There’s a joke that, “If you can keep your sanity when all around you are losing theirs then…you clearly don’t understand the situation!” The truth in this humor is a certain amount of insanity is normal when we experience insane circumstances.
We can forget that the pandemic is a time limited crisis. We’ll come out of this slowly sometime in May or latest June. All the smartest experts in the world agree on this. The virus will recede over the summer and may come back in fall and we will have so many better tools. There is intense global work going on with therapeutics (Aids, malaria, and antibody medications) that will come together to help prevent the lethality of the virus. Plus every lab in the world is rushing toward a vaccine and will make a ton of money if they are first to market. See this online resource for real time data
KEEP PERSPECTIVE OR LOSE YOUR SANITY
Human beings tend to lose perspective during a crisis. We can decide our life has now shrunk to never leaving our house, being unemployed, or overemployed with too much to do. The schools will never reopen, our daycare will remain closed, and we will never again see our friends or co-workers in person.
At the same time there are always prophets of doom. They predict the end of the world. We are not at the end of the world although the world we will rejoin will be different in both worse and better ways.
Money not ideals has motivated every positive transformation in recent history (collapse of Communism, the Berlin Wall). There are powerful positive possibilities that may emerge out of this crisis. Vast income inequality is becoming unsustainable as the 1% are wrestling with the reality that if working class and middle class collapse so does their wealth. Lack of universal health care is more obviously a problem. The crisis is forcing us to find more effective and flexible ways of living and working that will change our workplaces.
As a parent I’ve always noticed there is a poor interface between classroom work and home work. Most parents have bemoaned the clumsy tech interface between public schools and families. If we already had an effective and transparent tech system showing online what students are doing in the class, switching to a fully online system would have been easy. Perhaps public schools will take advantage of this crisis to make it easier for parents to know and support classroom work.
SOLUTIONS AND TOOLS
- Realize this is a short-term crisis. We have survived and will survive other extreme adversities and this is no different. We need our sanity to be flexible, innovative, and solution oriented during a time where we cannot look at history for solutions. Don’t make the mistake of looking at today and anticipating this day is your new normal forever.
- An analogy I’ve been using with clients is to imagine we were playing football. We had a ball, a field, coaches, rules, and spectators then in a blink we found ourselves in a desert with a mandate to make a new game. Some may sit and wait for directions that aren’t coming, some may sit in the sand giving up or mad, and some may say, “Cool no rules, no game, what an opportunity to try a bunch of things I’ve never tried before!”
- Talk to others about anything you are scared about. A worry shared truly is a worry halved. Allowing others to share your burdens will lighten your fears. Remember the function of anxiety is not to paralyze you but inspire you to take effective action. Use the energy of your fears to come up with new solutions for the new problems you have. If you need help with this, go after help!
- Cover the simple bases; get enough sleep, eat regularly, drink water, watch funny movies, avoid overdrinking, get some fresh air, and connect with others virtually and at home.
Keep the big picture and the long view in mind. Someday 2020 and Covid 19 will be a story you tell others. Someday you will look back at what you learned and how you coped. Someday this pandemic will be in your rearview mirror. Until someday comes…
May you be well, may you be at peace, may you come out of this crisis better than you went in!