'Every challenge is an opportunity:' Some using COVID-19 quarantine to focus on personal, family growth

MILWAUKEE -- The coronavirus pandemic has changed lives and altered day-to-day routines, but this time of uncertainty has also paved the way for people to take stock of their life and relationships.

When climbing on a playground, sometimes you need a little extra push to get over the hurdle, just like your spirit might need a lift in times of trauma.

Jesus Torres

"Every challenge or difficulty is an opportunity," said Jesus Torres.

Amid COVID-19, Torres has tried to stay positive while navigating all of the changes and challenges.

"I have four kids at different ages, so keeping them, let's say, out of the stress of the pandemic is one thing, and to be active in the home," said Torres.

During quarantine, he's focused on personal and family growth.

"I'm doing more exercise that I was before, and also, take the opportunity to challenge our minds ," said Torres. "I think all of these memories will make the family more stronger than it is today. I'm learning more about what they feel, what they like, what they don't like."

Erica Wilson and her sister have leaned on core loved ones during these tough times.

"Because of the pandemic, I can't work, and it's hard to pay bills," said Wilson. "It's good that we got family that is able to help."

Dr. Munther Barakat

Being in this together has taken on more meaning each day.

"If you are experiencing a similar stress as someone else, you can process through it," said Dr. Munther Barakat, psychologist with Aurora Health Care.

Dr. Barakat teaches patients to reframe the way they think about things.

"We are going to have more opportunity to interact with each other because of things, increased opportunity to be creative in the way we handle stress," he said. "In the long run, it will make us more productive, and make us more appreciative of the things in our environment."

Doctors say often when we think about trauma, it often leaves us in a position of vulnerability, and feeling like we are worse off after an experience, but there's a thing called post-traumatic growth, where our ability to handle stress is improved and we consider different ways of thinking about it and handling it.