Coping

We are definitely living in a time of “high anxiety” and “uncertainty” both in economics and health.

Never before, in my lifetime, and I’m just shy of 60, have I ever had to think twice before heading out the door to do even the simplest of chores. We go through a checklist when we head out….do we have fresh masks? Is the sanitizer nearby? When is the lowest shopper traffic time to be in a grocery store? Should we order groceries for delivery and skip the store all together? Is that cough something more than just a cough? Don’t touch that door handle or elevator button with your bare hand…..etc. Put all of these questions together and consider them all before leaving your home for a simple chore and this chore is no longer “simple”!!!

I truly believe that the stress of this pandemic and the political unrest around the world is causing the “mental health” of the masses to take a dip. I think we are all negatively impacted by this crisis….in health, wellness, nutrition, physical fitness, social interactions, happiness, safety and security, economics and more. As I’ve heard someone else say it is “anxiety stew”. What a perfect label to put on society and how we are coping….or not coping, in many cases.

The consequences are very high if we let down our guard. We must continue to be vigilant with how we go through each day. I have had conversations with friends about how much we have tired of the whole thing….and how it takes effort to keep up with living as if everybody near you has Covid. I know they don’t but we are suppose to live as if they do, reminding us to wash our hands 20 times a day, keeping 6 feet away from others, staying away from large gatherings, thinking twice before we do anything outside our front door. It’s exhausting but it must be kept up.

This week the hair and nail salon I frequent with bi-weekly visits has closed down because one of the owners, her husband and one of her children have tested positive for COVID-19. They are in isolation away from the rest of their family, all of whom had to be tested for the virus too. That is way too close to home for me. I’m a bit rattled by this, firstly for the health and wellness of the salon owner and her family, and secondly for the health and wellness of everyone who went into the salon in the past two weeks, me included. This is the kind of world we are living in….it’s like being on pins and needles.

I have heard of two people today from our golf community here that are “self-isolating” because of possible exposure to someone who has tested positive. It’s just plain scary. No other way to describe it.

Not only is the worry about catching the virus causing stress, so is the economic financial strain on everyone from the government right on down the line. The job loss, the small businesses boarding up that can no longer stay afloat, the corporations going bust, the professional sports franchises that can’t keep paying exorbitant salaries to rosters who aren’t playing to packed stadiums, the music concerts in all genres that have gone silent. It’s impacting us all.

There would appear to be a lot of pent up anger now being unleashed in destructive fashion in cities around the world. It’s like the world and society as we knew it has imploded.

Despite all of this negative pressure….life goes on. We must do our part to help heal the world.

Start by being kind to yourself. Allow yourself to feel the anxiety, realizing you are not alone. Be kind to others as they are also struggling to cope with the pandemic and the social and economic woes. Emotions are all part of coping and squashing those hard feelings. We need to find a way to manage our feelings. Some possible ways to deal with negative emotions is to journal, meditate, practice yoga, talk to a friend. Have compassion for yourself and others

Let’s try and make the best of the situation. Some things are out of our control so we have to roll with the punches. Some parts of our lives we can control like how we respond to this crisis. Rather than become a couch potato, eating unhealthy, maybe self medicating with alcohol or other destructive habits, get up each day and go for a long walk outside in the fresh air. It’s a form of “walking meditation”…..a great place to think.

Get your facts on what’s happening out there from a good reliable source. Pay attention to your provincial health minister or go to the Health Canada website for updates. Keep up on the statistics. But don’t watch the news all day, every day. Pick one time during the day and watch one news broadcast. That’s all you need. Avoid social media for too long. That could drive anyone to an anxious breakdown.

Think of this forced “slow down” as a bit of a blessing. Think of all of the good things that will likely change due to this pandemic….and change for the better. I think that there will be less waste in our lives going forward. This is a positive thing. I think we will find more peace just being at home in our sanctuary close to our loved ones. Taking care of each other in times of crisis is what we need to be doing.

Lastly…..wash your hands frequently, wear a mask in public spaces, keep your 6 foot distance between others, be kind to one and other, stay calm.

We will get through this…when is not clear yet….but we will get through it.

Hugs to all. Stay safe.

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