It’s easy to feel discouraged about the future sometimes, maybe feel a little down about things, especially at this time when the world’s been turned upside down.
This COVID-19 pandemic is global, yes. But it’s also very personal. We’re each affected in our own, unique way.
Kind of what it would look like to look at Earth from space with a zoom lens and then zooming in closer, to the continent where you live, them closer to your state and town, then closer still, until you’re looking at you, your home, your family, your life.
It’s all different now than it was two months ago.
Then it all changed
It was a Thursday afternoon, March 12, and “social distancing” was just becoming a thing in San Antonio. My husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary by going out to breakfast and then to the movies. We noted how regular, reflexive actions, like signing a receipt, made us stop and think about the risk of “cross contamination.”
That was a little more than 6-weeks ago.
I miss going to the movies, miss meeting with family and friends. Miss holding my grandbaby.
Before this whole Quarantine thing hit us, I was so happy to be able to take care of her at least 2 days a week while her mom and dad worked.
But I, like many grandparents all over the world, have resorted to video chats. I haven’t seen her in person in weeks.
A few days ago I was moving toys and blankets from “her room” and felt overcome with sadness because I miss her so terribly. Miss holding her and talking to her.
She’s growing so fast and getting so big. I wondered, Will she remember me? What am I missing by not being able to spend time with her?
To ward off feeling discouraged and sad about the situation, I had to remind myself of a few things:
- This is temporary.
- We’ll get through this.
- I can’t hold her, but I’m grateful she’s healthy and growing incredibly fast.
Keep hope alive
If you zoom in into my quarantine life, you’ll see it’s somewhat unremarkable. Everything’s okay. I’m fortunate to have what I need.
I know not everyone does.
And I start to wonder about things:
- Will life ever be the way it was before?
- How will the world be different?
- Will I have to be different in the way I live and interact with people?
- Are we going to be okay?
I don’t know if anyone knows the answers to those big, important questions.
But I do believe we must not lose hope, that we must do our best to do what we can and know that we will get through this.
History reveals resilience
I remind myself that generations before me must have had similar concerns, people I’ve known in my lifetime who have lived through precarious, uncertain, and scary times.
My grandmother’s generation, and even my mom’s generation.
They got through their challenges. With great difficulty sometimes.
My mom was born in 1937. She lived through WWII. She was a kid, but she remembers her dad going off to war. She graduated from high school in the 1950’s, the “Happy Days.” Then the not so happy days of The Cold War and Sputnik, the Civil Rights Movement, The Kennedy’s and Martin Luther King assassinations, The Korean and Vietnam Wars.
Surely my mom’s generation must have thought, “What is the world coming to?”
But my mom came from tough stock.
Her mother, my grandmother, born in 1918 lived through the Great Depression and WWII, watched as her husband (my grandfather) shipped off to serve in the US Navy in the Pacific. I can’t imagine the uncertainty she must have felt, but she did what she had to do to support her family.
From her home near downtown San Antonio, she caught a bus that took her out to work at Camp Bullis Military Training Camp, which at the time was way outside the San Antonio city limits.
That couldn’t have been easy for her. Her husband was away at war and she had small children at home. She must have had days when she struggled to stay hopeful about the future.
Reflecting on those troubled times and knowing they survived and thrived afterward helps me stay hopeful.
They got through it. We’ll get through this too.
It’s okay to not feel okay sometimes
I saw a headline the other day meant for kids from their school counselors that said: It’s okay not to feel okay.
I think that’s true for all of us. We may have moments when we feel discouraged or doubtful, but we also have to believe we’ll get through this.
Here are some things you can try to help nurture that resilience and belief. (In the category of “Doing what I can”)
Keep your filter on
You may find you’re in much better spirits when you limit your news intake. There’s a lot of bad, sad, and discouraging news out there.
Especially when you feel a little low but still want to know of important updates, pick 1 or 2 trusted news sources and check them once or twice a day.
Gratitude works wonders as a mindset shifter. Whatever your struggles and hardships, think of at least 1 or 2 things for which you’re grateful.
Pray or meditate
Many people I know practice a daily devotional that helps their spiritual and mental health.
Even taking a few minutes of focused breathing can help clear the mind.
Listen to music
Music can work wonders to lighten your mood. Find something you can sing along to. For me it’s music from the 70’s. (So weird how I know lyrics to songs I haven’t heard in years.)
Keep things in perspective
Remembering generations before us and how they got through tough times doesn’t change the reality of our current situation, but it can give perspective.
Aside from my mom and grandmother, who I mentioned earlier, here are a couple more stories along those lines.
This story about this Centenarian Survivor Of 1918 Flu Pandemic, Coronavirus Is Just Another ‘Problem’
And Queen Elizabeth’s Coronavirus Speech on April 5th. I found her words reassuring and inspiring even though I’m not British : )
Whatever your particular circumstances are at the moment, I hope you stay well and hopeful about the future.
We will get through this.
For more related to this topic, read Tips to Shake Off the Blues here on the blog.
How are you managing through these days of social distancing and self-isolation? Have any strategies for staying positive you’d like to share? Please post in the comments!