Finding Joy in Quarantine

Don’t Let the Epidemic Win!

You may have noticed my blog is not entitled Plain Jane’s Guide to the End of the World. Perhaps it should be, given the current world crisis. But I stubbornly believe that finding joy is possible, even in the darkest times.

If you’re looking for dramatic headlines or fear-inspiring statistics, you’ve come to the wrong place.

I’m not interested in writing about worry, fear, and hopelessness – unless it’s to talk about how they can be overcome. I have spent too much of my precious time wrestling with these emotions. They are a waste of time, my time and yours.

This blog is entitled Plain Jane’s Guide to HAPPINESS because that’s what we’re all seeking, that’s what we all need.

Don’t let this tiny, mindless virus drag you down!

No matter what our present circumstances are, we can always find moments of beauty and joy. I know. I speak from experience.

My mother died very suddenly in a car accident. Although it was almost 30 years ago, I will never forget the disemboweling, mind-searing grief of that event. But I will also never forget the wonderful moments that occurred in the midst of that tragedy.

Family, friends, and neighbors enveloped our family in love. Food, the universal gesture of comfort, filled our kitchen and sustained us. Wild games of Spoons erupted in shrieks of laughter and granted us a brief respite from the sadness.

These memories are just as vivid as my remembered grief. I cherish them because they remind me that even in our darkest moments, life can still be full of fierce joy.

Finding Joy

Joy doesn’t require money. It doesn’t require a job or a strong stock market or the absence of fear.

Those are all good things and I hope we all have them, but they are not the source of joy. The lack of them cannot defeat joy.

Joy is everywhere.

It waits for us in the song of the birds, in the warmth of the sun, in the smile of a loved one. It can be captured in a moment, yet sustain you for a day. You just need to be open to the beauty and potential that is all around you.

Here is my challenge to you: make finding joy a priority.

Whatever your circumstances, seek out the seeds of joy. Nourish them daily so they can grow and multiply. These fleeting moments of joy will sustain you through whatever this pandemic brings.

Accepting What Is

I’m no miracle worker. As much as I’d love to, I can’t make this crisis go away. But I can face it, and I can refuse to let it take over my life. You can too.

Over the last few weeks, I have let the arrival of COVID-19 consume me. Frankly, I’ve been wallowing in it, moving from one news article to the next, letting it invade my every conversation.

While this certainly didn’t make me feel very good, I think I needed to immerse myself in it in order to take-in this seismic shift in our reality.

It’s a lot to absorb.

The world is different today than it was last week and vastly different than it was just a month ago. You can’t grasp a change of this magnitude overnight.

So give yourself a break. Mourn the things lost. It’s a long list: jobs, weddings, graduation ceremonies, wine with friends, family events. We are mourning the loss of normal while bracing ourselves for the losses that will come.

It’s OK to be sad for a while.

It’s OK to panic … for a while.

Then you need to move on to the business of living.

Be here now

Yesterday my house enjoyed the most intense cleaning frenzy it’s ever experienced. After I finished cleaning up the remnants of my pity party, I re-arranged my home office and got back to my writing.

I’m done wallowing.

Today, I feel awake and aware again. I feel present here and now. I’m ready to take back the reins in my life.

First up? I’ve got some decisions to make.

  • Where do I want to focus my attention and my time?
  • What are my goals for work, personal life, family and home?
  • How can I connect with and support my community?
  • What things make me joyful? When and how am I going to fit them into my schedule?

I want to come out on the other side of this pandemic not only healthy and well, but a different, better person.

How about you? Are you ready to set some goals and build a new normal for yourself?

Let’s get busy.

Adapting and Growing

The world is different than it was when I started this blog. To address that, I will be writing posts that focus on this new reality while continuing to honor my motto:

Some upcoming posts will focus on the challenges and opportunities (yes, there are opportunities!) of living in the middle of a pandemic.

Other posts will focus on topics that have nothing to do with this post-corona-virus world. Topics that are meaningful to me and hopefully meaningful to you.

I am also challenging myself to create more content and to create it faster. I’m going to shoot from the hip more, and strive for authentic, fun and informative. I think we could all use a dose of that!

If you’ve enjoyed this post, I’ve got a couple of requests:

  1. Share it with your friends. We could all use a dose of happiness these days!
  2. Sign up for my newsletter. It’s a great way to stay in touch and hear about my latest posts.
  3. Are you struggling? Inspired? Full of ideas? Please share them in the comments below. I love hearing from you and so do my readers!

We’re all in this together. Stay well, my friends!

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4 years ago

Thank you for making an effort to keep connected and keep a positive attitude in this challenging time!
I am looking forward to your posts.

4 years ago
Reply to  Hanna

Hi Hanna! Thank you. It is always lovely to hear from readers. Be well. I hope you find some joyful moments today.

4 years ago

Jane, love your blog, thank you. We do need some positives.
Just being able to get outside I can see some normal. I thought I could smell spring! The robins are happy and yesterday the migrating ducks were on the pond swimming around and playing, glad the ice was gone.

4 years ago
Reply to  Norma

Hi Norma! So wonderful to hear from you. Yes, the spring weather is such a mood booster. I’m trying to get myself outside more, it really helps. Stay well!

4 years ago

I love this! so true we have to simplify our lives and feel grateful for what we have. There are way more people who suffer from poverty, war and despair, yet many continue to smile and live life to their best potential. Thank you!

4 years ago

What a wonderful post! Really made me want to change up my goals a bit, based on what life is like right now. (Also shared on Facebook….love your motto!)