I know that the Corona Virus is on everyone’s mind these days and that everyone is feeling and experiencing fear, frustration, and yes, even depression.
Our routines have been uprooted. Everything we are used to doing has changed. The gyms are closed. We can’t meet friends for coffee or a meal in a restaurant. It’s not even advised to invite anyone to your home because we don’t know if they might inadvertently be a carrier. By the way the incubation period is two to fourteen days, with a median of five.
So this situation got me thinking: what can we do to protect our mental health during the Covid-19 crisis?
First and foremost, we need to remember that we care about each other and we want and need to do what’s best for our families and our community, and if you’re in human resources, or are a business leader, our employees. That means, as you know, shelter in place.
Also we want to try and focus on resilience. Resilience is about being able to respond to any challenge. We’ve never had a challenge that has impacted the whole world simultaneously, in most of our lifetimes. I believe the last was the Spanish Flu 100 years ago.
Remember, there are things we can control and things we can’t control. We can’t control the virus, as individuals, but we can control our thoughts, which impact our feelings, our actions, and reactions. This is not to say that I have not had a moment of anxiety or fear or frustration, but when I stop, I realize that fear is not going to be helpful, and that I could heed my own advice and monitor my thoughts. Also, I remember that we are staying home because we want to save lives and slow the spread of the virus.
We don’t want to let this situation freak us out, but we do want to be careful. We want to stay focused and as much as possible remain positive.
Recently my friend, MJ Shaar went on Linkedin and taught us that “Positive emotions are the best defense we have right now against fear, besides handwashing and social distancing.” We can still remain social, just by different means.
And speaking of positivity, did you know that laughter brings us happiness chemicals, like endorphins? So put on a funny video and get to laughing.
So, let’s all focus on the beauty of the situation…instead of worrying about what you are going to do at home all day with your kids. Cherish that time together and take advantage of some of the online resources. Do projects together – make drawings, games, etc. Teach your children how to cook healthy meals.
Also try to focus on the good things,the silver lining of the Corona Virus:
- First it unites us as a people worldwide against this common a deadly virus. We are in this together.
- Second, it brings us closer to our families.
- Third, it shows us that we are more alike than different.
- Fourth, it gives working people the opportunity to eat healthy, home-cooked meals and to save time not commuting.
- Fifth, it forces us to dig deep to find three good things to be grateful for.
- Sixth, we have more time to exercise. How about taking a hike with your family or dancing to some popular music? I’ve been teaching Zoom-based Zumba classes and I realize how much better I feel because I’ve had a good workout.
In terms of working remotely, the key is connection and communication. Look at what will work, rather than what won’t. So don’t practice social distancing, just physical distancing.
Finally and most important, we will discover that we are resilient and that we will come through this pandemic stronger and wiser. We are in this fight together. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. This is a great time to connect with old friends and relatives.
We all can learn to live a life of compassion and care for one another, looking for what makes us alike rather than different. So, let’s take that lesson and carry it forward into the future.
I wish you all health and safety during this crisis and beyond.
Janice Litvin is a workplace wellness speaker and coach offering VIRTUAL as well as LIVE presentations and workshops. She can be reached at Janice@JaniceLitvin.com or on Linkedin or all the other social media, including Youtube.