It’s been almost a full year now that we’ve all been under quarantine to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We’ve sacrificed a lot during this time including get-togethers with family, sending our children to school, and even tasks such a grocery shopping in an actual storefront. It’s been long and frustrating, but there have been some real moments of clarity as well. I’ve compiled some takeaways that have helped me to experience a quality quarantine that may be of value to you and your network of friends and family members.

Recognize moments of beauty

On Sunday night, I finished writing checks for my bills and decided to walk the mail over to the post office. It was strangely foggy and damp, so I had to bundle up to take my short walk. As I strolled through the streets, I noticed the glowing lights of decorated homes for the holiday season. Even through the thick fog, I could still see the festive decorations lighting my way. I took a few moments to appreciate the lights and to also appreciate that my neighbors had taken the time to put them up with such care. The walk was a bright spot in my usual mundane process of making sure that my bills were paid on time and at the post office to be in the mail. It’s little moments like this one that we often fail to recognize that can help us appreciate beauty in the small tasks of life.

Appreciate your body

With a couple surgeries over this past year, I’ve been frustrated that my body is not working the way it once used to. But you know what…it’s still my body and worth focusing on all of the positive things that it helps me do every day. It helped me learn to kayak during quarantine to be able to get outdoors and away from the confines of my house. It helps me take walks with my family and our two dogs to get fresh air. The same stiff joints that greet me when I get out of bed in the morning also help me wrap my arms around my daughter, throw a snowball at my husband, and allow me to type this blog post—and for that, I’m thankful.

Marvel at the outdoors

Maybe you can’t jump in a kayak right now or work in the garden, but there are still ways to appreciate the outdoors even during these tough winter months of quarantine. Sit by the nearest window and feel the sunshine on your face. Walk out on your front porch and look up at the stars at night. Taste the falling snowflakes on your tongue. Revert back to the simple pleasures that you marveled at when you were a child when you set foot outside. All of those things are still there waiting for you to experience and appreciate them again.

Be grateful

Pause and consider all the things that you can be grateful for during quarantine. I know it’s frustrating to not see your extended family or your friends but focus on being appreciative that you’re working to keep them healthy during this unprecedented time. We are all also working together to protect our most vulnerable community members such as the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions during this time.  It’s okay to take a step back and recognize the smaller things. Take time to savor a new recipe that you made or an extra ten minutes of reading a favorite book or magazine. As I’m writing this to you, I’m grateful for my fuzzy socks coupled with my warm puppy at my side.

 Foster connections

Check on your people during quarantine for both yourself and for them. Call, text, mail, Zoom—use whichever method that you know they are most comfortable with using. Just because we’re socially distanced, doesn’t mean that we can’t be social. During this time, my family has taken advantage of all of the ways to connect—we’ve attended Zoom game nights, written letters to neighbors to check in on them, and called our friends on the phone. Doing these things makes the recipient feel good but has also given my family much happiness in staying connected to the people that we care about.

When we reflect on this period of quarantine, we can look to appreciate the insight that it has taught us over the past year. With these lessons fresh in our minds, perhaps we can carry some of these positive habits over when we emerge from our homes to join our communities once again.

Written by Blog Contributor: Jennifer Hicks