A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

17 Small Silver Linings to Help You Feel Better About Quarantine

Even in the darkest times, there's always a silver lining.

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Young woman using a laptop to connect with her friends and parents during quarantine
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The new normal

It’s hard to think of life as “before COVID-19” and “after COVID-19.” These pre-social distancing photos were taken only a few months ago but feel like they were taken in a different lifetime. COVID-19 has upended lives and forced millions of Americans and people around the world out of jobs, out of apartments, and out of routines what they thought was their normal everyday life. As we care for loved ones and friends around the world and try to make the best out of this shared communal experience, we can each take comfort in knowing we’re all in this together. Here are just a few things to help you find the silver lining in this impossible situation.

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Mom squeezing hand sanitizer onto her littler daughter’s hands
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Realizing that we’re all in this together

It’s tempting to think that you are alone during this worldwide epidemic and no one else will understand how you feel. However, there are millions of people in the United States and around the world who have lost their jobs, and many people who themselves have had COVID-19 or have loved ones who have been affected by COVID-19. The novel coronavirus has affected people on every continent except Antarctica, and that means it’s something relatable that everyone around the world can talk about and know. This man had coronavirus and survived—here’s what he wants you to know.

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Young woman outdoors on sunny day, head back, eyes closed
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Being thankful for the little things

When was the last time you were thankful you were able to open the front door of your home, step outside, and breathe in the fresh air? When was the last time you were thankful to give your family members and friends a hug? What about that time you went to a favorite restaurant to celebrate a friend’s birthday? There are many small things to be thankful for.

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Tablet is the best for video chat with family
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Taking the time to have video calls with friends and family

What was once a weekly catch-up happy hour with friends at a favorite local bar has turned into a weekly catch-up happy hour with friends…at home. You’re starting to realize that you don’t need to be out somewhere doing something to enjoy the company of family and friends. Simply being in their presence, albeit virtually, is enough. Here are 22 heartwarming stories of true friendship that will make you want to call your bestie.

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Female Student Reading A Book In Her Kitchen
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Picking up that book you’ve been meaning to read on your bookshelf

How many times over the years have you wandered through the aisles of favorite bookstores, picked out a few new books to read, and then never read them? No need to feel guilty—now is the perfect time to read the books you forgot all about from your bookshelf and reconnect with those characters from your new favorite story.

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Banana bread and cup of coffee
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Trying out that banana bread recipe you’ve been meaning to try

Why is it that when you’re at home you feel like rummaging through your pantry in search of ingredients for that recipe you’ve been wanting to try? Regardless, now is the time to cook some of your favorite comfort foods or try out some new recipes you’ve been wanting to try and fill your home with the sweet smell of your favorite foods. Here’s why more than 50,000 people a day are viewing this bread recipe.

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Mother assisting daughter in writing homework on table while sitting against wall at home
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Spending more time with your kids and family

While working from home may not sound like the ideal scenario, there are silver linings, like spending more time with your family and, if you’re a parent, with your kids. Since universities have closed their doors and schools have resorted to online learning, parents are able to spend quality time with their children. However, while it’s difficult to balance the stress of work and the stress of schoolwork, it’s important to work together during this time.

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An active senior woman with a dog at home, resting.
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Spending more time with your pet

It’s always heartbreaking to leave your dog, cat, or respective pet at home while you leave for work, but now that schools, universities, and most workspaces have closed down, now you’re able to spend more quality time at home with your pet. Wake up with more cuddles with your cat, walks with your dog, and the knowledge that while you may still be figuring out your life, your pet will always be your furry companion by your side who will always love you. Here are 28 ways your pet is trying to say “I love you.”

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Back view woman in backlight standing at the window at home looking out
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Being grateful to be alive

Have you ever looked out of your window and noticed how the tree branches sway in the wind? What about the moment when sunlight streams inside through the window? Or, if you’re living with your partner, have you ever told them how much you enjoy their company? You’ve overlooked so many things before the pandemic, but now there’s so much time available, it’s good to slow down and be grateful to be a part of the world around you.

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Watching Netflix On iPad
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Finishing that Netflix series you’ve been meaning to watch

Months ago, with a packed schedule, you probably didn’t have enough time to watch one episode of a favorite TV show a night, let alone finish that series everyone has recommended you watch but just haven’t. Now that bars, restaurants, and life as you know it has come to a halt, there’s suddenly more time available. Nothing you want to watch on Netflix? Here are 11 places to stream movies and TV shows other than Netflix.

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Mature man sitting on couch at home reading letter
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Figuring out how snail mail works to send cards to friends and family

It’s hard to keep in touch with friends and family who live so far away. Even friends who live a few blocks away in a city or a short drive away in a suburb can feel like a bridge that can’t be crossed. However, there is a small little note of consolation when you want something to physically hold onto: snail mail. Talking on the phone and hosting video chats is great, and writing letters is just a bit of physical connection you can experience with loved ones. Here are 24 little things you can do to be a true friend.

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Black man drinking tea and reading on bed
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Actually not doing anything and taking the time for yourself

In less than a few months, the entire world has shifted and you’re in what can feel like an alternate reality. In this challenging period, taking time for yourself is essential. If that means taking a sick day from working from home, going on a long walk for fresh air, or taking a personal spa day at home, then so be it. Your health is crucial at this time period, and when everything externally is so up in the air, you can at least take some comfort in knowing that you can take the time for yourself, too. Here are 31 things you may need for a relaxing spa day at home.

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Father with his little son working from home
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Not having to deal with your rush-hour commute

Instead of waking up in a panic after snoozing one too many times and running to your respective bus, train, or car, you can now take some time to relax now that your commute is from your bed to your desk. Or couch. Or the kitchen table. If you’re trying to keep to the same schedule before working from home, you’re able to fill this time by making a proper breakfast, brewing a cup of coffee, or even taking a few minutes out of your day to meditate. Want to know exactly how much time you’re able to add back to your schedule? This is the average commute time in every U.S. state.

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Portrait of senior man with trumpet
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Picking up that old hobby you forgot about

When you were a child, did you used to love to color outside the lines? What about singing as loud as possible, or even playing that old flute that’s still probably stored in the attic? Now is the time to think back to you’re childhood and recall anything that made you happy, and this includes any hobbies you had when you were younger but dropped because there wasn’t enough time. Yes, you are good enough to pick up the guitar and play a few tunes and bring out those that watercolor set. Along with old hobbies, it’s time to find new ones, too. Here are a few quarantine hobbies these people aren’t giving up.

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Senior couple looking at photos
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Go through all of your old photo albums and revisit happy memories

Just because you’re indoors doesn’t mean you have to forget about your past travels and adventures before staying home in quarantine. How many of you can relate to taking pictures of your travels and then forgetting all about them? Now’s the time to create photo albums and print out some pictures from your trips to put into picture frames. Here’s how 8 travelers are recreating the spring break they were supposed to have.

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Woman reading from her smart phone in bed, smiling
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Catch up with an acquaintance and get to know people you normally wouldn’t

If you’re not one for small talk, there’s something everything can talk about: the pandemic. This is an excellent time to reach out to colleagues you don’t know that well but would like to get to know, family members you haven’t talked to over the years, and friends you’ve fallen out of touch with. Take the time to send a text or even offer to have a video chat. Yes, it’s possible to meet new people as an adult, too.

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Small Business Owner Affected by COVID-19
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Tell your favorite small business how they’re doing

Most people are hurting now, especially small businesses. Have you ever told your favorite local bookstore how they’re doing, or your hairstylist you appreciate them? Now maybe the time to reach out and send a note to express your thanks for all the work they’ve done and that they’re not alone.

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Taking the time to clean your space

Now that you’re spending so much time at home, you’re able to look at your home in a new light. Should your desk be moved to the other side of the room? Should you finally hang that picture that’s been gathering dust in the back of the closet? What about a new coat of paint for the living room? Now’s the time you’re able to rearrange your room for a more productive environment if you’re working from home, or just taking the time to relax in a space that’s all your own. Next, here are 27 quotes on hope that will help lift you up.

Madeline Wahl
Madeline Wahl is a former associate editor and writer at RD.com whose work has appeared on HuffPost, Red Magazine, McSweeney's, Pink Pangea, The Mighty, Golf Channel and Yahoo Lifestyle, among others. More of her writing can be found on her website, madelinehwahl.com.