Working from home is certainly an adjustment, but the habits we are forming while quarantined will improve our quality of life. We’re eating out less often and cooking at home more using fresh ingredients rather than harder-to-find non-perishable food. Families are spending more time together. Parents-turned-teachers are more engaged in their children’s learning than ever before. With reduced travel to and from work, comes less stress, fewer traffic accidents, and a reduced carbon footprint. This may be the perfect trial of “remote working” that companies and employees needed to begin to embrace an alternative to cubicles and crowded offices.
Increased physical activity.
Spending the majority of our time in our own homes has people more desperate than ever to get outside. Being limited by stay-at-home orders has given people a renewed awareness of the importance of physical exercise.
I was out for a run a few weeks ago right after my home state of Washington’s first stay-at-home order. The sun was out, and there were so many people—young and old—exercising while maintaining their social distance. The coronavirus may deepen our appreciation for our health and motivate us to do more to maintain it. With increased time at home we are able to prioritize our physical health.
Emphasis on mental health.
We have been told that social distancing is essential for flattening the curve and slowing the spread of the virus. But there are rising concerns that this extended time in isolation for those who live alone or in a care facility, or are part of a high-risk population, may lead to increases in depression or substance abuse. These are legitimate concerns, and I am encouraged by the open conversation on mental health and new efforts to reach out to those who are struggling. I am hopeful that the increased spotlight and financial resources focused on mental health will have a greater long-term impact.