The good news files: joy and silver linings in the coronavirus pandemic
Accessed from the world wide web at 13:00 hrs on 25.04.20.
What we liked
One of the more improbable upshots of the pandemic is the sheer volume of amateur mask makers out there. Everyone it seems is reaching for the sewing machine or the 3D printer. Like these two Irish schoolboys, featured in the Irish Times.
Clear skies and gorgeous spring weather have powered Germany to record solar power generation, according to Time magazine
Meanwhile, we quite like the new bite-size “tarts app” (there’s always reason to smile). Though it’s early days, it will be interesting to see if this kind of service takes off and sustains its appeal.
And finally, this factual explainer on how quickly we might get to a vaccine was published by the Wellcome Trust.
What we heard
Barbara Feeney, recently repatriated to Dublin from Melbourne, wrote in praise of the simple hug:
In Iceland, the country’s forestry service has recommended that people hug a tree once a day during lockdown, to aid relaxation and boost their sense of wellbeing. Rangers are recommending a daily five-minute tree hug. A rather peculiar instruction, but there’s something quite lovely about it too.
This got me thinking about hugging. Before now I had never thought a lot about hugging. I suppose it’s just one of those things we do on automatic pilot.
There’s a lot to be said for technology and how it can connect us and help us feel less alone, but nothing makes up for a good hug. So, while I wait for a government-approved hug, I’ll keep hugging my teddy and maybe give the Icelandic tree-hugging a go!
Dede Callichy meanwhile got in touch from Byron Bay, Australia:
My greatest reasons for gratitude are crystal-clear air, much quieter streets, more respect and kindness between people, and the dedication of those making big donations and those in service – medical staff, supermarkets, meal takeaway outlets, garbage collectors, teachers … and the list goes on. Thank you all.
Brooke Fandrich from Wisconsin is relishing the chance to take stock:
Over this lengthy period of social distancing, I’ve felt like the ‘mute button’ has been pressed on my life. The typical noise of my days has been silenced, and that’s made a huge impact since we’ve finally been given some time to be alone with our own thoughts. It seems like people are using their isolation as an opportunity for self-reflection and healing. During social distancing, I’ve realized that myself and many others were experiencing chronic stress in our old daily life. We were finally able to work up the courage and get professional psychiatric help. Many members of my family are coming out about their own mental health, and it seemed like every website I went to for professional help gave a notice that they were receiving a significant number of new patients during the pandemic.
I know that social isolation is extremely harmful to overall wellbeing, and many people are suffering from social distancing, but a lot of us have actually been encouraged by it to start speaking up for ourselves. It may be interesting for you to research if the world of professional psychological care has really been experiencing an overall wave of new patients during the pandemic. All these changes have exposed serious faults in the way our society was being run, and I think that goes down to the most basic individual level.
It would be amazing if this crisis has encouraged people to reach out for the help that they’ve needed for so long. Thanks for the positives.