environment in mind when this is all over.
4. Catching up on your sleep
For some people, it can be hard to get good quality sleep if you’re in the house all day. But this is the perfect time to wind down and reassess your sleep schedule. You now have a chance to go for a warm bath before bed to make your eyelids droop and swap fizzy drinks and tea for decaffeinated ones before bed. If you really can’t resist, you can always be like me and set your alarm for a 20-minute power nap during the day. I guarantee you will wake up feeling fresh as a daisy.
5. Read your heart out
A good book and a nice cup of warm tea are all you need to feel better while social distancing in my opinion. We can use them as a well-deserved break from our normally busy realities and an escape from the textbooks, or dreaded work files. They open us up to a world of pure imagination, develop our knowledge in other areas and do wonders for our creativity skills. Reading a book is totally possible right now. So far, I have read about two novels already and highly recommend you to become a book worm as you won’t regret it.
I think it’s widely known that COVID-19 has turned everyone’s lives completely upside down. Many of us are stressed, heart-broken and anxious over Ireland’s new social distancing measures. I completely understand if you are feeling this way, but social distancing doesn’t have to be all bad. If you are still not convinced of the silver linings, I have a statistic that might change your mind. So far, cases of COVID-19 are currently growing at a rate of 10 per cent a day – a sharp reduction from earlier growth rates, which were about 33 per cent. This means we are flattening the curve and by continuing to social distance it is totally possible to flatten the curve further.