This unprecedented time of sheltering at home amid fear of contracting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) — or, God forbid, infecting someone we love — has brought out the best and the worst in us all. Stress levels are at an all-time high and learning to work, study, communicate and perform routine daily tasks virtually has definitely been an adjustment. Finding the silver linings throughout all of the chaos, even if it’s a stretch some days to find any positive benefits from this new way of living, is my daily goal. Here are a few things I’ve come to learn during this unique situation we all are faced with.

Embrace the quality time.

The sadness of missed graduations, birthday celebrations, sports seasons and special events like prom is one that will take a significant amount of time for many to recover from. It’s easy to count on both hands and feet the number of disappointments we’ve each endured from the worldwide pandemic. Parents have been overwhelmed (and sometimes downright infuriated) by the need to become instant teachers and educators required to quickly turn months of in-person learning experiences into online curriculum without guidance.

The closures have been equally as challenging for special-needs families. Our children often lack the understanding of why the daily schedule they’ve come to know has to change. It was definitely no picnic having Skyler locked out of his school for two months, requiring me to provide fulfilling activities and makeshift therapy each day … which I have no training or knowledge of how to properly do. This time has been tough on us all — parents, kids, business owners, teachers, everyone.

However, no matter who you are, each day you wake up you have the opportunity to determine your mood and behavior. You can make the choice to dwell on the heartaches and let the months of quarantine stress overtake you, or you can seek out the positive and embrace the fact that you are spending another day safe and healthy. I prefer to focus my spirit and attitude on the benefits each day brings, and for me, that has been the extra quality time I get to spend with my husband and children.

After catching up on every season of every show Netflix has to offer, we definitely had to dig deep and get creative on ways to occupy our family time. Doing puzzles, exercising, cooking, baking and lots of family walks has given us back the deep discussions and laughter we didn’t realize was missing.

Make permanent changes and slow down our lives beyond COVID-19.

We’ve created a new normal these past few months in quarantine, but with businesses slowly beginning to open in some areas, you may be wondering how you can move forward. While I’m excited to return to “normal” again — which for me might mean the ability to dine in at restaurants, enter a business without wearing a face mask and meet with my co-workers in-person and not through a computer screen — I hope the forced emphasis on slowing down to enjoy the little blessings each day brings doesn’t evaporate as quickly as the hand sanitizer.

I have enjoyed the many birthday parades we’ve been part of — honking our car horn and flashing our handmade sign for friends who would normally have only received quick birthday wishes via Facebook. Knowing that my daughter will be leaving for college in three short years and my son may any day gain the independence I keep pushing him to develop, I’m soaking up every minute I get to spend caring for and bonding with them both.

Perhaps society as a whole might stick with the current disruptions to their lives: more patience instead of rushing and spending time with relatives NOW instead of pushing it off to when you have more time and giving an adequate amount of personal space to those around you. Our world seems to come together best during a crisis … we are, after all, in this together.