It’s easy to get caught up in uncertainty and fear nowadays. The potential loss of human life, people suffering from illness, the potential effect on people’s livelihood — ours, our neighbors’ and the most vulnerable populations — these are real problems. Big ones.
Yet, humankind is creative and we’re good at solving problems. Maybe Coronavirus can help us, even as it exacts its price. Bear with me. I know it’s a lot to take in. What’s good about a pandemic?
Yet, I do believe that the virus offers us personal opportunities. Here are a few. Perhaps you will come up with other creative responses along the way.
1. Consider This a Wake Up Call for Self-Care: The better health you’re in, the more likely you’ll have a positive outcome, even if you get infected. So, why not use this as a chance to improve your diet, exercise, get on a healthy sleep schedule or even cleanse your system (under a trusted health care provider’s supervision). Maybe you can even be an inspiration to others. (Yes, I’m on Day 7 of a cleanse and excited at the changes I’m experiencing.)
2. Take Up a New Inspiring Practice: Always wanted to learn qigong or yoga? Check out the many quality youtube videos and look for a teacher you resonate with. You may want to go deeper and purchase a virtual course through them. I’ve been working through qigong videos from Leah Franklin, Daisy Lee and Lee Holden.
3. Enjoy Your Family: Yes, it can be isolating to lose your workplace camaraderie. On the flip side, all these college students coming home to study remotely — and possibly many school children in preschool through twelfth grade — means a chance for families to reconnect. Consider ways in which you can enjoy the time together — a walk in your neighborhood, a hike in the woods, family meals, game night, movie night or a family craft. Or, think of ways you can volunteer together to do something for someone in need. Are you home alone? Maybe you can make dinner for a neighboring family (washing hands before and after, of course). We sat around our fireplace two nights ago discussing and debating what activities we would and would not engage in. While our discussion got heated, we worked it out as a family and agreed to practice social distancing, limiting social engagement to outdoors at a distance — such as walking the dog around our friendly neighborhood, and hanging out on the porch as a family when the sun’s out.
4. Work on a Dream Project — Like a Book! Several trainers I know have had corporate clients cancel big training programs. While it can be a financial stress, can you use the sudden opening in your schedule to finally write that book or develop that new training program you haven’t had time to get to? I’ve been editing my book, strengthening any weaker chapters. How about you?
5. Take Time for Strategy: Hold a virtual retreat to envision the next phase of your business or take the time to consider your career aspirations. Do you need to rethink things in preparation for economic changes? Is it time for a new vision? Or to develop a plan to reach your current goals? Consider the possibilities, brainstorm and make a new plan. (But don’t let it keep you from writing your book!)
6. Volunteer: Doctors Without Borders is one among several organizations working globally to contain the spread of the disease. Here is their video message for containing the virus.
7. Finally Start Meditating! Meditation and mindfulness are not easy, particularly in our fast paced world. Perhaps this is the perfect time to learn these skills and practice, either in a small group or an online class. These practices can help calm you and can provide the peace of mind that you certainly won’t get listening to the news. Meditation and qigong have helped me to let go of the aspects of this pandemic that I can’t control and to trust life, however it shows up. It’s also helped me return to a cooler temperature when emotions flare during the family discussions I mentioned in #3!
8. Heed the Call for Planetary Stewardship: We have been using the resources of the planet in unsustainable ways — logging, fracking, polluting waterways. Perhaps this is a good time to put our minds to global problems. Figure out what challenge you want to tackle and start a Facebook Group or a weekly Zoom Conference Call with like minded others. And if you’re a small group, you can even meet locally in person by Meetup or by posting a note at your local library. In this way you both stay connected to others, and actually find a way to feel empowered when certain life factors feel beyond your control.
9. Help a Neighbor: Go food shopping for an elderly neighbor. Drop off food or a good book (provided you’re practicing sanitary behaviors).
10. Enjoy a Good Book: What a great time to indulge in a good novel, that memoir you’ve been meaning to read or a self-help book that helps you live a more fulfilling life. Looking for ideas? Robin Kall, of “Reading with Robin” is interviewing authors and book-ish people all week on Facebook.
11. Get Creative: Think about the problems that are going to be caused by this viral disruptor — from economic slowdown to cancelled entertainment to workplace isolation. Can you come up with creative ways to address them?
I’d love to hear what you’re doing or ideas you come up with. Please share your comments below.