COVID COMMENTARY: Be optimistic, life will improve again

These are stressful times as you have been told. There is likely no one on earth that has not been impacted by the COVID pandemic. But let us think about ourselves as individuals and what we are feeling and experiencing.

Primarily the most negative things affecting us now, are a result of change in our regular routines. Each of us had to make significant changes in how we work, play, and just about everything else. The impact on some has been great, on others less.

Any change can be hard, big changes like those going on now are a huge stressor, especially if you are experiencing financial pressures. When you add in the mortality issues with COVID, some of us are stressed to the limit at times.

Many of us are thinking ‘Why can’t be things be the way they were?’

Nature has taught us that species that can adapt to changing environments have the best chance of surviving and flourishing

I am of the generation that includes many folks constantly yearning for the days of yesteryear.

When confronted with this wish by somebody, I ask them do they really want to go back to the days when ‘Cancer was an automatic death sentence? Where every room was smoke filled, because everybody was smoking? Do they want cars that were big and polluting and gas guzzlers?’

Upon consideration most of us of the greyer generation will recognize with a few exceptions, change has been and is good. The whole world is evolving which is as it is supposed to.

So in this pandemic what are the changes that are good, and how can you reduce your stress levels from the changes you are not comfortable with.

First, do not expect or hope things will ever return completely to the way they were. There will be fewer commuters, and more people working from home. That is good in many ways.

Essential workers, many of whom were at the bottom of the pay scales, are finally being recognized as of great value and importance to society. That is wonderful. Janitors, cleaners, nurse’s aides, personal support workers, teachers and many others are finally getting the recognition they are due.

A great number of us are now becoming very aware of how each human being is connected with every other human on earth. The day you did not have to care what was going on in Wuhan China has passed. I see some great signs in my community of everyday people being kind and careful with others. Just months ago that did not exist.

One of the great traits we have as human beings is adaptability. Each of us now has to become adaptable to the reality of the pandemic. Once we accept these realities, things will become much less stressful.

The realities are:

  • The pandemic and its impacts will last much longer than anybody expects. Even a vaccine, when available, will not end the pandemic. Be open and adaptable to the fact that things are different and will be for some time.
  • Most things that we have to give up because of the pandemic, as nice and enjoyable as they were, were never crucial to our existence. Yes I miss youth sports, band rehearsal, and a number of other things, but yours and my family’s health are much more important.

There are many things that you can do to relieve and reduce your stress levels:

  1. Every morning be grateful for the good things that have happened or will happen in your life;
  2. Accept that you do not have to do everything. Lean a little on those around you when you need some support;
  3. Remind yourself and others that tough times do not last but tough people do;
  4. Be assured you will look back on some of these times with either fondness or humour.

In conclusion, accept that you and many of us are under duress. We do not feel we have the same control or even understanding about what is happening in our life. But be assured your life will return to its equilibrium. You will find new joys, experiences and pleasures to fill your life. Be open and honest with yourself and others. Recognize that your stability and tranquility will return. It is a law of nature.

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