What a difference weeks, days and even hours have made in the lives of everyone around the world since the first report of the coronavirus. No one could have predicted the unprecedented changes that have occurred. Life as we know it, has come to an abrupt halt. With extreme change and unknowns comes extreme fear and we forget that with each new challenge there are opportunities.
How do we cope? Can there possibly be an upside to this experience?
I started poling many remarkable people asking that very question. The following are some thoughts, ideas and experiences that may be helpful to you. This is not a complete list so please feel free to add to it and share with others.
- Limit time talking about concerns as well as watching the news for no more than a ½ hour. We need to be informed and share ideas but it’s easy to get consumed by it.
- Although is normal to experience waves of a wide range of emotions, we don’t want to get stuck in them. To get out of the grip of fear, I try to focus on the FACTS and ask myself “what do I have control of in this moment?
- Find ways to break the isolation:
- Have” window” visits: holding signs, singing songs. It’s nice to see loved ones even if we can’t be in the same room. The residents of Italy sing and play music through open windows, creating a concert in the streets below.
- Schedule a face time or Skype dinner with someone. Soon you will forget you are not in the same room.
- Create a group chat, emailing or texting a number of people at the same time. Share trivia, jokes, inspirational quotes, memories with a picture, funny You Tube videos, to name a few. It’s a great way to make someone smile and a subtle way to check in daily.
- Find ways to help others and make sure you let others know what you need; someone to talk to, pick up groceries etc. We do NOT have to go through this alone.
- Validate feelings. They are real and can be very intense in the face of so many unknowns.
- If you feel too overwhelmed or unsafe because of intense emotions call a friend, local crisis line or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for 24/7 support @ 1-800-273-8255.
- Many of us came from overly structured lives where EVERYTHING was scheduled. Although we would dream about down time, this extreme, abrupt change feels overwhelming. Routine helps decrease stress and help create a new normal.
- Sleep, shower, eat, exercise, do projects at specific times each day. Make sure you build in time for positive activities including reaching out to others.
- It’s a good time to get back to the basics including spending quality time with family: haul out those board games, puzzles and those old video games. Do crafts, read, cook, bake, sing together and sit on the porch. Watch and listen to uplifting movies and music.
- Brush and play with your pets and take them for longer walks
- Take time to nap, meditate, journal and pray. You can create you own ways to worship alone or in a small group. Many religious services are recorded and can be watched over the computer.
- Draw, write poetry, a song or the book you always dreamed about writing. Many great works of art were created during periods of hardship.
- Be mindful of and grateful all the good that still exist. Create a blessings or gratitude journal.
- Research a new hobby, a future vacation, plan you’re garden or go for a walk looking for signs of spring. Planning can help of focus on hope for the future.
- De Clutter: Clean, organize those draws, closets, rooms that have been on your to do list for years.
- Paint rooms: You will be surprised how much paint you may already have in your basement. Your may even want to mix paint colors to create your very own custom color.
- Redecorate: Moving existing furniture and pictures will change the whole feel of your room. Paint a tree, sports logo or scene on a wall.
- Cook/Bake: Find or create a new recipe using only the ingredients you have in your home. Have a candle light dinner, playing soft music.
Remember that this experience WILL end. Through the course of history, human beings have endured many hardships including; wars, the Great Depression, diseases, famines and natural disasters. We are extremely resilient. Even with “social distancing” we find ways to help others and ourselves emotionally, physical and spiritually. We are inspiring and supporting each through this. One step at a time, we will survive the chaos. We will look back and say: “wow, we did it and are stronger because of it!”
We are THRIVERS! We will learn, grow and use this experience for good. But for now, we need to be gentle with others and ourselves and focus on getting through this challenge one moment at a time.
If you have any other suggestions to help support and inspire others, please email or message us and we will post them. Help us keep this list growing.