The positives of a perilous pandemic

Illustration by Madison Cohen

As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread, masses of people are self-isolating out of the fear of receiving and transmitting the virus. This pandemic has caused shutdowns of schools, restaurants and social gatherings across the globe. This has obviously caused a sudden change in thousands of formerly normal lives. It feels like, for the first time in our lives, the whole country is shut down.

The media is constantly reporting the number of confirmed cases and what our government is doing to prevent further infection in this time of critical news coverage.

This repeated coverage, although a necessity, heightens the fear for many Americans that this will only get worse. Many people see what the news cycle is reporting and get sucked into the negativity of how the pandemic could get out of hand and its lasting effects on the economy.

The panic has gotten so out of control that people are buying up all the toilet paper, hand sanitizer, water and frozen food at stores. The people that buy out these items are doing it out of fear that if they don't, someone else will.

The future is unknown. It's hard to determine where we'll be in a month. That being said, in the midst of all its suffering and destruction, this pandemic is bringing families and friends together.

Students across the nation get to go home and spend time with family and friends as their schools move to strictly online instruction. At NAU, classes are now online for the rest of the semester, which leaves students with the opportunity to continue their education in the comforts of their family homes.

Personally, I'm grateful for this opportunity to be at home and spend time with my immediate family. As weird as it is to continue school online, it's a nice feeling to be at home during these confusing times and be surrounded by the people I treasure.

Parents are also fortunate in the sense that they can take a break from their regular work environment and go home. Some parents get to continue their job by working from home, giving them the chance to spend quality time with their family and especially their younger children.

At times like these, families should use the opportunity of being self-isolated at home to bond. Bonding is important for healthy relationships, especially when being stuck at home together for a long period of time.

Now is the time to pick up on new hobbies that have been put off due to time constraints. Parents can teach valuable life skills like cooking, sewing and home repairs among other knacks. Even doing simple interests such as reading, writing and drawing are important, not only as a distraction but to keep spirits up during this time of isolation.

At times like these, relationships with loved ones and partners may be challenged by isolation and fear. Maintaining and fostering happy, healthy relationships is vital.

The people we surround ourselves with can bring a newfound appreciation for those who choose to be in our lives.

Now that people are working from home and doing online classes, it's important to find structure and balance in work and life. As unfortunate as the circumstances are, this is a great opportunity to value what truly matters and work on physical and mental well-being.

COVID-19 has impacted everyone in the world in some way. This reality brings with it the notion that we are all in this together. This unifying sentiment creates a strong need for kindness and empathy toward one another.

We are all affected by this pandemic and although it's a staunch reality, we need to appreciate who we have in our lives and make the best of the precious time we have.

If we do our best at social distancing, and actively adhere to the guidelines issued by the Center for Disease Control and World Health Organization, we have a fighting chance at slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Until we successfully see this pandemic through to the end, it is important to focus on what we can control.

We can control the familial bonds that are built and strengthened as everything around us seems so uncertain. We can still strive for personal growth and improvement in our chosen fields. There is always a new or neglected hobby waiting to be picked up.

It is easy to get sucked into the seemingly endless pit of despair that opens in the wake of a global crisis, but try to pull through. Show love to someone online or give your pet a smile. The world keeps spinning and one day, we will rise again stronger than ever.