Feeling discouraged about quarantines? You might be surprised, but there are quite a few benefits found in social distancing.
Before March 2020, not many people heard of social distancing before. And for good reason, too – most people never contemplated what a quarantine really meant, and terms like “shelter in place” were foreign.
Yet with the recent pandemic, those concepts have quickly become everyday terms the world is familiar with.
As Amy Acton, the director of the Ohio Department of Health commented, the term social distancing should change to physical distancing. Humans are social creatures – we need relationships to survive, and now more than ever we need to stay social.
As people around the world need to spend more and more time at home, what could possibly be good about being physically separated from others?
Even though quarantines turned our world upside down, as a born optimist, I’ve been searching for the silver lining. And I’ve found seven surprising benefits about social distancing and quarantines.
7 Surprising Benefits Found in Social Distancing
Social Distancing Benefit #1: Time to Slow Down
Over the past few years, I’ve noticed how everything in life seemed to be speeding up. More people were active in more things, and it felt like everyone was go-go-go all.the.time. Even older friends in their 70s and 80s commented how their lives always seemed to be crammed full of commitments.
I definitely felt the squeeze in my own life and wondered when life could just slow down so I could catch a breath. Taking a relaxing vacation might do the trick, I reasoned, but even a week away from everyday life wouldn’t bring a long-term fix.
Now, we’re faced with months off. Months away from typical routines and busy lives filled with commitments. Call me crazy, but once the initial shock wears off, I think a slower pace of life will help everyone.
One Bible verse that continued to come to mind every day this past week has been Psalm 46:10:
“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’ ”
When I’ve read this verse in the past, I’ve always wondered exactly how I can be still. With all of life whizzing by at a million miles per hour, it seems impossible to be still.
The New American Standard Bible describes being still as “Cease striving.” In other words, let go. Relax. Stand silent.
It’s hard to do this when the busyness of life crowds out all stillness and relaxation. And it’s almost impossible when you’re caught up in a cycle of striving every day.
But this entire idea of sheltering in place makes it very easy to be still.
To be still now, you’ll need to quiet your fears and rely on the Lord. As the rest of Psalm 46:10 reveals, God will be exalted among the nations. He will be exalted in the earth.
Even with all of the global pandemic panic, God still is in control. And He will be exalted through all of this. He’ll be lifted up. He’ll be held in a high regard.
Social Distancing Benefit #2: Time to Get Closer to God
As you’re using extra time to be still and know God, this season of separation from the world is an amazing opportunity to get closer to God.
For one thing, a pandemic brings a lot of clarity to life: Just as every person’s life begins, it also will end at some point. Death comes to each of us – sometimes we might expect it, and other times it surprises it.
There’s no time like the present to think about your future. Do you know where you’ll spend it once you die?
Do you have a true haven … and are you experiencing the joy and peace that comes from a haven in Christ right now?
If you’re in any way unsure of what will happen if you die today, now’s the time to get certainty. It’s as simple as what Romans 10:9-10 explains:
“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and if you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. We believe with our hearts, and so we are made right with God. And we declare with our mouths that we believe, and so we are saved.”
If you’ve trusted Christ with your life and future, now’s the time to live like it. Spend this time getting to know Him better. Take moments to learn about Him through the Bible. Pray. If you’re worried or concerned, give those anxious thoughts to Him. Find the freedom and total peace that comes from Christ alone.
Social Distancing Benefit #3: Time to Get Closer to Your Family
In the midst of a busy life, it’s easy to disconnect from your family. Even if you live in the same home, often everyone focuses on their own lives and loses sight of the gift of family.
Now, though, there’s plenty of time to spend together. We all have lots of time to get to know our family members better. Instead of letting this time of seclusion slip past, make the most of it:
- Have deep conversations.
- Linger at the breakfast, lunch, and dinner table.
- Share some of your favorite songs, games, books, TV shows, and movies.
- Go on walks or bike rides together.
- Start a garden or do some springtime yard work together.
- Go through old memorabilia or photo albums and talk about your family history.
- Teach your children how to cook, bake and clean.
- Learn something new together – whether it’s a new craft, home improvement project, or type of exercise. Get busy exploring and learning, but don’t do it alone.
Social Distancing Benefit #4: Time to Get Caught Up
I know I can’t be the only person to have a to-do list that I never seem to get around to accomplishing. With the demands of everyday life, I lack the focus to finish things I’d really like to do.
But I can’t make excuses anymore! No longer can I use the same old, “I just don’t have any time” line. More than ever, as long as we’re not medical professionals, we have time to get caught up on life.
Have a major project you’ve been wanting to tackle? Now is the time. You can spend hours working on it each day:
- Purge your attic.
- Scrub your oven or bathtub (or both).
- Wipe down your screens and wash your windows.
- Organize your paperwork.
- Create a filing system that works for your personality and home.
- Clean out your closet.
- Read a book you’ve wanted to read.
Personally, I’m feeling pretty good because I finally finished purging and organizing my basement, and I’m just one week into our quarantine. So many other tasks wait for me: purging boxes of unnecessary paperwork, organizing photos (both print and online), creating photo books for my kids, and finishing my 10-year-old’s baby book!
It’s definitely time to stop searching for the latest Coronavirus updates and refreshing your social media newsfeed. And it’s time to get caught up.
Social Distancing Benefit #5: Time to Enjoy Your Surroundings
If you’ve ever needed a haven, it’s now. You can spend time now in creating or tweaking your haven. Or, if you’re happy with what you’ve created, it’s time to enjoy it!
- Have you noticed more birds are singing now that it’s spring?
- Do you have any spring flowers starting to pop out of the ground?
- Are birds starting to make nests near your home?
- What are the sounds you’ve missed in your busyness?
- What would you normally look past?
- Did you see an amazing sunrise or sunset this week?
Watch the world come alive this spring. Appreciate all the beauty that surrounds you. It’s there every day, but unfortunately, it can be so easy to miss.
Social Distancing Benefit #6: Time to Create
Just like you have time to get caught up on projects you’ve intended to start or finish, this also is the perfect time to get creative.
What craft have you wanted to attempt? This could be the perfect time to knit or crochet. Take up painting! Finish a cross stitch project. Try wood working or stained glass. Make your own jewelry, or paint some flowerpots for springtime container gardening.
What have you meant to try to cook or bake? A long afternoon could be the perfect time to bake bread, roll your own sushi, make granola, hand-squeeze some lemonade, grind your own peanut butter from peanuts, attempt to make your grandmother’s recipe for pie crust and a homemade pie, or spend hours making labor intensive recipes like French macarons, homemade pasta, pierogies, or artichokes.
It’s also a great time to get creative around your house. Repaint a room. Sew a pillow or blanket or slipcover. Start a springtime flower or veggie garden. Rearrange furniture in a room – and rearrange it again until you like what you see.
My husband and I asked our children at dinner last night about possible things they could focus on during this time. They could teach themselves how to play the guitar, relearn how to play the piano, learn new magic tricks, teach themselves how to knit, and about a million other possibilities. I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ll choose or come up with on their own. My own creative goal is to write another book now that I have more time.
Throughout history, great things have been created and discovered when people have experienced quarantines and social separation.
- The Apostle Paul wrote many New Testament letters while in prison.
- John Bunyan wrote Pilgrim’s Progress while in prison.
- William Shakespeare wrote King Lear while under quarantine.
- Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity and developed calculus while under quarantine.
Instead of focusing on how many shows we can binge watch during this forced slow down, begin to dream about what you might create … then try.
Social Distancing Benefit #7: Time to Appreciate Your Blessings
When basic freedoms were limited a week ago, I quickly realized how much I’ve taken for granted in my life.
As more and more is limited over the coming weeks and months, regaining our freedom might end up feeling like a sweet surprise. Or a shock.
A week into socially distancing and I know I already miss:
- Hugging my family and friends.
- Worshipping in church.
- Sitting down at a restaurant and enjoying a meal I don’t have to cook or serve.
- Walking around a store just to browse.
- Inviting friends and family over for dinner.
These aspects of life seem so basic, but they’re actual gifts. They fill our souls and lighten our spirits. Without them, we’re not quite the same.
Now that we recognize them as blessings, I hope we’ll appreciate them in a new way.
What are some blessings and benefits you’ve found amidst the quarantines and social distancing?
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