As we progress into week six (or eight? or is it four?) of managing our lives in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, we are starting to see signs that some of us might be getting a little frustrated.
We’re getting antsy with one another, ticked off with some of our leaders, and downright annoyed with this “thing” that we don’t understand, have never seen, and can’t know when it will go away.
We’re done working 1,000-piece puzzles on the dining room table. We’ve crafted plenty of homemade masks. We’ve read every book in the house. We have watched enough TV, old movies and Netflix specials that we are getting mad at the characters who are not socially distancing. (We forget these shows were filmed months – even decades – ago.)
Yet, many folks have chosen to remain positive and creative throughout. They are the seekers and finders of the silver lining. It’s these people with whom I choose to spend time – virtually, of course.
It occurs to me that in addition to finding proactive ways to spend – not waste – this unexpected (and strangely delivered) gift of extra time, in varied degrees of isolation, we might want to think ahead to what could be next. What will life be like in the coming months?
We have no idea. We hope it we get back to our own personal normal, though we can’t be sure. But it might be helpful and healthy to consider some alternatives for the future.
Here are some key words that occurred to me recently:
• Relax. Don’t let the stress get to you. Take a walk and get some air. Write a card or letter and to someone you love and mail it. Call your parents, children or siblings on the phone – don’t just text or email. Take a nap, even if it’s only mid-morning. Stay in your pajamas ALL DAY if you want to. Sit outside and listen to the birds.
• Reflect. Focus on what is positive in your life at the moment. Perhaps you still have a job; be grateful. Perhaps you have discovered a new interest; welcome it. Think about some happier times, such as a vacation, or a holiday dinner with loved ones, or baby giggles. Hold those thoughts.
Re-think. Consider what’s going on in your world at present. Are your children home and studying online? Is home- schooling a possibility for their future? Perhaps you’ve been laid off. What are your options? Is it imperative that your career stay on the same path? Have you been thinking about retirement? Is now a good time?
• Revise. Even if you go back to your same job, give some thought to how you can use your talents in other ways. How can you use your passion to create a new, better, more fun career? Can you turn a hobby – even a new one – into a livelihood? How can you change what you do, or how you do it, that can adapt to changes?
• Recover. This too shall pass. The pandemic will eventually run its course. It’s possible that life will be pretty much the same. Our community might need to make some adjustments, but we can work on them together.
• Rejoice. When the “all clear” signal is given, and we can get back together with our families, friends and neighbors, we will celebrate. That’s going to be quite a party, isn’t it?
• Remember. Our country has survived disruptions before. Our parents and grandparents lived through World Wars. We suffered together through the aftermath of 9/11. We will get through this too. Let’s remember how we worked together in this time of uncertainty, and use that power to face our next challenge.