During a day of April showers, I’m reflecting on family and friends and the love we share even through this time of imposed social distancing. Yes, we are home more, many of us working from home, and most of us with extra time on our hands.
In uncertain times, what can we cling to? Where can we find our comfort?
The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved. Mother Teresa
For most of us, I believe we may find comfort in the connection with others. We’d like to gather those we love and hold them close. For many families with children or with multiple generations under one roof, there is the ever present reminder that we are in this together. Literally. We are exploring new ways to spend time, and getting creative with how to occupy ourselves. Are we learning new things together? Finding new hobbies? I’ve enjoyed watching the live streaming of opera that has been generously shared by The Metropolitan Opera. This is something I would not have ordinarily made time for.
For others of us, our loved ones are at a distance. We are learning about Zoom, having video visits, and reaching out maybe in new ways. In any case, this is a time to take stock in what’s important, and reach out to others who may be feeling isolated. Loneliness is a terrible feeling and it can make all the difference to know others care, that we are not alone. Reach out to those who you know may be alone, and make sure they know they are not forgotten.
What else can bring us comfort during these times of uncertainty and that feeling of grueling monotony? It’s true that being light-hearted can help. The old saying of “laughter is the best medicine” certainly applies. When we can find laughter and joy our immune system can be bolstered. Finding humor where we can is a good way to stay upbeat and positive. Try watching funny movies, finding jokes, and trying not to take ourselves so seriously during this time.
Research from the University of Oxford has shown that when we make music it exercises the brain as well as increases endorphins. Singing, in particular, is shown to be beneficial in improving breathing, posture, and muscle tension. No wonder that sitting in church singing hymns together as a congregation, or singing in a group setting can bring such positive feelings. Who saw all the news of the people singing together on their balconies in Italy? And there have been other groups who have gathered together in distant places to join in music making, like the Berklee College of Music singing, “What the World Needs Now”? When we change our mood to increase our experience of joy there is evidence that this also may sustain our immune system.
And gratitude, I will say again, is a great way to change our outlook from one of negativity to a more positive stance. When we can count our blessings and find ways to look at the good things we have going, it truly changes our mood. As humans, we are beings of comparison and when we look at what we are grateful for we often find that things could be worse.
In addition, reaching out to others provides an exchange that makes us all feel better: those who reach out as well as those who are the receivers. Pick up the phone. Arrange a video visit. Get out of your comfort zone and see if you feel a little better. Let your love shine.
And remember –
All shall be well. In time.