In her response to the United Kingdom on the coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic, Queen Elizabeth recommended that people, “Slow down, pause, and reflect.” This is a powerful message and is exactly what quarantines and shelter-in-place orders are forcing people to do! One of the qualities that makes the Queen a credible source to give this advice is that she lived through the World War II era. She knows that this too shall pass!

These are times overflowing with high levels of anxiety as people are separated from their family, friends and for some, their jobs. Remaining as positive as possible is a key to reducing anxiety. We decided to write this article on silver linings to highlight how positive things are emerging during this crisis. Companies and individuals are showing gestures of kindness.

Examples include:

  • utility companies lengthening deadlines to avoid disconnecting services 
  • the Internal Revenue Service extending filing deadlines
  • certain companies continuing to pay wages as employees are quarantined
  • federal government providing financial support to eligible citizens
  • entertainers hosting virtual concerts from their homes
  • telehealth services being offered for physical and mental health needs
  • Medicare paying for telehealth services
  • select chefs with private restaurants (closed to the public) preparing food and delivering it to nursing homes for free
  • people creating ways to show their concern to others such as driving by nursing homes and waving to the residents

Due to visitation restrictions, medical staff are joining in on the creativity and finding innovative ways to keep patients and families connected. An example is a nurse who while working with a covid-19 patient, used her personal phone to make a video-call to his family. Within minutes everyone was talking and waving to each other from a safe distance!

Slowing down is causing people to reflect on the things that are important which include spending time with family (in the same household) and friends (remotely), learning new arts and crafts, reading, and taking time to listen to others. It has also allowed people to plan for what lies ahead such as reunions, parties, and vacations.

Nothing demonstrates the real character of people more than hard times. Heroes and common people reach out to be helpful, while ne’er-do-wells see an opportunity to take advantage of the situation. Sadly, there are those who profit from the pain and despair of others. One example is so ridiculous that it’s actually funny. It involves a divorce law firm that saw an opportunity to increase their business with an ad geared toward couples who were having marital problems intensified by the home quarantines. They are offering discounts for those couples seeking immediate divorce assistance.

In hard times things aren’t all bad. Promising outcomes can emerge from wreckage. The quarantines, shelter-in-place orders, business closings, school closings, and social distancing mandates have automatically created slowdowns in daily routines. These pauses have given people a chance to assess what they value most in life. With few exceptions, this hiatus has allowed people to reflect on their life, interact with family and friends, experience the kindness of others, and create opportunities to offer assistance to others. Though these hard times will pass, we hope its silver linings will continue!

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France Goddard, LCSW, BCD
Diane Harvey, LCSW