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Social distancing: a gift, not a punishment

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Added: Wed, 04/08/2020 - 2:23pm
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Allyson Beauregard
Rédacteur / Managing Editor
editor@journalpontiac.com

It has been about a month since the federal and provincial governments advised residents to stay at home and practice social distancing at all times to limit the spread of Covid-19, including closing schools and daycares (except
daycare for essential service employees). Two weeks ago, the province ordered
all ‘non-essential’ businesses like restaurants, hair salons, car dealerships, and spas to close until May 4.
These measures are definitely warranted given the virus’ devastating effects worldwide and the need to prevent its spread; the ways the crisis has made our lives difficult are easy to list.
Working parents have to coordinate childcare and those who are home
must find ways to keep their children entertained; people and businesses have lost incomes; the Outaouais’ borders are closed for non-essential travel; people
are distanced from friends and outside-the-home family members; seniors
residences and hospitals are on lock-down for visitors; worry is high; all social gatherings and events have been cancelled; many trips abroad were cut short and some struggle to get refunds for cancelled plans; etc. 
But less evident are the ways the crisis has actually made our lives easier. Life moves at such a fast pace that it seems to pass us by before we can really enjoy it. Our day-to-day routines can make us feel like we’re rushing from one thing to the next, leaving us exhausted with little time to slow down, savour life, focus on the things we enjoy and just take a moment to breathe.  
The Covid-19 crisis has reversed this trend and has forced us to slow down,
giving us an opportunity that normally isn’t available in our everyday lives.
With almost nowhere to go and nothing to do (other than go to work if you’re
an essential service employee), our schedules have been re-organized and lightened, leaving most of us with some free time to dedicate to ourselves and live-in family members.
Exercising, getting enough sleep, reading, catching up on our favourite TV shows, working on hobbies, playing a board game, going for walks, taking time to appreciate the small things, spending quality time with our kids – we’re now doing the things we really enjoy, but that are also easier to put aside or neglect when “life” gets in the way.
In a way, we’ve been given a gift, not a punishment, amid this terrible time. As an added bonus, if we do it right by staying home as much as we can, this gift has the added bonus of helping humanity while literally doing nothing. Who doesn’t like making a difference in life?
So do as the government advises!
Stay home as much as possible, and cherish this gift because these times
won’t last and before we know it, we’ll all be back to our normal, everyday
lives wishing we had more time to do nothing.