Welp, we certainly weren’t ready for any of this. We don’t have enough hospital beds. We don’t have enough ventilators. We don’t have enough protective equipment for our brave medical professionals on the front lines of this global pandemic.
Our healthcare system wasn’t ready. Our government wasn’t ready. And we weren’t ready. Clearly. But, I think, the universe -- over the past several years -- may have put things in place for us to better “manage” life during the chaos of coronavirus and related social distancing. Six ways the universe is helping us help us:
Social media. It’s VERY easy to criticize Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and Tik Tok, but imagine social distancing without social media? It would be very lonely. People are talking and connecting and just feeling, I think, a little less alone. We’re all going through alone together.
Vulnerability. Brené Brown’s TED Talk from 2011 got the world talking about concepts I had never heard before: letting go of shame and being vulnerable. The whole “feel your feelings,” mentality? That’s going to be huge right now. Imagine we’d have to go through experience without the encouragement to not “be perfect” and “have all the answers.” No one had all the answers then and they definitely don’t have them in this new world. But if we’re honest about what we’re going through together? There is strength in that bond.
Marijuana. It has been easy to crack pot jokes when states legalize weed sales, but -- as we’re all now on a steady diet of dread and anxiety -- who’s laughing now? It’s not surprising to hear that pot sales in states like California are exploding.
Athleisure. Social distancing has many of us working from home. While remote work in pajamas has its moments, athleisure -- between pajamas and business casual -- can make us feel like we’re put together and productive without waistbands that tug and shoes that pinch. Years of yoga pants are finally paying off.
At-home fitness. While yes, Peloton is certainly having a moment, the boom of fitness tech in recent years has been chipping away at the need to “go to the gym.” The ability to record steps from your Apple Watch or get guided meditation sessions through your smartphone is going to help a lot in the coming weeks and months.
Live in the present! We’ve been hearing that for a while now, right? Well, as we go through this, it certainly doesn’t feel like the future is knowable or that it will look like anything that we know. Even hearing someone say “this summer,” and I kind of chuckle. It doesn’t feel like an “after” is even on the horizon. There really is only “now.” It’s a constant feeling of treading water.
It’s a lot right now and it’s going to be that way for a while. We’ve got to do many things at once, including working and homeschooling. We have to be prepared, while not hoarding, and also take it “one day at a time.” Whew!
It feels like there is no respite from the scary uncertainty of the coronavirus; it feels like a wet blanket over everything we know. Because of that, I’m spending more time reading about ways others are getting help to manage what feels like an unmanageable situation. I think, maybe(?), I’m like others and float from fear to anger to disappointment to hope within a span of just a few minutes. A few things I’m doing to help manage it a little bit:
Keep to some kind of schedule or routine. I’m still getting up around the same time every day and I’m still trying to make sure the other people in my house have some kind structure to their day as well.
Physical activity. To me, sweat feels like anxiety leaving my body. Granted, I often fill up the old anxiety tank soon after a workout, but -- at least for a little while -- I am trying to focus on just moving my body.
Laugh. “Netflix and chill” is a way of life now, right? That being said, I am LOVING the Netflix series, “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.” We probably shouldn’t be letting our sixth grade son watch it too, but considering he knows more about the background of the story than we do … we’re all watching, and laughing wildly, at the unbelievable antics of this show.
Amy Bailey was a member of the Michigan Capitol Press Corps from 2000-2006. She lives and works in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with her husband, son and an easily excitable Australian Shepherd named Max. Amy's guest column, Something to Say, publishes periodically. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.