There are essentially two types of people today during the coronavirus situation: those who are busy and and may be overwhelmed and others who are out of work, stuck at home, and don’t have much to do.
Health care professionals, grocery store workers, bus drivers, police officers, and other essential workers on the front lines comprise the first group. They are the people putting in long hours in dangerous and stressful environments. The emotional and physical toll on these individuals can be overwhelming.
The other group is working remotely or out of work and are home. Many are bored, lonely, doubting their self-worth, and afraid of the future. They may be filling endless hours with mindless or unproductive activities, like constantly checking news sites and social media, and lapsing into depression or substance abuse. Many of those forced to stay at home, are angry that they have to seemingly ruin their lives to save others.
These are difficult times for everyone, no matter what their circumstances, no matter what they do.
To deal with these emotional issues, members of both the busy group and the isolated group can take concrete steps. One important approach is to become more adaptable. Many people today are in survival mode and the people who will survive and thrive are the people who immediately adapt. Giving up or giving in to “learned helplessness” is not going to help.
If you have lost your job or your savings, now is the time to create a new budget, or learn a new skill, revise your resume, and network with old bosses and coworkers.
One way of dealing with the emotional toll of the coronavirus is to focus on finding meaning and purpose in your life. Fill your time with things that are meaningful to you, reflect on relationships, make time for physical exercise, and engage in healthy forms of self-care. More insights on coping with life in general:
- Do not base your happiness on other people, in general, caring about you and your life. For people who actually do care and value you, you know who they are. Marry them, befriend them, work with them, and spend time with them. No matter how much power you think you have, you will never be able to make someone care - so gather close the caring.
- Step outside of your own situation, and consider providing service to others who toil under burdens larger than yours who need a voice, encouragement and support.
- Sometimes chaos consumes the most meticulous of plans, and if you live life with no margins in a financial, emotional, or any other sense, you will be subject to its whims. Take risks but have a Plan B in order to maintain a balance.
- It’s hard to deny that we are built for community, and that ‘we’ is always more than ‘me.’ However, you don’t need another person to make your life have meaning. Live your own life—then, if there’s a particular person that you can’t help but integrate, you will know.
- Always give more than is required of you.
By addressing our emotional stress, learning to adapt and change, and focusing on the people and things that truly matter to us, we can make it through these unusual times.