WHAT COULD BE GOOD ABOUT 2020?
So many people have said that they would just like to start this year over again. Well, unless someone has a magic lamp from a genie to rub and make a wish, this is not going to happen. It seems that we started out ok, at least for most of us. We were not in the know of the coronavirus looming out there unless we were part of a scientific team of doctors monitoring what was happening in China. Some say they warned the appropriate people and others say they did not heed the warning. That is irrelevant now, as that is all hind sight.
It was not really until sometime in February that reality began touching most of our lives. Talk of symptoms, how to avoid getting COVID-19 and possibly shutting down everything except for essential workers started to gather momentum. Groceries, pharmacies, hospitals for emergencies only were about the limit. Eventually, some food establishments were allowed to have curbside pick up for food, however, no dining inside. Wearing masks was encouraged, as was staying home or at least no larger groups of 10 in any location, plus 6 foot distancing from one another. Schools went to virtual learning. We were in a global pandemic.
It is still very important to not see this as the end is coming. There must be some hope and not to minimize the severity of the pandemic there are some good things happening. It is important for our mental well-being to focus daily on what is something good happening in our lives. Things that bring us joy.
First of all, just know that it is ok to not be ok right now and just do our best to get us through this unprecedented time. I have heard this from a USA Today article written by the director of the American Psychological Association all the way to Nataly Kogan, the author of Happier Now.
The first stage is to know that our brains will create a very dramatic and sometimes negative story. We have the ability to chose to go along with it or to stop it right there in its tracks and practice recognizing that we are in charge. It is a very liberating feeling. You may ask how do we do this? It becomes empowering simply because we have chosen not to judge ourselves if we are feeling negativity.
Instead, accept and acknowledge this feeling. Knowing that you feel this way and being aware of it allows you to then make a choice to shift out of the negativity by asking yourself, "Is this helpful?" First of all, there is always only one correct answer. "NO!" This is the moment to think about a specific grateful anecdote and say to yourself, "During this challenging time I am grateful for....." It must be specific. Instead of saying you are grateful for your family or home, hone in on one small thing, such as perhaps your husband made you a cup of coffee, you have a beautiful rose bush in bloom in your garden. The more detailed, the better. This, according to Nataly Kogan is using your gratitude lens.
The next step is to do a kind act. Actually, this helps you more than it does the other person. It helps us feel connected. Send e mail notes or snail mail notes, phone calls to loved ones...just blast away at acts of kindness. I became aware of just how much happier I was when I practiced these small but major steps through this pandemic. The important thing is to realize that empathy does not mean that you are forgetting about your issues. It is caring and understanding of others. One must not just tell someone to think about what they are grateful for. It is important to validate what they are feeling and accept them for how they feel (and this of course, includes yourself). Whatever is breaking you down will also be what helps you shift your mindset and will open you up to practice gratitudes and acts of kindness.
Some of the good things that I found happening all around us are listed below. I am sure that everyone could add a list at least this long or longer. We will get through this together! How is this for an opener?
- A 103 year old grandma beat COVID-19 and celebrated with a Bud Light.
- Drive-in movie theaters are making a come back either showing movies or being the stage for concerts while participants stay in or around their cars.
- Drive by parades to celebrate graduations and birthdays virtually.
- Restaurants are sharing some of their secret recipes for us to create at home. All we must do is try to watch the pounds sneaking on from all of this good food.
- John Krasinski made the news from his home with SGN (some good news, which only focused on good things happening in the world)
- Two lovable Labradors, Olive and Mabel, gave a sports-less world some "athletic" competition in videos narrated by British broadcaster, Andrew Cotter. Turns out they got a book deal.
We have all been swamped on social media with precious pictures of babies and puppies. All adorable! Even the one who stole a pair of dentures and one who thought he was a dolphin.
Americans rushed to adopt and foster pets in need amid this pandemic.
- Netflix and Disney have become very creative and have brought on movies before they had to, just to help entertain us. Also, talk show hosts have become creative in broadcasting from their homes and sharing steps of handwashing while singing a nursery rhyme.
- Stanley Tucci teaching James Corden how to make a specialty drink. As well as Ina Garten sharing the recipe for a gigantic cocktail.
- Grandchildren visiting on FaceTime or Zoom or even outside of their windows.
- Through all of this I truly have one person who I respect and has remained steadfast in trying to share his knowledge, some of which changes as he and his immunology team learn more of COVID-19.
There is one thing that still to this day I can't understand.
Somehow through our human spirit, we will get through this together. My heart goes out to all of those across the world who did not survive or are living with the left-over symptoms of contracting the virus. We must come together and work as a team. It is not a political or racial disease. This is a serious pandemic and requires us to ALL take it seriously.