Among many impacts, one of the most frequently reported effects of the global Covid-19 pandemic is a feeling of powerlessness / lack of control.
Right now, and for the foreseeable future, you and I don’t have any control over this coronavirus other than to follow mask wearing, physical distancing, hand washing, and other guidance from health officials.
To help manage your wellbeing during these unusual times, below we have offered a series of suggestions (in no particular scientific order). They are not magic solutions, they are not rocket science – they are simply a few ideas we’ve come across that have been helpful to us. We hope they’ll be helpful to you too.
01 Consider the many, many areas in our lives in which we do have control.
We can control what we eat, wear, think, and other than the protocols mentioned above, what we do. We can work, laugh, chat with friends and family and teammates, read, play games, sing, dance, take the dog for a walk, play with the kids, ‘snuggle in the bubble’, listen to podcasts, and watch our favourite shows. So, rather than thinking about restrictions, focus on the incredible freedoms you have.
02 Avoid the tentacles of fear.
Sure; check the city, and/or the provincial or state departments of health websites for reliable information about Covid, but distance yourself from the misinformation and fear mongering plastering social media sites. And if you’re feeling powerless, untethered, scared and/or angry after you’ve read or heard any information, just remember that health officials are doing their best to keep us safe. So please, cut them some slack.
03 Quit being cranky.
Speaking of cutting people slack…. Why not do that with our immediate family, and while we’re out and about? Yes, we’re all trying to avoid one another; yes, it can be annoying when someone gets in our way on the sidewalk or in a store, or when someone drives poorly; but petty annoyances bring us down, so let the small things slip by.
04 Stop isolating unnecessarily.
Can’t congregate with friends? Phone them. Arrange a walk or a bike-ride, or set up fun video calls. E.g.: one colleague dances with a group of friends once a week. Another “Zooms” a weekend brunch with family (or breakfast for those who live in earlier time zones). My neighbour’s small book club discussed the latest tome during physical distancing walks in the park.
05 Shake up the routine.
Making a small change will help you feel like you’re in charge. E.g.: A friend decided to change the order in which he hung his tools in the garage, and found that it took weeks before he could stop rote reaching. When the new habit took hold, he said he felt a sense of accomplishment and that he had more control over things. Who would have thought of that?
06 Organize and learn
Sort your inbox, files, the basement, the storage unit, or your clothes. Start a new hobby or take an old one up again. If you have a strategic mind, try chess. A facility for languages? There are roughly 7,117 languages in the world, so take your pick. Or learn about another culture, the lyrics to an old song, or how to draw or paint.
A brief caveat: We know many of you are not only working from home, but are also trying to monitor your child’s online learning. Carving out time for yourself seems next to impossible, and yet it’s crucial. It doesn’t have to be in great swaths. Even small amounts of ‘me time’ will keep you balanced, and curtail that harried put-upon sense too many parents experience.
07 Make plans
You and I need to get ready for the future… because we believe this pandemic will become manageable in much the same way influenza now is. A vaccine or suite of vaccines will be found, and our lives will become freer. In other words, this is a great time to take stock of who and where you are, and who and where you want to be when we’re freer.
Last? A smile is miraculous. Try it and watch your sense of wellbeing lift.