As we sit at home watching television, or scrolling through social media for the tenth time today, we should be thinking back to the hundreds of times in the past that we’ve thought, “if only I had the time…” Well, right now you likely do.
Our Primal Brains
The current Coronavirus pandemic can feel overwhelming, and quite honestly, depressing. The human mind has evolved over time to focus on the largest threats surrounding us in order to keep us out of danger. We can be walking down a dimly lit sidewalk and someone comes up behind us, and we immediately jump to the conclusion that they are about to rob us. When in actuality, they’re just heading into the coffee shop too at this early hour of the morning. Jumping to the worst conclusions can feel very natural. Due to this tendency, it’s easy to fall victim to the fear that many media sources can instill into their viewers while reporting. Add in a viral pandemic that has created a temporary “new normal”, and you have the perfect recipe for feelings of hopelessness and loneliness.
At first we may have tried to ignore the reports. Maybe it’s just “fake news”, so we brushed it off and went about our days like normal. Next, we heard that this virus may, in fact, be a real threat, so now was the time to stock up on essential items, such as toilet paper. This brought about a state of panic and a fear of loss. Despite all of this, we may have tried to fight this fear and continue leading our lives as we normally would. Then, a shelter-in-place order may have been put into effect in your community. Wow, this pandemic is so real that our government is recommending we stay away from others, including family and friends. This is scary. So we continue to watch the news during the majority of our day. It’s always on, even in the background when you may have found something else to occupy your time. We know the running total of deaths in New York and the number of ventilators needed in Chicago.
Creating an Improved “Normal” for the Future
As we become consumed by this pandemic it only makes sense that a state of depression may fall upon us, if it hasn’t already. How can we stop this? We have to remember that our current “normal” is not normal and will not be forever. Being thankful for what we have, and what we can do despite these times can overcome this sadness we are experiencing as a whole community. As long as we are each playing our part to maintain social distancing, things will get better. And since we have been ordered to stay at home, we can use this time much more productively.
- Check in with people you love. And when you do, discuss things beyond COVID-19!
Although we cannot see our family and friends in person, applications such as Facetime and Zoom are making it easy to still see each other in real time.
- Recall the times you thought “If I had the time I would…” and DO IT! Perhaps it’s something as simple as sitting down to eat with the family, or cleaning out the junk drawer in your kitchen. Or maybe you’ve been meaning to call your great aunt who you haven’t seen in 10 years, but you haven’t had a block of quiet time in your days to give them the attention they deserve. Remember that hobby you said you would take up if you had more time, but it may just have to be when you retire? Drawing, juggling, gardening. Guess what? The good news is you don’t have to wait until retirement to start those!
As we set and achieve these tasks, some seemingly small, we will undoubtedly become happier and more fulfilled. Now more than ever, achieving that state of being is critical. Make this period a time for turning “If I had the time” into “I have the time.” Once this panic ends you may find yourself happier than before it ever started.
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