The Happiness Connection  

Silver linings hard to see

The pandemic is something that will be remembered and recounted long after it's over.

This is probably the biggest global event since the Second World War.

I recognize that levels of anxiety and fright have risen in the past weeks. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t had a single moment of concern. But I also understand that challenge brings opportunity for positive change.

If you talk to people who lived in London during WWII, there is a recurring theme. They reminisce about the sense of camaraderie and community they felt, even though times were difficult and scary.

Very few people are living the same life today as they did a few months or even weeks ago. We are all being forced to make changes. Rather than yearning for life to return to normal, try seeing this time as an opportunity to experiment with change.

Most people prefer to stick with things that are familiar. It’s part of our evolutionary programming. This dislike of the unfamiliar is contributing to the discomfort many people are feeling as their lives are being altered.

Social distancing may be new to you, but I’m practised at it. I have been socially distanced for most of this calendar year. Although I didn’t need to avoid people, my broken ankle meant I spent a lot of time at home on my own.

About a week after I was healthy enough to venture into the world again, social distancing was recommended. I love my home, but sometimes I sit in it and try to remember what life was like when I was free to come and go as I pleased.

Although I had my eyes open for a blessing when I broke my ankle, it didn’t reveal itself quickly.

I have always been driven. I like to accomplish projects and frequently have an overly full to-do list. More than one person over the years has told me they were exhausted just listening to everything I wanted to get done.

Slipping on the ice changed all that. I had to slow down. If I did too much, I suffered. It takes time to recover from surgery. Even when I felt I should be well enough to do some work; my energy was quickly zapped.

It was frustrating.

Eventually, I stopped trying to re-establish the old pace and accepted that the things I needed to achieve would get done. Everything else was optional.

I have established a more peaceful relationship with time. I don’t push myself the way I used to. I get everything done that needs to be, but I don’t sweat over all the extra things that don’t really matter.

I intend to continue living at a slower, more fluid pace, even when this difficult time is over.

Social distancing has undoubtedly made a difference in your life, but instead of cursing it, accept that it may also be bringing a blessing or two:

  • If you live with family, perhaps you are spending more time together.
  • If you are adjusting to working from home, maybe you are finding ways to streamline your schedule.
  • If you are juggling work with childcare responsibilities, I hope you will gain a whole new perspective on balance.

Rather than trying to keep things as close to normal as possible, try deliberately doing things differently. Remember that you are programmed to dislike change, so when you first start doing this, it won’t feel as good as your regular routines.

Be curious. Throw away convention and think about creative ways to make the best of being home as a family, or home alone.

Sometimes unusual times require unique solutions.

When our children were young, we often shared a room together on family holidays. Instead of trying to maintain regular bedtimes, we all went to bed at the same time. It worked well.

Try having soup for breakfast and cereal for supper. Instead of doing the housework by yourself, enlist the aid of your family. Create a home spa, movie, or play experience.

Covid19 is interrupting lives, but maybe it isn’t all bad. Silver linings can be hard to spot, but take time to consider what positives are hiding in these coronavirus clouds?

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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