Ding! Another notification from your phone. You click on it excitedly hoping for some shred of good news in these dark times, but you’re only met with more scary and depressing information about the Covid-19 situation. Death tolls are rising, the economy is entering a recession, people fear that they will lose their jobs, their loved ones, and even their own lives. On top of all this, everyone is stuck at home and can’t go out to meet their friends or go shopping to take their mind off of all this. As inherently social creatures, it is difficult not to feel down because of this crisis.
So how can we avoid feeling pessimistic and upset during this period? The first step is to accept that it is perfectly OKAY for you to feel this way! You may be thinking that you have no right to feel scared with the global pandemic raging outside your home when you are fortunate enough to have a roof over your head, guaranteed meals everyday, and multiple digital devices for you to work/study from home. But the truth is that your fears are completely valid! Yes, you may be lucky enough to still live comfortably during this period, but never be ashamed to acknowledge that this situation is making you feel more stressed and anxious. It is only natural human empathy that you are affected by the stories you hear from your friends and the news everyday.
Collective solidarity is another way for us to seek solace during this difficult time. Many people find it comforting to know that others are feeling the same way. It makes us feel less alone during a time when we cannot meet each other physically. Yes, we are scared, but we are scared TOGETHER. Likewise, physical distancing does not mean social distancing. Take advantage of social media and digital platforms to contact your loved ones! You can use Zoom, Skype or even Whatsapp to video chat your friends and extended family. In these times, we can always be optimistic and come out of this situation with a renewed understanding of the importance of our family and friends, and never take them for granted again. If not for this virus I would not have been pushed to teach my grandmother how to use video call so that we can still be together virtually!
Last but not least, take care of your psychological and mental health! If you are feeling stressed, take a break to relax yourself. With less time spent travelling from place to place, we now have more time to spend on leisure! You can do some exercise, start a new hobby, or bake something nice for yourself and your family. Let me leave you with this beautiful poem by retired teacher, Kitty O’Meara, from Wisconsin, that has helped me view this situation more optimistically.
“And the people stayed home” by Kitty O’Meara
And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still.
And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.
If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more about how to think positively in disparaging times, check out this other related article: Managing Stress & Negative Emotions.