“I think it’s very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person.”– Oscar Wilde
It’s been awhile since my last blog entry. I’ve been too distracted by all that has been going on in this country and the world with regards to the pandemic. Although pandemics are nothing new, how it’s being handled with the quarantine/lockdowns, social distancing and mandatory face masks is something different. Also, the 24/7 cable news coverage with running totals of new cases and deaths is giving a lot of people unnecessary anxiety and stress – and remember, too much stress can be as deadly as any virus.
Through all this I’ve managed to keep my spirits up and remain positive. During the last few months I’ve come up with a few thoughts on what’s going on. Here are my thoughts about the COVID-19 crisis and the valuable lessons it is showing us all.
LIFE IS SHORT
One thing that has been made perfectly clear from the coronavirus is that it’s affected nearly every country, and nearly everyone to some degree or another. We’ve seen a lot of people get terribly ill and pass away, of different nationalities and races, rich and poor, etc. Many of us didn’t know if we were going to come down with the virus at any moment and maybe some of you know someone who has succumbed to the disease. Everyone knows life is short, but the COVID-19 has made that even more clear than ever, and all the more reason to appreciate life and everyday you’re still breathing.
JOBS ARE TEMPORARY
In addition to the loss of life, the coronavirus has been devastating to the economy in many countries, particularly here in the United States. I can think of a number of people who thought their job or business was secure but now face an uncertain financial future due to losing their source of income. The virus has shown many people, even those of us still employed that they are not as financially secure as they thought. And still having your job, even if you hate it, is still something to appreciate.
BE SKEPTICAL OF AUTHORITY
Since the pandemic has started, one thing that has been frustrating for me and many others is all the information and misinformation that is out there. It is especially frustrating when the misinformation is coming from the media and government bureaucrats. For example, in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic many authorities were saying the virus is no big deal and that people have nothing to worry about when leaving home. Another one was with the wearing of face masks; the US Center for Disease Control (CDC), the US Surgeon General and the World Health Organization (WHO) and some others were saying face masks are not necessary and/or don’t work, then a month or so later we were told to wear masks because they do work and are vital to stop the spread. What are we supposed to believe?!
So the pandemic has made many people question so-called experts and their government even more. They are human just like us, they have their own agenda and they are just as capable of making mistakes as any of the rest of us. Take their advice with a grain of salt and do your own research.
PEOPLE WILL ACT IRRATIONALLY IN A CRISIS
The first example of this is when the shutdowns first started back in March. People were so panicked about the threat of this virus because early on the public didn’t know how infectious the disease is or it’s death rate. People were scared when they announced the shutting down of schools, businesses, etc. and life came to a stand still. It was something completely new. As a result many people panicked and bought up huge quantities of food and, most notably, toilet paper. I specifically remember seeing pictures and video on social media and elsewhere of people with their shopping cart full of toilet paper and bottled water. It got so bad that most of the rest of us couldn’t find it anywhere. It became something of a hallmark of the pandemic.
Another example of irrational behavior that the pandemic has made clear is the emergence of “Karens.” Karens are, usually an irritating, irrational, busy-body type woman, who verbally assaults and, reports to the manager, anybody who did nothing to them except some offense, such as the “sin” of not wearing a face mask or failing to socially distance. If you’re curious you can find many videos and memes about the phenomenon.
HEALTH IS WEALTH
COVID-19 is obviously a health crisis. We’ve seen many people get sick and many have unfortunately lost their life. Those of us who have remained well or had the virus and are now recovered are all the more grateful for the blessings of being healthy. I can think of a number of wealthy individuals here in the United States that came down with the virus, got terribly ill and some have even died and all their money and power didn’t do much to protect them. The virus doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care what nationality or race you are or if you are rich or poor. It just wants a healthy human being to infect. So you may not have a lot of money but if you’re healthy, but you should remember that are rich because real wealth is health.
ALWAYS SAVE MONEY
I’ve heard and read countless times over the years that everyone should have at least 3 months take home pay saved up and set aside for emergencies. Given how many people I learned have applied for unemployment and/or are begging for a handout since this coronavirus crisis has started, it’s clear to see that many have little-to-no savings for emergencies. But another thing that is interesting to me is watching the businesses that apparently have little set aside for emergencies too. I was surprised to see so many businesses that didn’t have enough money to make payroll after a week or two of shutting down let alone pay for other business expenses.
The bottom line, if you are an individual or business, you should have a comfortable cushion of money set aside for emergencies because there are plenty of other crises that can wipe anyone out if we’re not prepared. Having emergency savings still is good advice.
SOCIAL GATHERINGS ARE IMPORTANT
Since the COVID-19 shutdown here in America, society has been put on hold. Practically no one can go to church, wedding plans were canceled, birthday parties were canceled, no one can eat in at restaurants, we can’t go to movie theaters, sporting events are a no go, and the list of things we can’t do because of concern of catching or spreading coronavirus due to being in large group goes on and on. Until the pandemic started, I really didn’t realize how much of society depends on people being together. Many people have been forced to stay home and many feel bored and isolated. Many people crave for the day they can get out there and do things and see people. The freedom we once had of being able to attend some event with other people, to have that human contact, is a freedom that is sorely missed and will be welcomed when it returns.
WE NEED GOD TO SURVIVE
In dark and uncertain times we all need a constant and core belief and what-not to help keep us going and sane. Many people I have talked to about how they are coping with this corona crisis have told me that it is their faith in God that has helped them through. Many people throughout history who have survived some of the most horrendous situations have relied on their faith in God to survive. I know that God sees all and knows all. The covid virus and other drastic situations are temporary but God is eternal. If covid has taught us anything, it has taught that, at least for some of us, that we need God to survive.
SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT HOW TO STAY MENTALLY POSITIVE DURING THE CORONAVIRUS SHUTDOWN
1) Tune out the news
I am not saying stick your head in the sand and be oblivious to what’s going on in the world, but then I’ve noticed a certain peace from tuning out the news for a while. When you turn on the news it’s all gloom and doom and I can think of a number of people who I know personally who are frequent news watchers and in my opinion it’s no coincidence they are the most depressed. Just like I have advised to stay away from negative people where and when you can, you might also consider staying away from negative news from time to time for the sake of your mental health.
2) Tend your own garden
During these uncertain times it’s important that you focus and that you focus on you and yours. This means making sure you stay healthy and safe during this pandemic, because if you get sick you’re no good for helping others. It means doing everything you can for your family and those you care about. It means taking advantage of this time you’re spending at home to take on tasks and projects you have been meaning to do such as fixing that thing in your home you’ve been meaning to fix or take care of. Lastly it means utilizing your down time indoors to read, study and learn some new skills. Tending your own garden by doing these things I mentioned will help keep your mind off of the depressing things going on in the world and ultimately help you to feel better by knowing your own situation is taken care of.
Yes, things are bad right now with this global pandemic. Your personal situation may not be faring too well because maybe you lost your job because of the shut down or maybe you were unfortunate enough to get sick from the coronavirus, etc. but if you really look there is something for you to be grateful for. As I wrote about in past blog posts, being grateful will make the universe more likely to give you more to be thankful for and having more to be thankful for will definitely help you to have a more positive mental attitude.
No doubt when it is all said and done, when the vaccine comes, the lockdowns are over, etc. there will be more lessons about this corona crisis that will come to light. The important thing for most people right now is to stay safe and healthy, but more importantly, stay mentally and emotionally positive.
What are your thoughts about what you have learned since this pandemic started? Let me know in the comments?