**Addendum: As I finished writing this post, I literally realized that even though it was so foggy I couldn’t see Lake Michigan across the street, the sun began to peek through the veil of clouds. Yes, we’ll all get through this.
This is such a strange and surreal time, isn’t it? The entire world has been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic in varying degrees. And yet, there are some things we can do and think about that might help for the duration.
First things first: ” this too shall pass.” Whenever we are in the middle of difficult times, it is almost impossible to see anything else but the challenging moments we find ourselves in. However, like other serious situations in our history, this is going to end, and things are going to get a lot better.
I find that thinking ‘in the rear-view mirror’ helps somewhat. For instance, I visualize months from now looking back and thinking, wow, we got through it, it’s okay now, and moving forward is welcomed and appreciated (and perhaps more than ever before.)
Gratitude. No matter what is happening at this time, there are always, always things in our lives to be grateful for. I was thinking about my favorite book: “Man’s Search for Meaning,” by Dr. Viktor Frankl. Dr. Frankl was a psychiatrist who was held in a concentration camp during WWII. Dr. Frankl talks about losing everything in his life, save one thing: his ability to think about anything he wanted to think about. He mentioned walking around the outer area of the fenced-in ‘exercise’ yard. Dr. Frankl decided he would focus on the beauty of the wild flowers that grew just outside of the fence. He admired them, and realized that no one could take those thoughts away from him.
In the midst of horrific conditions, Dr. Frankl focused on not only those life-saving flowers, but also visualized what it would feel like after the war. He pictured himself at a podium, bright lights shining onto the stage, and ‘saw’ hundreds of people listening to everything he had to say about his time in a concentration camp. Years later, this literally came to pass when Dr. Frankl gave lectures to many audiences.
I’ve reduced my news-watching to only once per day. Instead, I’ve shifted my reading to this wonderful website: Good News Network. You will find some fantastic stories not only relating to the Coronavirus, but many other delightful and uplifting articles about those who are truly making a difference in the lives of others; and, ultimately their own.
Doing something kind for someone else has always been a big part of happiness for me. Despite the ‘six-feet’ distancing we are told to abide by, we can do so much with just a tiny bit of effort. Calling someone you haven’t spoken with in a long while, a quick text just to check-in (thank you to my friend who did that recently; it really meant a lot), and focusing on every little thing you can think of to make things a bit easier for others.
Let’s shift our focus away from the unsettling and anxiety-laden scenarios taking place right now, to sending good thoughts to friends, family, coworkers, or even just ‘out there’ in general. I’m not kidding when I say it is felt and appreciated.
My grandfather participated in WWII for five years. As the Canadians fought alongside Britain, my grandfather left for Europe at the very beginning of the war, and didn’t return until the end. When I think about my grandmother who, for all that time didn’t know from one minute to the next if my grandfather was alive or dead, I am in awe of her tenacity. She was raising two small children; my dad (who was born shortly after my grandfather left for overseas), and my aunt who was a toddler.
Grandma had to use ration stamps, trading them with neighbors for goods they didn’t need and vice-versa. When I think about the immense pressure she must have faced, it certainly puts things into perspective in terms of what we are going through right now.
I want you to know that you can reach out to me anytime. Whether it be in the comments below, or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are feeling scared or anxious and just need a friendly reminder that it’s going to be okay, please contact me.
We’ll be back to the everyday soon enough. Until such time, don’t forget to use the power of your thoughts and feelings to focus on anything that makes you (and others) happy.