We all feel the reality of this coronavirus pandemic, it’s simply not easy to look it straight in the face and say “No this is not happening.” But we need to accept that this pandemic, the new normal, and its social isolation, will remain for a while. But as always throughout history when events turn our world upside down, we survive. The great thing that we forget is that love has not been closed, canceled or postponed. Everything else has, but that is ours. If you are separated from loved ones, a romantic partner, or your friends, love will not vanish. Celebrate that person’s health and when this over what a reunion you will have!
And as our world has advanced in areas of health technology and protection, disease surveillance, medical care and strategies, medicines and drugs, vaccines, and pandemic planning, we are safer today than ever in our history. Along with that, we have the ability to build a new and better world. With that in mind let us look closely at what we fear and face it.
The new normal forces change across the world with the literal halt in human interaction, collapse of industries in financial ruin and loss of jobs, simultaneous to a new functional workspace, fear of global devastation, hence regulatory mask-wearing in public, our education system flounders in on-line classes, and shopping feels like the zombie apocalypse.
These are only a few of the changes that have set the pace for the new normal – but we have options, hopes, and our world has never been so prepared to fight this pandemic. If you take a look at the 1918 influenza pandemic (H1N1 virus) that killed about 50 million people you’ll see quite a difference in COVID (19). Today, considerable advancements help ensure our safety.
That said, what choices can we make to benefit us in a world in crisis? We have the capability to put our minds together and create a new normal that opens doors. First on our minds might be to support science as much as possible, and to new avenues for income, new ways of coping, and perhaps at the end of the crisis, we will not only have adapted to the new normal but will have developed a better world.
Read further if you’re interested in the concept to take our worry and turn it into positive action.
EXAMINING RECENT EVENTS
Looking at recent events in the coronavirus update. It hurts. It’s scary. We’ve been threatened, attacked and we’ve lost lives!
While shopping yesterday I felt as if I was possessed with anti social personality disorder. I moved past the line on the floor towards the checkout and someone snapped at me yelling to stand back, but they immediately apologized. I had never been to that store and I was too busy noticing the fear to see the stickers on the floor. Truly I didn’t know what I had done, therefore, I paused looking around curiously. I quickly said I was sorry and smiled. But of course, who could see my smile behind the mask and I wondered, could they see it in my eyes? A nod, a thought?
Credit karma! Are we a nation that can withstand social distancing? Do we know each other well enough to trust that person behind the mask? Not taking offense is difficult when fear is involved.
Think about what we’ve done as a nation or a person. Are the sum of our actions that of value to others? I am not in any way a religious person, but I do believe, what goes around comes around, and it’s very important to put aside our fears and trust a little. I turned to the person as I passed them and said, “I’m smiling at you behind the mask.” We both cracked up and it made the day better.
The social distancing has uprooted our habits – and it’s our daily habits that confirm our well-being. It’s always been that way. The actions of routine reward us with, paychecks, family involvement, personal growth, touch is a big reward, and when that routine stops, we naturally feel desperate to get it back.
Have you ever taken a day off work and thought, what the hell, why do I feel guilty not being at work? We can become so accustomed to work habits that we feel guilty when we are idle. Continuity is our north star, and the cumulative effect on our emotional and mental health is pounding on us daily and it is unnerving.
Hell, we miss freedom. And no one needs to mention how horrible it is to miss our families and friends, see our kids shut out of schools. Anxiety and depression follow if for no other reason than a total change in our routine.
The new normal is simply a different routine. It is not one that will last forever, but it is, for now, our normal. The new routines are shit, but each family, each home, can adapt the new routines around a little fun and perhaps one of the 7.8 billion people around the world will create new ways to help us get back on our feet.
Sometimes when we are pushed into a corner is when we discover our strength and ingenuity to get out.
THE THREE MAIN CONCERNS
Uncertainty and anxiety are coming from all angles, but some of the most talked-about topics are, first, fear of the coronavirus reaching global devastation, second, the financial upheaval, and third, the pain of social distancing. What will happen next? Anxiety causes panic and is largely fueled by a feeling of powerlessness. Fear, stress, anxiety, and the overwhelming uncertainty cues us to shut down or overthink what is happening.
The range of information leads us to feel deceived. The Wall Street Journal wrote an article on the R0 number, that’s how many healthy people one sick person will infect. And when you read the details, the speculation is so broad that you feel even more helpless to understand. We could go on and on about what we are not told, what might happen, and there really is only one thing that we can do at the moment.
First, concerning the virus, as we spoke about above, our healthcare industry is more advanced than ever. And at the present is handling the situation. We are simply scared, so panic rises, but in all fairness, at this point in the pandemic, we are figuring things out.
That is not to say, that some of us need more help than others. Or that our health care industry is not worn thin. I can’t imagine what they are going through personally.
But what does the world expect? That we can order a coronavirus cure as easily as a hamburger in the drive-through? Even those less educated in the science of infectious diseases are well aware the world will not produce answers without great patience.
There is so much talk about no one knowing anything, yet some know everything. The speculations don’t add up. The figures are bullshit to some and not to others. It is true, we the people, do not understand what is going on. That’s why it’s scary.
But, what do we do? If you believe that 20-80% of our population will suffer fatal blows, then social distancing is one of the best measures we have and why are you not using your minds to plan for solutions to reduce it? Or if you are not capable of finding solutions, does fighting and protesting help? It certainly is not positive towards the scientists who are busy seeking a cure.
Maybe we shouldn’t give a shit about what we can’t prove right now and focus on how we will get through this. What really matters this week? Our healthcare industry is handling the pandemic at this point. That is what matters, and no one can prove differently, so until they do, shut off the fear. Shut off the negative. Looking for answers is smart, for what will happen if 80% of our population suffers? A lot, but we will be no closer to solutions when we panic.
Second, finances, this is devastating. But the government has stepped in with some relief, IRS payments (Impact payments) went out, unemployment has been offered to those who didn’t even apply, food banks are in high gear. Organizations around the world stepping up, large companies and financial institutions are deferring payments on cars, mortgages, personal belongings, and so on. It is not well, it is not perfect, but we have not been abandoned.
If you are doing well, share and donate to your local food bank. Learn how to start a charity.
Feeding America is a reputable charity foundation with nice programs, follow this link, and enter your zip code to find your local food bank. Give, my friends, even small amounts. Support online businesses. We are in this together and we will be okay if we help each other. When you give, it has this dual effect, you help another, and you feel a safety within yourself.
When I saw how the people of India were shut out of their homes, left on the street, there was no comparison to my family and I, who have a roof over our heads. I read further to discover Indian banks are grappling with 9.35 trillion rupees ($123 billion) of soured loans and suddenly my worry to have lost a huge part of my income suddenly felt small. I thought about how a small donation could maybe give a mother and child a place to stay for even a short time.
And third, social distancing. We cannot substitute for the absence of family and friends. Nothing really makes this okay, but we are not without communication. Countries, cultures, and people from around the world are unable to travel for their holidays, rituals, personal normality like birthdays, weddings, coming of age, bar and bat mitzvahs, funerals and so on.
Our lives are detoured from their routines, but for many, togetherness has brought new light to their lives. And we are finding a way to support the new normal through Zoom, Skype, and things like facetime. We will get through it. If we see the positive side, it makes it that much easier.
I’ve never seen so many people out walking with their families. Again, I wonder how we will maintain this rise in the quality of our lives and involvement with family after the crisis ends.
HOW TO FOCUS POSTIVE
So, how do we focus on positive when we amidst the school of human affliction? We can only offer what we have power over. Taking care of our immediate family is right now extremely helpful. Those who are together in quarantine need reassurance, hope, and something to do.
Also, be kind and thoughtful when we are out on the streets. But progress always starts at home.
Think about it, if each home, tried to remain positive, then went a step further by giving something to another in need. Or just took time to think of ways to transform the new normal into a better way of life. What would be the outcome?
My son and I sat and talked about this. We did not solve the world’s problems, but we did laugh at our outrageous ideas, and for us personally, we believe the best thing we can do is remain positive for the posterity of our future.
I don’t know about you, but when I read that according to NASA, Air pollution has dropped by 30% in the Northeast, my first thought was, how do we maintain this improvement when we get our lives back?
HOW SHOULD I VOICE MY OPINION CONCERNING THE QUARANTINE?
Being understanding is the magnanimity of great minds, for understanding and respect is the first focus to finding solutions. How we remain positive matters. And that means understanding all views. How hard it is it to lose your restaurant, your livelihood? You want the quarantine to end. When we see people protesting the reopening of businesses, we can voice our concern, but we should do so with compassion.
Take responsibility, light memorial candles if nothing else. Support others and that support will remove some of your own fear.
HOW TO DEAL WITH ANXIETY
Take a time-out from the media. Limiting how often you watch or read the news is important. Binge-watching coronavirus updates just compound the stress and stepping back gives you time to think about the new normal. Everything will be okay, and you don’t need to stress this much.
Journaling helps. A client, 32 years old, just emailed me on the effects of journaling. He’d never tried it prior, the results were over the top for him as not just a relaxing process, but a method that helped him discover the root of his things he feels.
Eat well-balanced meals. Being a chef, I automatically cook by default when stress is high. My whole life has been comforting others with food. It’s why I’ve posted fun breakfast food ideas lately. So, make the new normal fun, and try a little flour slinging, make some pancakes with the kids, family spouse. If you’re alone, zoom with someone, call someone, and try the recipe together. It’s remarkable the power of connecting for a zoom breakfast cook-off.
Beyond Blue is a Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service. It rated well, has a hotline to call in to, and an online forum.
Maintain a routine. Especially if you’ve lost employment or a loved one.
When a routine is kept it maintains the structure that can keep depression and anxiety at bay. My secret is in a schedule that I keep regardless of my mood. As done today, I didn’t really want to sit at my desk and write this post. I wanted to wrap up in a blanket and distract myself with an Amazon Prime series, the life of John Adams. So, I did both, I followed the routine of writing, and allowed myself a break to do something frivolous, fun, and distracting, watch John Adams.
Keeping a routine is not automatic or easy to maintain. Don’t feel alone if your enthusiasm wanes easily. If you’re interested I have a course on creating habits that will help. And don’t worry, if affording the membership fee of $48 dollars for the year’s subscription for the course is difficult, I’m offering free subscriptions in support of these hard times. Just send me your email address with the subject titled Membership Support and I’ll be happy to set things up. You can reach me at, Efrona@turtlepresspublishing.com
In keeping up a routine make sure you do these two things:
- One fun activity like my show for John Adams, playing a game, baking your favorite cookies, reading, and so on.
- One action goal, something that reminds you how successful you are, such as writing, cleaning out a closet, taking a course to learn something new.
Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
Get enough sleep. If you want some fun, read my Three Secrets to Waking up Like New eGuide it’s FREE.
Practice yoga, meditate, create a music list to listen to, get, or give a massage.
Exercise daily– who doesn’t love to feel their body move? If you’re saying. “I don’t.” Then the next time you go out for a walk, pay attention, feel the parts of your body that are used while walking. I don’t want to scare you but walking is considered a full body work out and it’s a great way to just feel mentally good. You’re using your quadriceps, hamstrings, buttock and stomach muscles, the secondary would be, pelvis, tibialis (front of the calf), and arms and shoulder muscles. That just like as good as eating cookies!
Get creative: avow an idea of art! Adult coloring books and art therapy, paint, draw, sketch, scrapbooking, doodle, it’s all creative. I’ll be honest, I’ve never done scrapbooking – but everyone swears by its creative nudge. Art does several very cool things, it stirs up sometimes dormant thoughts and talents, it relaxes the mind and body, and with all things in our life, we humans love success, to finish a coloring project is an accomplishment, anyone who colors understands. It’s a feeling of good, “you did it” type of euphoria.
Again I will sponsor those who need it. My website membership for the habit’s course also includes art therapy. The brown-toned tree above is a page form the book. If you’d like access and can’t afford it, just email me and I’ll set things up with no fee.
BREATHING EXERCISES WORK
Breathing exercises. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t needed at one time or another to take a deep breath after experiencing something shocking or receiving alarming news. I was at the supermarket once and a car blew up in the parking lot, and I found myself taking deep breaths. Deep breathes decrease your heart rate, blood pressure, and anxiety levels.
Anxiety during coronavirus can sneak up on you, the pressures build and some might not notice until one day they feel their heart racing. I have clients who tell me that getting out of bed feels different.
It’s easy, sit quietly, close your eyes, and breathe as deeply as possible – slowly in and out. As well, you can count to four breathing in, hold breath into a count of four, and then breathe out to a count of four, and hold empty to a count of four.
BREATHING EXERCISE 4-7-8
Another great breathing exercise that helps put you to sleep at night:
The “4-7-8” method is a simple but powerful breathing method that promotes calmness and relaxation. It might also help you unwind before bed.
It consists of a breathing pattern that relaxes the nervous system. It can be practiced anytime you feel anxious or stressed.
Here are the steps:
- First, place the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth.
- Exhale completely through your mouth and make a whoosh sound.
- Close your mouth and inhale through your nose while mentally counting to four.
- Hold your breath and mentally count to seven.
- Open your mouth and exhale completely, making a whoosh sound and mentally counting to eight.
- Repeat this cycle at least three more times.
This technique can relax you and help you fall asleep quickly.
Do your best with admirable caution to find the time to smile as you try to do your best, it will help you do just that.
I’m truly sorry for all who suffer through this pandemic, and if there is anything I can do, please let me know.
- Thank you!
- Today, Why are people having more vivid dreams during the coronavirus pandemic
- USA TODAY, Doyle Rice, Air pollution has dropped by 30% in the Northeast, NASA says. Are coronavirus stay-at-home orders responsible?
- Beyond Blue’s lead clinical advisor, Dr Grant Blashki, Ways to promote a positive mindset if you’ve lost your job during the coronavirus pandemic
You managed it again! Very informative and helpful.
This really works! I have used it a long time: The “4-7-8” method. You have a wonderful blog!
Efrona Mor says
Hi Lara, thank you for the kind words! Yes, it does work so well, it’s one of the easiest but most effective breathing methods to calm anxiety or relax the mind!
Efrona, I think it was Dr. Weil I read or heard the audio book – this breathing technique will reset the pulmonary system. Boom – fast asleep 🙂
Efrona Mor says
Oh, I like Dr. Weil. Thanks for the reminder. I’ve seen his video. He’s that down to earth idealistic type that I love. I learned the technique in Israel after my son was born in 2008 (if I have my dates right) when I took a course on relaxation. I’d sit in my garden with my young son and look up into the sky or stars with him and this breathing technique became my favorite! You’re so right, it’s a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. Many don’t believe it until they try it! (:
xox to you and your son
Efrona Mor says
Thank you kindly, and the same to you, Lara! xox