“Never mistake knowledge for wisdom. One helps you make a living; the other helps you make a life.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
If you are anything like me you are regularly tuning in to the news in order to be sure that you have the most current COVID-19 information from local, state and federal sources. The trouble is that instead of only hearing what is important there is far too much of it to process. Trying to absorb it all often leads to fear, confusion, stress, sadness, anger and a sense of complete overwhelm.
To make matters worse, we are hearing contradictory messages from officials at the highest levels of government and our elected officials seem to be playing politics instead of getting needed financial resources to displaced American workers, families, small businesses and companies that have been forced to stop wherever it is they do to keep money flowing in our economy.
There are countless changes having been thrust upon, asked of and now required of each of us. These come in the form of cancelled meetings and trips, planned events such as birthday parties, anniversaries, weddings, etc. The list is endless and keeps growing. Each of these disappointments contribute to our sense of loss. Just when we come to terms with one such situation, we are hit with yet another. Before we even have a chance to work through our grief and loss from one casualty, another pops up. It’s no wonder some people are overwhelmed by feelings of uncertainty and hopelessness.
NOT SO FAST
One thing that my wife Amanda and I have done very regularly is to get outside and take long walks. Despite keeping our 6 to 10 foot distance away from others we find that we can still greet people who are out getting some fresh air as well. It has helped clear our heads and open us up to shifting our thinking and our mindset.
In the midst of all of the doom and gloom there are indeed some bright spots. There are many individuals at the front lines of this battle tirelessly working incredible numbers of hours under extremely stressful conditions.
There are companies re-tooling to make hand sanitizer, face masks and ventilators. There are restaurants donating food to medical professionals and others. There are many more examples that each of us have seen and heard about and that list keeps growing also.
When I hear these stories emerge it gives me faith in humankind and reminds me that in every crisis there is also opportunity. People are stepping up in huge ways to make a difference.
“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” ~ John F. Kennedy
One thing I have found to be true is that when I am thinking about what I am thankful for, I also feel happy. And I’m pretty sure that feeling happy and hopeless are not compatible. It is impossible for these two feelings to occupy the same space at the same time.
Looking for the helpers and finding ways to thank them is a very good use of our time while we are being asked to stay at home and practice social distancing. It helps to lift our spirits, lighten our hearts, which it turns out can actually help to boost our own immune response.
One idea to make looking for the helpers a habit is to make a numbered list on a piece of paper adding to it daily. In the second column you can add ideas about ways you might thank them.
To be sure, one way or another, this will pass. And when it does, we will move forward. We always have and we always do. The human spirit is just that way. We don’t know exactly how or even when we will be looking back upon this crisis, but eventually we will. We will get through this and we will be better and stronger for having endured it.
Another thing for sure is that worrying, losing sleep, over thinking the “what if’s” and the like won’t change anything except to aid and abet worry and fear and add to our feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. Do your best to remember to breathe and remind yourself, “This too shall pass.”
There is definitely a time and a place for everything but, sometimes laughter is the best medicine. Make time for joy and fun!