We are all aware that these are unprecedented times we are living in. We saw the virus coming, but no one acted quickly enough. It was difficult to foresee how the novel coronavirus COVID19 would impact the world the way it has and unfortunately, we are still at the beginning. It is honestly hard to believe that it is the first day of Spring. I even forgot about St. Patrick’s Day the other day until someone told me around 2 pm.
Here in Massachusetts, at the time of writing this, we currently have 250 cases that are confirmed and no deaths. I think we can all agree that the scare is not so much getting the virus, but more that our elderly or those that are already at risk could get it. Or worse yet, that our hospitals could become so overwhelmed that they cannot handle the number of people that need treatment.
Don’t focus on the statistics, it’s hard not to – but focusing on family and yourself is more critical
Times are rapidly changing.
- All over the world, people are closing their businesses, while others that can work from home are choosing to do so. Keep in mind, much of the population cannot work from home. If you do not work an office job and must work an hourly wage, then this can have catastrophic consequences if it drags out.
- The unknown elements are the most unnerving, how long will my business need to remain closed? Will there be any financial assistance to help me maintain my apartment/house/business? How long will this last? And worst of all – How many people will we lose?
- Children all over the world have had to pause (or stop completely) their school year. My children are out until April 7th, but there are talks of completely closing the schools for the rest of the year. How does this impact the children’s ability to graduate down the road? I have to believe that specific allowances will be put in place for the circumstance. It isn’t like this is something impacting only a few people. It literally is impacting the entire world.
- Not since the depression and World War II has there been something that so drastic has impacted our planet.
As insane as it sounds, there are upsides to all of this though:
- China and other countries are reporting some of the lowest pollution levels in decades given that so many people are remaining home and not commuting. I can speak from personal experience – driving into Boston the few times I’ve had to over the last week has been amazing! I have not seen this few people on the road since I moved to Boston in 1998.
- Being forced to be at home, though unnerving, is giving people a forced rest period. We have no choice but to remain at home and work, read and watch TV. Some of us (me included) are taking the chance to go out running and getting some much-needed exercise. As crazy as the circumstances are, this world needed this small respite. We as a society have been moving faster and faster and expecting everything to happen instantly. Now nature or God or whatever higher power you feel may be in charge has forced us to take a break and I would like to believe that some solid good can come out of this.
- We are being forced to look after those that are most at risk. Stores are opening early to let the elderly go shopping before anyone else does. People are communicating and checking in on the elderly and the sick to make sure that they are well cared for. It is so easy in our hurried world to overlook the little things, like taking care of our loved ones and connecting with kids, which leads me to the next point…
- Yes, if you have young children, about now, you are climbing the walls and pulling your hair out wishing to God that you could use a tranquilizer on them. But, your children (and mine) are getting a chance to connect with us in ways that perhaps the last two generations have not had. You can play board games with your kids, sit down and watch a show with them or just talk to them. Teach them things that you used to do as a kid and learn to be a kid yourself again. Most importantly, don’t let them spend all their time on video games or phones. Get them to read or practice writing or teach them something about your family that you haven’t had a chance to. Just keep their brains busy.
The loneliness for some will be the most difficult. We are social creatures and some of us are more social than others. If you live alone, it can be very difficult to cope with this and reading or watching TV can only take you so far. It won’t take long for you to forget what day of the week it is. I strongly recommend the following (for everyone – regardless of your living situation):
- Use the time to connect with family, call them and if you can – facetime, skype or video WhatsApp them
- Talk to friends. Take this chance to catch up on talks that you haven’t been able to in your busy life.
- Pick up that hobby you’ve been wanting to do, build some models, put together a puzzle or read (or anything else that stricks your fancy).
- Cook. You’re going to be by yourself a lot, so it doesn’t hurt to prep some meals. You can freeze them or refrigerate them and warm them up later.
No matter who you are or how many people you live with, be sure to do the following:
- Don’t focus on the statistics, it’s hard not to – but focusing on family and yourself is more critical
- Focus on the positive with children – they will be scared enough seeing you scared. Show them the positives (like time to play games and read)
- Don’t let the media bring you down. They are bringing you important information, but their job is still to get listeners/viewers and they do this by focusing on the drama.
As the old Persian saying goes, “This too shall pass.”
We don’t know what the world will be like when we come out on the other side, but how we carry ourselves in these times will determine who we are on the other side.
Wishing you good health, happiness and time with those you care about most.