Why does it seem like people are smiling less during the Coronavirus Era and worldwide pandemic?
- Are people depressed? or just thinking,
- “You can’t tell if I am smiling behind my mask anyway, so why bother?”
- Maybe wearing a mask is like having a wall up. Does this “wall” make people feel invisible so even eye contact is unnecessary? OR…
- Is it a psychological reaction to the heightened concern of contagious people around us? We don’t want to touch one another, not even get within 6 feet from each other, so let’s just hurry past one another and avoid eye contact and smiles for good measure.
The Need for Social Connection
I crave eye contact. When wearing my mask in public, I want to show my smile through my eyes, but I don’t get the impression that many others are trying to connect as desperately as I am.
The main reason I leave my house right now-a-days is to get groceries. I have been surprised at how a normally social experience in a brightly lit building full of friendly strangers has turned into a hurried experience in a quiet market full of rules and shy masked shoppers trying to avoid each other.
I am pretty sure we can’t spread Coronavirus to one another by smiling and catching glances. Even exchanging a simple “Hello” from behind our masks as we social distance in the isles is okay, in my opinion. There have been a few times that I think I have started fellow shoppers by saying “Hello” to them in the grocery store. These masks aren’t gag cloths. I need the social engagement while coping with Coronavirus.
Biggest Tiny Challenges of the Pandemic
This time for our families, nation and world is unprecedented. I, like so many, encourage you to wear your mask in public and practice social distancing. My life has been greatly altered by this worldwide pandemic. The residents of my house doubled in number as my college and mission sons came home, my teen’s school was switched to online instruction at home, and family Sabbath worship was moved from our chapel to our living room to name a few major changes for us.
Many of you have suffered job loss, debilitating illness, death, depression.
How Do We Cope During the Coronavirus Era?
Some things that have strengthened me during this difficult time has been:
- Scripture Study
- Outdoor Recreation
- Use of Technology to keep in touch with my friends and family
Prayer and Scripture Study
I pray as soon as I wake up in the morning by kneeling by my bed, before I do anything. I thank Heavenly Father for all my blessings and acknowledge Jesus Christ as my center and Savior and talk about whatever I want. After Curtis is at school, I kneel and thank God for the scriptures, plead for His Spirit to be with me and ask a question that relates to me and my day. Then I get up and read the scriptures until I receive my answer. I teach a course about getting answers to prayer called “Parenting With Faith.” CLICK HERE to learn more.
President Russell M. Nelson said, “During these uncertain times, be comforted by this promise from the Savior. He said, ‘I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say.’ I promise you that joy is always within the reach of everyone who will hear Him and obey His laws.”
He encouraged us to take care of ourselves and loved ones, and to minister to neighbors near and far, then concluded by saying, “I love you. I pray for you. And I promise that you will receive comfort and peace as you continue to hear Him.” What a great example of compassion and love the prophet is for the whole world.
In addition, I recommend that we absorb and promote peace. Contention, whether about political, faith, or family issues makes everything worse. Contention is of the devil, who “stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.” The Lord’s doctrine is peace. He is the King of peace and His arms are stretched out to anyone who will come to Him.
Whether it is walking, jogging, biking, hiking, or camping, outdoor recreation has helped SO MUCH in coping during the Coronavirus Era mandates by breathing fresh air, moving and enjoying my family outside. The virus doesn’t spread as easily outside where there is ventilation and sunshine. Have you noticed how busy the trails and campgrounds have been? I am not the only one that has figured this out. Plus, my neighbors that are out and about are SO friendly. I get such a high from their waves and smiles.
Technology and Managing Kids’ Online School
Technology life-lines that have saved me:
- Marco Polo-ing with my siblings and parents,
- Zoom meetings to get Dunc, Curt and all my adult kids together, and
My sister Catherine has 7 kids. She shared with me and my sisters tips for online school with all her kids on a Zoom meeting last week. This is a REALLY bad recording. I am sorry, but she is amazing. Take this as inspiration, not as comparison. Her attitude is GOLD.
About a week into quarantine in March 2020, I was feeling unusually sad. After examining the possible reasons for my mood swing I determined I was sad because I needed some social connections. I gathered some chairs into our front yard and with my husband, Duncan, sat outside and waved to the cars and walkers going by. My happiness meter began rising quickly. Two hours later, after a number of fun social distanced conversations and lots of exchanged smiles, I was my normal happy self again. I had no idea how critical human connection was!
I hope that prayer, God’s Word, outdoor recreation, and good technology use helps you cope with life during this Coronavirus Era.
Another story about depression is here.
Corona Virus Links Recommended –
- UP-TO-DATE State of the Coronavirus outbreak
- UP-TO-DATE Mutation of the Coronavirus
- UP-TO-DATE Worldwide Coronavirus tracking
- UP-TO-DATE Coronavirus Infection trajectories and graphics
More Help –
Happiness in Old Age – Don’t Be Set In Your Ways.
Toddler Ideas – Music and Me was born because of the Coronavirus Pandemic. It is hard to have a busy toddler or preschooler at home when all the parks, beaches, libraries, and community classes are closed or cancelled. My granddaughter was bored and I wanted to connect with her so I started recording myself singing songs, which turned into Music and Me. Music and Me young child music courses are online, affordable, convenient, and educational. Right now they are 50% OFF too! LEARN MORE.