Coping with COVID-19

By: Ricky Buoncore

Human beings are programmed to resist change. We are creatures of habit, conditioned to feel anxiety about the unknown. The past few weeks have forced quite a bit of change upon us, and the resulting uncertainty is justifiably upsetting.

COVID-19 presents an unprecedented challenge and has affected each and every one of us in various ways. It has changed our perspective on the world around us and made us acknowledge our collective vulnerability. It has introduced the concept of “social-distancing” to the generation that created social media and has singlehandedly taken down our major sports, concerts, restaurants, gyms and schools… essentially all the places where human beings socialize.

Human beings crave social interaction, but the concept of social isolation let’s us reflect on how we define that. We must explore the balance between using technology to connect us, without letting it completely consume our mental and emotional energy. This is a chance for all of us to hit the reset button and re-evaluate our priorities. We have an opportunity to step back, slow down, disconnect and consider the importance of everything we thought was “necessary” in our daily lives.

So, what now? Nobody can tell you what the future will look like, or when things can return to “normal”. Our initial reaction is typically to focus on all the things we are no longer able to control, instead of turning our attention to the things we ARE able to control.

Do we need help, or are we able to offer it? It’s OK to be struggling. It can feel impossible to escape the constant updates that might trigger your anxiety or feeling overwhelmed. Being stuck at home can fuel frustration as the freedoms we’ve grown accustomed to have been temporarily stripped away. That’s OK. Acknowledge those feelings, chances are lots of people are going through something similar.

If this pandemic has taught all of us one common lesson, it is the value of our health. Typically, we don’t appreciate our health until it’s gone, but this makes all of us realize how important it really is. Terms like self-care have redefined what it means to take care of not just our physical health, but our mental health. One of the best things we can do for our mental well-being is to reach out to those who might need our help. We all have different skills and it will take all of those skills to navigate this global crisis.

Nobody can tell you for sure what happens next. What we can tell you is what we’ve already seen. We’ve seen a community unite and rally together, supporting each other in every way. We’ve seen businesses collaborate with their competitors to serve the greater good. We’ve seen large corporations reach out to small businesses to help them through this financially.

We are so proud of them for reminding us that we are stronger together than we are on our own. There is so much more we have in common than that which divides us. Remember, we are all in this together, and we will do what human beings have done forever... we will learn, we will adapt, and we will come out the other side stronger for it.