The impact of COVID-19 on our lives is unprecedented. It is unlike any crisis we have faced before. Trying to contain and prevent the spread of the coronavirus is much like playing a game of Whack-A-Mole. But to make matters worse, we don’t know if we even have the right club necessary to win the fight.
Even though we are fighting a global pandemic, the most consequential impact is on our family, friends, and our local community. The best way to respond is to think and act locally. That’s where you can have the most significant impact. That’s where you will find your future opportunities.
To say it’s a different time in the world is an understatement. The pace and unpredictability of the challenges we face are changing by the hour. What was reasonable and practical yesterday is no longer relevant today. And in all likelihood, it will be different again tomorrow. These challenges are not only of a new order of magnitude; they are altogether different.
People are fearful. It is easy to worry about your future. It’s easy to worry about losing your job and your ability to take care of your family. Their fear is paralyzing; you can fall into a more bottomless morass. Blaming others for your situation may provide some temporary relief, but it doesn’t make your problems go away. Pretty soon, cynicism and hopelessness sets in, and you begin to lose hope, drive and resigned that your situation is what it is. There is nothing you can do. The process of victimization becomes complete.
Before you become a victim, start preparing to become a victor and triumph over your challenges. Here are some suggestions that might help.
Try Your Best to Stay Connected
Put down social media and start making personal connections with your friends and family. Keep social distancing rules in mind. Just because someone is a family member, you don’t know where they have been or who they have been in contact with. It’s okay to use a mask for their protection and yours. Call them on the phone or a video call. Don’t text or instant message. Talk to them. Communicate.
Open Up About Your Feelings
Everyone is worried. If your friends say they are not, that’s just their defense mechanism at work. Sharing your feelings may help them feel more comfortable about opening up. That’s healthy for both of you. If you need to, don’t be afraid to get professional help. Don’t let your feelings get out of control and lead to more severe problems.
Be Willing to Listen to Others
You’re not the only one who needs a friendly ear. When you listen, you make the other person feel important. You may even hear something useful that can help you feel better.
Watch What You Eat
When people become stressed, they often reach for comfort food. It is a scientific fact. But today’s comfort food is tomorrow’s diet guilt. You’re already wrestling with undesirable feelings. Please don’t add to the emotional load by eating poorly today only to regret it later.
Don’t Rely on Social Media for Factual Information
One of the adverse effects of using social media is what psychologists call confirmation bias. Users of social media curate a list of friends that share similar views and opinions. When your friends who think like you, share their views on their social media feeds, it tends to reinforce your own beliefs. This feedback loop, or echo chamber, is mentally unhealthy if these opinions stray too far from the facts and motivate you to take unhelpful actions. Please don’t get involved in sharing unverified information on your feed. You may be harming the next person who needs the facts as much as you do.
Seek out reputable, unbiased sources for news and information. Make an effort to fact-check what you see and hear before you accept it as fact. There are other forces besides political factions who are trying to influence what you see and hear.
Invest In Yourself
If you find you have time on your hands because you’ve been laid off or furloughed, use your time for self-improvement, not self-pity. Pick up a book! Take an online course. Watch a webinar or listen to a podcast. Anything is better than wallowing around in negativity. Self-improvement is a sure way to improve your value in the workplace, especially if technological advances impact your present line of work.
Go for a walk. Ride your bike. Work in your yard. Get some fresh air.
Turn Off the TV and Go To Bed
Good quality sleep is beneficial for both your physical and mental health. Make it a point to turn off your screens and make an effort to go to sleep and get up on a regular schedule.
Remember, you are not alone. There are people who care about you and are willing to help.
Best wishes always.
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