Articles / COVID-19 Pandemic

Finding Positivity and Hope Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic Panic

The coronavirus has ripped through our world and made its way around the globe in what feels like record time. It’s all people can talk about, think about right now. People are falling ill, some have even lost the battle with this disease. The pandemic has ground our national and global economies to a screeching halt, and many of our friends, family, and neighbors are either unemployed or laid off due to shutdowns. 

These are frightening and frustrating times for many.

When the pandemic first started to get serious, I’ll be honest—my anxiety reared its ugly head. Like many of you, I was scared and confused. Somewhere along the way, though, that changed. Amidst all of the fear and panic, the past few days I’ve noticed a new feeling start to emerge in me…

Hope.

In times like these, I know it can seem a bit strange or difficult to be hopeful, but I am. As horrible as things seem right now, I think that it’s important for us to focus on the positive. And, as I’ve sat and watched the world these past weeks, I saw things that made me hopeful for out near and distant futures. 

Humanity is becoming more human. 

The biggest reason for hope during the coronavirus pandemic, at least for me, is seeing people reconnecting with one another. Despite the social distancing precautions we’re taking, I’m seeing more and more people actually take notice of the social creatures around them.

I see conversations and well wishes exchanged between complete strangers in the grocery store. I see neighbors helping neighbors, strangers helping strangers. I see community social media groups popping up dedicated to helping the eldery, the sick, and the impoverished during these difficult times. Never in my lifetime have I seen people pull together and help one another on such a huge scale. 

Perhaps it takes a global crisis for people to show more compassionate to one another, offer a few kind words to strangers, and help those in need. Whatever the catalyst, in some ways, it gives me a new hope for humanity during these trying times

Families are reconnecting. 

Remember the days of hectic schedules? Some days, in the pre-pandemic world, it felt like I barely saw my kids. Between conflicting work schedules, school functions, practices, and games, It felt like we only had a few moments each day to connect. Dinners were rushed, because of jam packed schedules, and some nights we weren’t even able to all sit down at the dinner table together. We saw each other in passing as we rushed off to one commitment or another. 

We were so disconnected. 

These days? Our new world, during this pandemic, is completely different. Schools are shut down, so the kids are home. My restaurant was shut down, so no more night shifts for me. I finally get to sit down with my kids for breakfast and lunch, and dinner time is finally family time again. Work shift, practices, and school functions have been replaced with movie nights, game nights, and fires in the backyard. This new world gives me hope for my family and every other family out there. 

We are not alone. 

Last week, an alarming number of people lost their jobs due to statewide shutdowns of non-essential businesses. I have many friends in the hospitality and restaurant industries that have lost jobs and income because of the coronavirus pandemic. Restaurants and non-essential businesses across the country are closing their doors in an effort to flatten the curve and halt the spread of this virus. So many people are unemployed and offices for unemployment compensation and clogged up with the number of now unemployed workers.

Sure, this can be a terrifying thought, but it’s important to remember that we’re all in this together. 

I am not alone. You are not alone. These shutdowns and this virus are beyond our control. There’s a huge part of this country’s population that has lost income, but there’s more than a glimmer of hope to be seen. Charitable foundations are ramping up for emergency grants and assistance to workers affected by the coronavirus shutdowns. Many banks and credit card companies are deferring or suspending payments and many utility companies are no longer shutting off utilities for nonpayment due to the economic crisis our country now faces. If you’re one of the millions of workers who lost income, know that there will be help for you. 

Philanthropy is booming. 

Remember those charitable foundations I just mentioned? They’re receiving extra funding from those who are able to give right now.

Celebrities and businesses have donated hefty sums to organizations like No Kid Hungry and Feeding America. Sam Adams’ founder Jim Koch donated $100,000 dollars to help launch the Restaurant Strong Fund, which will provide grants to restaurant workers who have lost their jobs during the coronavirus shutdown. Companies like Jameson and Patron are donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to help fund the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program, which is offered by the United States Bartenders Guild. Some professional sports teams are vowing to still pay employees of stadiums and arenas around the country, efforts that will be funded fully or partly by generous donations from players and team owners. 

This surge in philanthropic efforts warms my heart, and gives me even more hope during the coronvirus pandemic. 

Air quality  is improving in some areas. 

As cities, states, and entire countries are forced to stay home, there are fewer businesses open and less travel. There are fewer vehicles on the roads, which means fewer emissions. This is most noticeable in larger, densely populated areas.

Satellite images have shown a huge decline in air pollution over mainland China as the country went into lockdown. The same reduction in air pollution could be seen over Spain and Italy as these countries followed suit. Here in the states, there has also been a marked improvement in air quality above major cities like Los Angeles, Seattle, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, and Atlanta. 

I see this as a teachable moment for all of us. Perhaps this unintended consequence of lockdown and less travel can make us, as a global family, more aware of our impact on this planet and its inhabitants. Perhaps in the future, we’ll make more of an effort to reduce our carbon footprint. 

Oft unappreciated people are being recognized. 

Grocery store workers, truck drivers, factory and warehouse workers, to name a select few… These are members of the workforce that are, unfortunately, often overlooked and unappreciated. This is no longer true during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

These are the workers that are finally considered “essential”. Once underappreciated, these workers are finally being recognized, respected, and valued. 

Grocery store workers are now considered to be on the “frontlines” of this global pandemic. They’re working long grueling hours and risking their own health and safety, as well as the health and safety of their families, every day so people are able to continue to buy food and essentials during this uncertain time. Without truck drivers, our local supermarket shelves would remain bare. And those factory and warehouse workers? Many of them work to manufacture critical medical supplies, or work to package and ship essential supplies, like food and medicine. 

My hope during the coronavirus pandemic is that these workers will finally see the appreciation that they so deserve. And, here’s hoping that the appreciation continues after the dust settles. 

We finally have time. 

I used to say it all the time… “I don’t have time.” Well, that’s no longer the case. With us being limited on where we can go, I’m finding that I have tons of extra time on my hands. 

Remember all of those things you’ve wanted to do but just didn’t have the time? You can’t use that excuse anymore! Now is the time to do a little deep cleaning you haven’t been able to get to, organize your Tupperware cupboard, clear out your closet, paint your kitchen, have a much needed spa day, read that book you bought months ago, learn another language, start a new hobby! 

Granted, it’s not the perfect circumstances, but we may as well embrace all of our extra time and make the best of it! Me personally, I’m hopeful that my house will be spotless by the time the coronavirus pandemic finally settles down. 

The end is in sight. 

Some days, it feels like this pandemic will just drag on forever. The fact that more and more confirmed cases of COVID-19 pop up in the United States each day don’t help. As hard as it seems, though, this is not what we need to be focused on. 

The end of this global pandemic is in sight, even though it may not seem like it. China, for instance, has gone days with no new local cases of COVID-19. Stores and restaurants are reopening, as are parks and other tourist attractions. 

Preventive measures, such as shutdowns and social distancing work. Slowly but surely, life is finally getting back to normal for Chinese citizens, and slowly but surely, life will get back to normal for the rest of us. I dare say that I’m hopeful and even a little excited for our new world. 

These are frightening and uncertain times for all of us, but at the end of the day, it’s all in how we look at things. We can choose to focus on all of the negativity around us, or we can choose to focus on the positive. I, for one, am choosing to focus on the positive and finding a little hope during the coronavirus pandemic. 

How’s everyone else holding up during all of this? Where are you finding positivity and hope during the coronavirus pandemic?

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