Some people who know me well would call me an optimist. Well, maybe a dreamer too! I like to look at the bright side of life and search for a “silver lining” wherever and whenever I can. That optimism feeds me and helps me do what I do every day, and that is to teach and inspire students within my care.
I am not going to lie. The COVID-19 pandemic that we are all facing at the moment has really challenged that optimism and the way I have approached life. So I spent time on day 20 of home isolation thinking and contemplating the positives, or shall we say benefits, of being home 24/7 with my dear family, instead of out in the world. It didn’t take long to create a list of positives / benefits that have come out of our family isolation as a result of a very real and concerning virus out there!
As I pondered the current situation, I had to admit to myself that I was enjoying all this home time with my family. The back story is my family of four—husband Bill (of 22 years) and teenage sons, Jess and Tom, ages 19 and 15 respectively—spent four years living in isolation in the eastern Arctic of Canada from 2007 to 2011. We have experience being shut off in our home for days on end during brutal snowstorms in the far north. So maybe I am a bit biased and better prepared than most for our current situation.
My list was created from the heart and from looking at the glass “half-full” instead of “half-empty.” See for yourself! Everyone’s experience is different when dealing with adversity. Yet if you can read my positives and identify a few yourself, then that would make my half-full glass a bit fuller.
THE LIST – BENEFITS OF BEING IN ISOLATION 24/7 (TORONTO, CANADA)
1. More sleep!
My kids have never looked so good, rested, young, and healthy. My husband and I no longer have to commute to work, so extra shut eye helps improve our mood, patience and joy eau de vie.
2. More productive in work.
As a result of no commute, there is more time and energy to dedicate to our jobs. We are more “on” and the coffee is always fresh and waiting to be consumed (when we take turns to make it). My sons are able to finish assignments faster, and let’s face it, they are way faster and more adept at connecting with others on social media.
3. More family dinners.
We are now eating most meals at the dining room table! We actually sit, look each other in the eyes and talk about our day (at home) without any interruptions or electronics close by. So 1980, eh?
4. More reading time.
Our T.V. is off because we are crazy sports fans (well, hockey is the best sport, of course, being Canadian) and there are no sports to watch. Thus we have all started to crack open books that were collecting dust either in our living room or bedrooms. Our evenings are quiet as we all enjoy the novel of our choice!
5. More creative time.
My son Tom started practising his cello daily (no excuses now), my son Jesse tends to spend time singing (in private in his room), my husband started to play more music in the home (classical which sets the mood during our reading sessions) and I started playing piano for the first time in 30 years! No joke. I can still play!!
6. More time for daily mediation and/or prayer.
We all have our own strategies to cope during difficult situations, so at different times in our home, you will see a family member being quiet, spending time in prayer, or listening to a meditation on HeadSpace. It helps us stay balanced, centred and helps us cope.
7. More time to figure out technology.
Being in my late forties, I am not the greatest at figuring out all the latest video-conferencing apps. But now with extra time on my hands and trapped teenagers in the house to help, I have all the tools to figure out Zoom, Viper, WhatsApp, Chanty and Google hangout.
8. More time to do spring cleaning.
There is more time to clear out jammed closets and kitchen drawers (with stuff we never use). Looking at each excess item and saying those words that we have all learned from the Japanese organizer/ author Marie Kondo, “Does this bring me joy?” Most of the time I say out loud, “No!” and throw that item away or in the recycle bin.
9. More time to think about loved ones.
Being at home full time has left some time in each day to think of and connect with other family members who are in isolation in their homes. Check-in phone calls with our elderly parents have been a priority, and connecting with siblings and dear friends has been a focus of every day.
10. More time to eat well.
We have lots of family discussions about food, food, and more food. With two teenage sons in the house, we need the fridge stocked 24/7, which can be a challenge. Yet with more time to communicate, plan meals and cook, we are all eating three healthy meals a day and feeling good!!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Carrie Powers, M.Ed, OCT, has enjoyed inspiring elementary age students for the past 24 years. Her professional journey has taken her around the world from Chile to New Zealand, Eastern Arctic (Quebec), Vancouver and Toronto. She currently runs her own business “Partner in Learning” in the Toronto area, where she specializes in tutoring elementary students with unique learning needs in both math and literacy. https://carriempowers.wixsite.com/tutoring
This article is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Spring 2020 issue.