While watching television one night, I saw a commercial for home grocery delivery.

“Soon, we won’t have to leave our house for any reason,” I said to my husband.

We can get our entertainment at home, and professional development and education through our computers. While going to the gym is nice, some of us have home gyms or use videos or online exercise classes. I can download books through free services from my public library or have a subscription service provide me with everything I want to read. Our news is delivered online. I can use TeleMed for many medical needs.

Then there’s food delivery. In addition to the tried-and-true pizza delivery options, we now have companies like GrubHub and DoorDash. Retailers allow you to order online and have products delivered to your door. Need some clothing? It’s just a click away. You can stay home and enjoy your worship service online or on television, too. Some organizations have allowed employees to telework, at least occasionally, for years. And now you can get your groceries delivered? Why would I ever need to leave home?

Fast forward a couple of months, and we are living this reality. I certainly never expected to have to stay home, but we’re doing it.

While it’s wonderful to live in 2020 and have these options, is it desirable? Some of us are introverts and we haven’t had to change our lives very much. We prefer staying home in solitude.

But those extroverts among us? This is not pleasant. We get our energy from other people so being forced to socially distance ourselves is negatively impacting us.

And what about our friends who don’t work for trucking companies and grocery stores, especially those who own or work in small businesses and restaurants? There is an added stress to their lives wondering if their businesses will survive. Our health care community is under tremendous stress, but they will have jobs after the pandemic is over. That’s one thing they don’t have to worry about.

So in this unprecedented time, how do we turn lemons into lemonade?

I think we first have to take care of each other. For your neighbors who cannot get out, can you get them groceries and touch base with them electronically. Reach out to your friends who live alone to make sure they’re OK. Find games to play remotely. We love Bananagrams at our house. I could play Bananagrams with my game in my house while you play in yours. Let’s get creative about staying in touch. Go knock on windows of shut-ins. I see that’s what many nursing homes are allowing.

A friend who is teleworking said she’s holding virtual coffee hours with her staff. I love this idea!

Figure out how to support small businesses. Perhaps you can shop online with them. Birthdays and anniversaries still need to be celebrated, so consider purchasing from a small retailer for a birthday gift to be delivered. You’ll make both the birthday boy’s day as you help out a small retailer.

Restaurants are adapting to this situation by offering curbside pickup. Think about using that option a couple times a week. If we don’t support restaurants and small businesses during the next several months, they may not survive, and we don’t want that.

We are living in interesting times. We will get through this, but will be different on the other side of this pandemic. Let’s hope we have kept our humanity by taking care of others. While I can stay home and get all of my daily needs fulfilled electronically or through delivery, it’s not the way I want to live my life.

Lynne Richardson is the dean of the College of Business at the University of Mary Washington.

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