During the most challenging of times, it’s important to find new possibilities. Coronavirus has produced a stream of unnerving news, and restrictions, creating worry and uncertainty for us all. While coping in the midst of this crisis is a challenge, society’s response has created new opportunities for kindness and creativity.

Kindness and Humour

There have been great acts of kindness – and humour. A bakery in Dortmund, Germany has opted to bake and sell ‘toilet paper cakes’. Yes, really. Check out their masterpiece in this video.

The virus has brought many communities closer together and prompted acts of kindness around the world.

Thousands of local community groups are being set up across the UK on websites such as Covid-19 Mutual Aid to provide support to those in isolation. Groceries and prescriptions are being delivered to those in quarantine and those self-isolating, and communities are reaching out to the vulnerable who are likely to be suffering from loneliness more than ever before, to ensure they stay connected.

An online therapy service – The Help Hub – was set up by counsellor Ruth Chaloner and a small group of therapists, to support those who find themselves with limited contact due to the Coronavirus. Alongside a team of trained volunteers, they are offering free 20-minute phone or video calls for people experiencing social isolation and distress exacerbated by Coronavirus. The demand for online emotional support has been so great that the project is expanding beyond its home base in Oxford to support people on a national scale. This has been made possible by the influx of therapists across the country willing to work for free. Ruth asks therapists to email her at info@helphub.co.uk to get involved.

An Opportunity for Creativity

Extra time at home has offered many the opportunity to embrace their creative side and do what they most enjoy.

To make up for the absence of live concerts, many artists are now live streaming performances from their own homes. For a full list of these, click here.

If you’re a keen theatre go-er, or simply interested in what might usually be on, The National Theatre have created their own ‘National Theatre at Home’ channel on YouTube, with free full-length plays. Click here to explore.

YouTube have introduced a series of playlists sharing people’s videos under the following categories:

Stay Home and Cook #WithMe

Stay Home and Clean #WithMe

Stay Home and Workout #WithMe

Stay Home and Draw #WithMe

The realisation that it’s Okay to Not Feel Okay

Consultant clinical psychologist, Dr Lucy Johnstone wrote, “we’re all facing entirely normal fear, anxiety, despair and confusion about a truly terrifying situation that challenges our whole way of life.”

It is perfectly fine if you are finding it hard to be proactive or creative. The difficult feelings and anxiety many will be experiencing can make it difficult to summon the energy for new routines and hobbies. We’re experiencing what has been described as a period of collective grief. David Kessler, an expert on grief, explained how the loss of normalcy, the fear of economic toll and the loss of connection has left us grieving for our regular existence, but we are experiencing these difficult feelings together, and together we can overcome them.

Something to look forward to

Historical evidence indicates that the end of this crisis could spawn the beginning of a new period of jubilation. Peter Frankopan, a professor of global history at the University of Oxford, explained that after the Black Death, spending patterns changed dramatically, with increased demand for luxury goods and improvements in diet as people spent more on food. Attitudes shifted towards living for the present, rather than saving for the unpredictable future.

A similar shift took place after the end of the First World War and once the Spanish Flu had finally passed in 1920. Frankopan wrote, “the decade that followed became known as the Roaring Twenties, a time of enjoyment, of decadence and even of early sexual liberation”. Perhaps history will repeat itself and we will enter a new ‘Roaring Twenties’.

While we are living through a very difficult period, we could use this experience to reflect on the fulfilling aspects of our lives and think about what we wish to achieve both now and in the future.

It is fine to be fearful and anxious during these uncertain times. But to quote an old Indian proverb, “It will all be all right in the end and if it isn’t all right, it’s not the end.”