It occurred to me this morning that of all the ways in which this outbreak will restrict my life, there is one notable and welcome exception: I no longer have to wear pants.
The onset of spring normally requires me to face the reality that the cute pair of sky blue capri pants I bought on sale at the end of last season are not going to fit this season because—well, to be honest—they didn’t fit last season, either.
Me last season: But they’re so cute! And so cheap! And I will definitely lose 5 pounds between now and next spring!
You get the picture.
But this year, everything is different. Instead of approaching my closet armed with an emotional cocktail that is equal parts hope and dread (okay, it’s more like a full-on dread margarita with a little bit of hope sprinkled around the rim), I head to my dresser and grab whatever black, stretchy athleisure bottoms I can find and I am good to go.
If I’m being completely honest, sometimes I pluck yesterday’s pair off the floor and pull those suckers right back on.
Coronavirus gives new meaning to the term “business casual.” Instead of an entire look that’s kinda dressy (but not so dressy that I’d look silly eating a Chipotle burrito on my lunch hour), working from home means I can be business on top, party on the bottom. A business attire mullet, if you will. I may have a Zoom meeting at 9 a.m., but my colleagues will only see me from the neck up. Hell, if I decide not to wear a bra all I need to do is tilt the camera up a little higher.
My point is that while there are plenty of legit reasons to feel salty about the coronavirus, there are also some considerable advantages.
So, instead of adding to the list of complaints (Why can’t I find any toilet paper? Are all of these restrictions really necessary? My kids are driving me insane!), why not challenge your friends and family to find the silver lining in all of this? Why not use this outbreak as a way to jump start a gratitude practice?
According to Psychology Today, gratitude is scientifically proven to boost physical and psychological health, enhance resilience, and increase our ability to connect with others. Who among us couldn’t use some boosting and enhancing right about now? A little gratitude Wonderbra?
Here are a few ways to jump start The Coronavirus Gratitude Challenge in your own life (no ice buckets required):
1. Share this article on Facebook, Instagram, or wherever you get your social media fix.
When you do, challenge followers to chronicle any and all unexpected blessings that have resulted from the outbreak. No piece of good news is too small. Let’s flood social media with positivity, people!
2. We’re all practicing social distancing. Challenge yourself to reach out each and every day to someone in your life for whom you are grateful.
You could text or post a message on their Facebook page, but why not give them a call or set up a Zoom chat, instead? Right now, we’re all craving connection. We need to hear one another’s voices and see each other’s kids racing around in the background.
3. Many of us are spending a lot more time at home. Take a look around. Are there items in your home that you no longer use, but for which others would be grateful?
Challenge kids and other family members to sort and cull (you know you’re looking for ways to keep them occupied while schools are closed), and then take a weekly trip to the Goodwill to unload your treasures.
Listen, I’m not saying all the complaints aren’t valid. It really is hard to find toilet paper. It’s just that these frustrations don’t represent the entirety of the situation, so why not add a little depth and color to the picture?
For which aspects of the coronavirus are you grateful? What unexpected gifts have landed in your lap (yes, the same lap that can no longer fit into those cute-as-a-button capri pants)?
I look forward to reading your responses. In my pajamas, of course.
How to Enjoy Life Amidst the Coronavirus Fear: Your Go-To Guide from Books to Podcasts & Wellness Practices.
What the Coronavirus is Teaching Me: 5 Lessons from Uncertain Times.
The Artist’s Stay-at-Home & Stay Sane Guide.
10 Simple Ways to Boost your Immunity without Leaving the House.