Beneath the surface of eerily quiet and empty streets lies a chaos unlike anything before witnessed. There’s loss of life. The necessity to bare farewell of a loved one over Skype. The newborn baby is separated from his mother immediately after birth. Loss of capital. Layoffs of plenty. Fear of not having money to pay rent. For food.

Any one of the above mentioned can be further explored with riveting stories to share. The corona virus has us all in its grasp. My parents are high risk and it’s difficult not to think about possible scenarios that cause fear. I’m a single mother with a toddler. Job security is anything but secure. The provision of child care is uncertain. The present state domestically and abroad is shaky and the future anything but certain.

Despite the facts of our current reality, of the immense repercussions already felt and undoubtedly to increase yet, I feel freedom. I’m at peace. The workplace has become remote for a large majority. Families are gathered to a large extent. Together with no place to go but be present in each other’s presence.

Hoping for better days ahead, when going outside rather than self isolation is the norm

That can be a beautiful thing. A time to hold on to. Learn from. Connect. Although we are separated from each other, I speak to my family multiple times daily. Today, I face-timed with my sister and her kids a dozen times. I do the online gym classes while the little one jumps in between my legs during the shuffle, laughing his head off.

My sweet boy. I’m busting with gratitude over a heart overflowing with love for him. There’s no company I’d rather keep. And this, gratitude, is a key element to sugar coating a reality that has so completely disrupted our lives and foreseeable future. What else is there we can do? What is in our control to manage a situation that is not? Here are some suggestions that I try to live by:

Find gratitude! Be grateful for that which you have that so many don’t. If you have a home, a bed to lie your head on at night, cupboards full of food, tap water, clothes to wear, the luxury of electronics…. You’re well off. And if you have love… count yourself blessed.

Give-and-take! In these times, as well as any, find those who are less fortunate than you. Share of that which you have of abundance. Help out! Be generous. Fuel the economy and support small and local businesses! Buy online, get take out, take online music lessons.

Seek new perspectives! The status of the world at large is such that people die from disease, famine, war and natural disasters at large numbers. Every day. It’s easy to focus inwards and in managing the crisis we are experiencing personally. Look outside yourself and perhaps you will find that despite your dire circumstances, there are situations far more alarming.

Keep a tidy home. Make it smell great. Redecorate. Make it cozy. Make it festive. The home environment, which most of us are confined to at the moment, will affect your health, your mind, your peace.

Value that which will last! Use time at home, with family, to grow closer. For those who now work from home, utilize wisely the time you would have otherwise spent driving or taking public transportation. Cook together, eat together. Sure, watch movies or stream your favorite series but do it together. Put those phones down and talk to each other. Make memories. Cultivate your talents.

Catch moments of quiet, of calm. Pray. Meditate. Explore ways to fill your inner cup. An air of optimism can do so much to affect the outcome of your day. Take online gym classes, dance, yoga, whatever makes your body rock. Mental and physical health are closely linked. Do your utmost to care for both.

Play, play and more play!

Whether exercising, cooking or cleaning, my son is close in tow. As I run around playing with my little toddler, I find little time to wallow in fear or self pity of what may come. I savour our moments of closeness, prepare in every way possible for the worst case scenario but above all, I am resolute to be hopeful. Hopeful that we will all come together and do our part to get through.

Be responsible and make the most out of creating an environment conducive to that which you value and desire to be. Perhaps we will one day look back at this experience with gratitude over the unexpected consequences that turned chaos and desperation into something else entirely. Let’s come together and make it so.