“You’re going to look back on this time as a line of demarcation,” I said to my nephew the other day, “as the time when life changed forever. You’ll remember the years before with nostalgia for how it used to be.”
The long-term effects of this pandemic will be huge all the way across the globe. But on the micro level, the level of our own individual lives, we are walking into the unknown. Into a life that will never be as, well, maybe “carefree” isn’t the word. But close enough.
Our concerns going forward will be quite different than BC and for many, survival-oriented. It’s an adventure of sorts, although one that we didn’t choose. And each of us is going to have different and very personal experiences–and worries.
The ground beneath us is shifting and it’s hard to find our balance. The road ahead is unknown. All the things we thought would be true of our lives in the future are up for grabs.
So how do we handle it? When we don’t know what’s coming, the only way to deal with it is one day at a time. One thing at a time. One worry at a time.
Sounds simple, right? It isn’t, because when we consider our futures it can be overwhelming. It can hit us all at once.
Don’t look too far ahead.
There’s no point, really, because we can’t see the way. Instead, maybe these simple steps will help you as they have helped me.
Concern yourself with the day ahead.
What do I need to do today? Is there a small chore? Something diverting like cooking or watching a movie?
Connect with loved ones.
Regular, scheduled calls with our family and good friends each week ground us. We get to air our worries in a safe place. We support one another. It’s crucial to get support (and give it) in these unknown times.
Connect with groups or people that can help you locate financial, emotional or other necessary resources. The experiences friends report on social media can be a start, if government or other resources are overwhelmed, but don’t rely on them for accuracy. Look around at government websites, etc.
Do something nice for yourself at least once day.
Take a nap. (I’ve never been a napper, but once I put an eye mask on and relax, I can be out for an hour or even two!). Read something inspirational. Dance around your house. Give yourself a facial or manicure. Get out in nature. Do yoga. Eat something yummy.
Get some regular exercise.
We start and end each day with a brisk walk in our neighborhood, even if it’s only half hour each. I can’t tell how you much of a difference it makes. I’m addicted to it.
Take all necessary precautions…
…for your age group, vulnerability and just in general. We expect to sanitize everything that comes into the house for a long while and to mask up in public.
Limit time spent on news.
I get a daily news summary and that’s all I need, except for our California Governor’s updates, which are helpful, reassuring and informational. I don’t watch TV news and I don’t obsess over news stories online. It’s not helpful.
Our governor has begun to preview what the new normal might look like and I appreciate that. I’m sure it’s to help us feel that we aren’t walking into a dark room. There’s nothing set in stone, but he’s made it clear it won’t be like turning on a lightbulb but instead, using a dimmer switch.
Because we have a guy in charge who wants us to feel empowered with helpful info, I don’t feel like I’ll be walking into a complete unknown, but for sure life will be different. These are some of the things I’m doing to feel calmer and in more control. I hope they help you.
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