Brit Kelleher April 23, 2020 at 3:39 PM

Finding gratefulness: Our skies are cleaner

Fence with chalk drawing saying be safe

When was the last time you heard some good news? One silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic is that our air is cleaner than it has been in years. Air pollution levels have dropped considerably since industry production and transportation has slowed significantly as cities across the globe and drivers everywhere stay home to shelter in place.

A friend of mine who lives in Los Angeles said the the air is unlike anything she’s ever seen since moving to Southern California. “It’s like all of a sudden one day I looked up and could actually see the sky without the smog.”

California poppy in bloom

I have started noticing a difference in my own life with the adjustment this “new normal” has imposed upon us. I have been going for 3-4 walks a day in order to break up my work from home. I’ve been enjoying the brisk morning air and the warm afternoon sun. I’ve seen amazing chalk art, encouraging signs in front yards and a plethora of teddy bears, Easter eggs and leprechauns in windows. I’ve seen incredible gardens all throughout my North Oak Park neighborhood that I probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise because I had never taken the time to stop and smell the (figurative) roses. 

It’s a gorgeous time to initiate a new habit — like adding walks into your daily routine.  Spring has sprung. The sun has been shining, the flowers are in bloom, the birds are chirping (there’s a nest outside of our living room window and two baby birds just hatched last week!).

Sidewalk chalk says wash those hands

Amid the worry and anxiety many of us are feeling right now, we’ve also been provided a gift of being able to slow down and be intentional with how we’re interacting with the world, our environment, and ourselves right now. So, when you are done reading this, go step outside to get some fresh air. Feel the sunshine on your skin. How are you slowing down to interact with this new normal our world faces? Taking three deep breaths and a quick walk around the block turns my mood around instantly. Give it a try. Maybe it can do the same for you.


Brit Kelleher

Brit Kelleher is the Community Impact Specialist at SAFE Credit Union on the Community Relations team. She is co-host of Perfect Cents Podcast, SAFE's financial education podcast. She is passionate about financial education, sustainability, and supporting local small businesses to invest in her local Oak Park economy. When not assisting with community engagement initiatives for SAFE, she enjoys taking walks around her neighborhood, petting all the friendly dogs she comes across, and gardening in her backyard.