Finding the Silver Lining — Attempts to Offset the Heavy Mental Load of a Pandemic

One year ago at this time, we did our best to prepare for what was to come, while facing the news headlines about the sweeping pandemic in China, Italy, Europe, and then New York —an intangible and distant storm slowly coming our way.

Here we are, close to the one year mark, still attempting to survive, maintain, and persevere through what has become and endless bad dream. This has impacted all of us in different ways, with human isolation being one of the most common and crippling pieces of the pandemic. Now, with vaccines being administered throughout the country and world, we feel a newfound hope — but we are still by no means close to the end.

So what now? We are tired. We aren't meant to work in isolation. How can we make the most of this as we endure?

Although there is no perfect answer or easy button, here are a few simple recommendations to offset the daily burdens:

Use Technology to Connect – Both during your work day and outside of your working hours, stay connected to colleagues, friends, and family. Make it a priority to have human interaction. Use Zoom and social media to feel closer and see familiar faces in order to bridge the gap until normalcy returns.

Focus on Others – Take a minute to connect on a personal level, ask someone how they are doing or if they need anything. Do this where and when you can. Text or call a neighbor. Spend a few non-business minutes connecting on your Zoom calls. Ask, and, really listen. Research shows that helping others is a way of coping with hardship and depression.

Take 5 for you – As challenging as it might feel, take five minutes to step away. Make this a priority by blocking time in your routine. Take a quick walk, meditate, or stretch. Whatever it might be, make those five or ten minutes about you with a dedicated practice for your health. You will be surprised. A few minutes can feel like an eternity and will make a huge difference.

Focus on Gratitude— Try to shift your thinking toward positive outcomes and opportunities. What are you thankful for? What are you doing well? Did you pick up a new hobby? Did you find more time to invest in your health? You can extend that to express your gratitude of others, which helps everyone feel good, including you.

Maybe make it a daily practice at bedtime or at dinner with family to use the 2:1 principle. Two things you are thankful for, and one opportunity you have identified.

Here is a list of several things you can do to cope during Covid-19 Lockdown. A few of my points are repeated here on this list.

In the meantime, as you approach your daily challenges, try to give yourself grace. Remember, we are still in the thick of this worldwide pandemic. This is not easy for anyone, despite what you might see on the surface. We are all human, and everyone has felt the tremendous impact of COVID-19. Stand proud of what you have accomplished thus far.