I cannot say I’d choose to witness the Coronavirus pandemic, but here I am, and so are you. What follows is some help in reducing your distress.
I shall not minimize the dangers, but no good comes of either dismissing them or worrying over them as one would a train wreck sure to happen. The situation is neither.
If you are keeping up with public health recommendations, you know this. If you are taking the advised hand-washing precautions, you know this. Moreover, various branches of government in the USA are beginning to reinforce the societal safety net for those who need such assistance.
More action will come, though increased disease is inevitable for a while.
Assuming you are maintaining your social distance, you’ve taken a significant step. But what do you do with a less structured day now, time that used to be organized by meeting friends, going to restaurants or bars, and working in an office rather than your residence?
When our minds are left to themselves, they often travel to dark places. Here are a few suggestions to help you stay in the light:
- Notice the changes in your life and the lives of others, without catastrophizing. The present is a remarkable time to be observing the world’s reaction to the virus. Be curious, watching and listening instead of evaluating and judging. Meditation may help with this.
- Many of us have said, “Gee, I wish I had more time.” Now some of us do. What did you mean when you spoke those words? What dreams do you hold you now can begin to fulfill?
- Reach out to people by phone, email, and social media.
- Remind yourself of the things for which you are grateful. Daily.
- Plan your activities for the next day before bedtime. Give yourself a sense of control and accomplishment. Focus on the doable without excess ambition.
- Do not watch the news or political commentary at every moment.
- Exercise, if possible in the morning light, to reduce anxiety and improve sleep.
- Learn something new. The internet is full of educational possibilities, many without any cost. Perhaps something as simple as learning how to tie a Windsor knot:
- Remember that if you are isolated, the prescription of interpersonal separation gives you much company, even if you don’t see those comrades on the street. We’ve been offered an opportunity to make ourselves interesting for ourselves and to ourselves.
- If you lament the lack of a robust dating life, you needn’t apologize. Many more people are alone because of the dangers of visiting their usual haunts and loved ones.
- If you are going through hell, keep going. Don’t stop until you find the path out.
- Religious faith is sustaining at such times. Prayer and reliance on a higher power can be helpful.
- People are fighting for you in the healthcare system, many also in government. Efforts are being made to ramp up diagnostic testing. Laws are being passed to make the tests free. Legislation providing paid sick leave from work is also in process, though not everyone is yet included in the plan. Watch the brief video below. The outcome is positive.
- Much political activism is occurring online. I do not mean arguing with people. Engage in making the world better from your home to support your desire to improve the country.
- The challenge of living in the time of COVID-19 is a chance to develop a new depth of psychological resilience. The Stoic philosophers believed we discover who we are only when we are taxed.
- Make a list of the difficult situations you’ve survived. What strengths within you enabled you to do so? Tap such qualities once again.
- Clean out your abode. Donate or dump all those belongings you no longer need.
- Far more distractions are available than ever before in world history. Use them.
This crisis, too, will pass.
The top image is called Sunset Dancer by Hurriagusto07. It was sourced from Wikimedia Commons.