So far, 2020 has been quite an eventful year to say the least. Just to recap a handful of events, we nearly got into a war with Iran, we had a presidential impeachment trial, locusts swarm Ethiopia and India, Kobe Bryant dies in a helicopter crash, Boy Scouts of America file for bankruptcy and the US and the Taliban agree to a peace deal. And that was just January and February!
Even without the outbreak of SARS-CoV2, the events of 2020 probably impacted you in some way or other. For us at Ricks Roasters, we had two cafe negotiations fall through, but we got accepted to put our coffee on Harris Teeter's shelves! Needless to say, 2020 has already had its ups and downs.
"Want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans!"
Enter COVID19... we're all feeling it. By March 12th, my family and I started our "social distancing". School got cancelled, the federal government started teleworking protocols, and everything just got up-ended seemingly overnight. The Canadians even cancelled hockey!
I saw a meme this morning that said, "I feel like I'm in the 90s. Gas is cheap, and I'm grounded."
Even if you are one of the three people completely unaffected buy January and February, chances are really good that March found you and said, "hold my beer."
It is scary.
Nothing is normal.
Or maybe that is the narrative that we're getting sucked into.
So now that our lives have been completely disrupted, we're up against a relentless and invisible enemy, and we don't know when things will return to normal, how do we deal with our present circumstances?
As someone who has dealt with a number of mental health issues, let me share with you three things that I've learned lately that can get you through this too.
1. Accept the situation for what it is.
Change is hard. There are two aspects to dealing with uncertainty: acknowledging the events, and determining your reactions to them.
The Serenity Prayer perfectly summarizes this mindset.
You aren't going to change the fact that we are dealing with a pandemic.
You aren't going to change the social distancing mandates that most states and counties have implemented.
You aren't going to change whether or not other people will take COVID19 seriously, or adhere to social distancing measures.
So what can you do? Stop worrying about it!
Your worry will not change a thing, and it is a waste of the energy that you can use to make the best of a tough situation.
2. Get into a routine.
One reason why a lot of veterans and their families are able to cope with the craziness is because we have a great deal of practice at figuring out how to adapt to constant disruptions. Training, deployments, and moving to a new country all require a method for making sense of a "new normal".
Humans are creatures of habit, and the majority of us find a great deal of comfort in having a good rhythm to our lives.
Let's face it. The reason why so many of us are having difficulty with the present circumstances is not necessarily based on the fear of a virus. It is the utter annihilation of anything that we considered normal and routine about our lives.
So, your old routine is toast. Get into a new one.
The sooner you do, the more predictable your day will be. Organizing your day (i.e. changing the things that you can change), will give you control over the most important thing in your life: yourself.
"Lead Yourself First", written by a friend of mine, Mike Erwin, is an excellent book to teach you the importance of routine and stillness.
Hopefully, you've found yourself with more time in your day. Use it wisely!
3. Enjoy the little things
Lastly, you may be fortunate enough to have more time at home with your family and your pets. I realize not everyone does, so consider yourself blessed if you do.
We celebrated Liza's birthday a few days ago, and I decided to have some fun with it. We'll remember this birthday for years to come, and not because it was marked by gifts, a party or an expensive dinner. We'll remember it for the laughs and the simplicity of it. Our family bonded a little over a goofy cake that would have never have happened without people panic-buying toilet paper over a virus.
Spend more time with your kids, and your dogs. Your kids are only young once, and in the grand scheme of our lives, we only get to have our furkids around for a short time.
Take a moment to appreciate the things in front of you that you may have taken for granted. Not everyone has that opportunity.