Seek out moments of normalcy, joy while social distancing


Madeline Brown | The DePaulia

“I recommend being outdoors!!!” – Sophie Ryall

Social isolation seems to be looming on everyone’s mind, second only to the virus itself. Normal routines have gone out the window, leaving people to figure out new ways of living.

In this time of turmoil, “it’s ok to be sad,” said Jocelyn Smith Carter, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at DePaul, “and not to feel guilty about being sad, even when you’re in relatively good circumstances.”

There is a silver lining in this period of isolation: People are continuing to seek out normalcy and joy.

“We’re trained to believe everything we do has to have a purpose, whether it’s making money or whatever,” said Michaela Emmerich, a freshman at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. “But we can do things solely for fun or curiosity and I think that form of appreciation has been lost in pre-corona world.”

Madeline Brown | The DePaulia
“I may have sat on the couch all day and ate junk food but at least I washed my face!” -Tarah Carter

There is a subtle sense of freedom that comes with all this extra time, and people are taking advantage of it. Whether that be through creating new hobbies or throwing together a meal with the limited supplies available and creating something delicious.

“I’ve been reading, which I think has been very helpful, and listening to music, the things I usually say I don’t have time for but now that’s all I have,” said DePaul sophomore Thomas Pye. This new, hopefully temporary, world order brings with it the possibility to find joy in simple things that people may have taken for granted in life before COVID-19.

“Before all of this I would never feel like doing my skin care routine because it’s rather lengthy,” said Tarah Carter, a sophomore at Temple University. “Now I wake up every morning and look forward to doing it because it brings me a sense of normalcy.” 

Being alone lends the opportunity to do an evaluation of your typical routine. Evaluating your day-to-day routines can lead you, like Carter, to find comfort in the things you once thought were monotonous. Carter recommends to “make a plan for one day at a time and have a goal for that day.” When you are isolated and planning out your day in different ways than before, you can reflect on the routines you once had, and possibly recognize flaws or bad habits.

“This has been an opportunity to step back and realize that all I really need is to be with my family,” said DePaul sophomore Sophie Ryall. “We live in such a consumerist society, and as much as I would love to support all the local businesses struggling right now, it’s proving that there  are so many things we buy or spend time worrying about that really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things.”

Madeline Brown | The DePaulia
Michaela Emmerich’s vegan pantry breakfast.

COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on all of our lives, and only time will tell what the legacy of this pandemic will be. Isolation allows time for reflection, and the opportunity to pinpoint what  is a waste of energy and what truly matters in life. Post-COVID-19 there is a possibility for society to enact positive changes to counterproductive or harmful old habits.

“So many of my routines have changed for the better during this crisis and I hope that I’ll be able to carry some of these good habits after the shutdown,” said DePaul sophomore Micky Braeger.

The life of life at the moment is sacrifice. There are, however, ways to make lemonade out of these lemons life is dealing — even in social isolation.