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Flattening the Curve While Growing Your Comfort Zone

Flatten the curve, a term many of us weren’t familiar with until a few weeks ago. Now we know all too well flattening the curve means social distancing, in order to slow the spread of a virus. We have been asked to change the way we live, work, eat, play, etc. Almost immediately, our daily routines have been turned upside down and we are all reacting to it differently. Many are heeding the advice to alter life as we know it. Others are ignoring the call to urgency or choosing to live in denial. Some people are struggling with the rapid changes. No matter how we are responding to this, we are all trying to understand what this will mean in the weeks, months, and years to come.

Growing our comfort zone while flattening the curve is a unique situation but it can be done. Many of us are probably already being stretched simply because we are not working outside our homes, we are spending 24/7 with our families, or we are being charged with homeschooling our children. We don’t have the luxury of going out to dinner, visiting with friends, or taking in a movie or sporting event like we are accustomed to doing. These are unprecedented times that we will likely not have to navigate again in our lifetime but can help us to grow and learn.

In order for us to not just get through this challenging time but to thrive, we must be open to growing our comfort zones. I think this could be an opportunity to get used to being comfortable while being uncomfortable. What is a comfort zone and how do we grow it? Merriam-Webster defines comfort zone as “the level at which one functions with ease and familiarity.”

It’s a place you feel like you are in control of your surroundings and you are hesitant to make a change. As we embrace change and try new things we begin to stretch, expand, and grow. Are you going to need a shove or a nudge for this growth? It’s true, most people don’t like change. People tend to be perfectly content keeping with what they know and following status quo. In order for us to not only get through this challenging time but to thrive we must be open to growing our comfort zones.

I encourage you to view this time as an opportunity. An opportunity to focus on your family and yourself. Embrace the slower pace. Re-evaluate your routines and seek to try new things or do things differently. Allow yourself to think outside the box because the way we function over the coming weeks will forever change our lives and the world we live in. Do your part to flatten the curve and grow your comfort zone!

Lorrissa Dunfee is the Family & Consumer Sciences Educator at Ohio State University Extension in Belmont County. She received her bachelor’s degree from Ohio University and her master’s degree from West Virginia University.

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