Coping and Hoping in the Coronavirus Crisis
March 28, 2020
by Kim Childs, CPPC
As we attempt to protect ourselves and others, stay informed, and live our new lives in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, we’re all riding waves of fear, worry, grief, anger, and shock. There is no guide book for navigating an unprecedented time like this, and so we’re each coping…and even hoping…as best we can.
I’m admiring the resilience and resourcefulness of my coaching clients these days, as they make the best of being home amid the closures and cancellations of just about everything, and even work on projects they hope to pursue once the crisis is over. I’m hearing reports of relationships being renewed and deepened via phone and video chats, old pastimes and pleasures getting dusted off and enjoyed, families co-creating healthy new schedules and better work/life balance, more time in nature, a sense of shared vulnerability and humanity, and novel ways of conducting happy hours, movie watching, and board games virtually.
None of this would have happened without a dramatic disruption to life as we were living it, which in many ways was way out of balance.
I love this list of “Daily Quarantine Questions” that’s making the rounds of social media, to help us use this time for our greatest good. As a Positive Psychology Coach, I know that one of the most important questions we can ever ask ourselves in challenging times is “What can I control?” Right now my answers include: following CDC recommendations, the amount of news I consume, my response to the news, the way I treat and interact with others, and fortifying my immunity (lemon ginger water, Vitamins C and D3, and zinc are some of my go-tos, and there’s great info in this article from my colleague Lisa Ollmann Mair).
I’m also tending to my mental health, and trying to take things one day at a time when my mind wants to entertain terrifying worst case scenarios, which is entirely too possible these days amid all the uncertainty. Some days I succeed, and some days I succumb. As author Tama Kieves writes in a recent newsletter, “Yes, wash your hands. But wash your mind, too. Where did you get infected? Where did you lose your balance? Pay attention. Be part of the contagion of love.” For me, this means practicing extra kindness, compassion, patience, and tolerance as I move about the world (virtually or from 6 feet away) and see how differently people are dealing with this crisis.
Creating and consuming positive content on Instagram and Facebook is another way I try to be part of that “contagion of love.” I shared this touching father-daughter duet of “The Prayer” because it moved me to tears (I lost my own dad to lung disease two years ago, and we shared a passion for music), especially as I heard the words, ”Lead us to a place, guide us with your grace, give us faith so we’ll be safe.”
Another favorite is this poignant poem from columnist and author Laura Kelly Fanucci, about how this time can enhance our appreciation for what we once deemed ordinary:
“When this is over, may we never again take for granted
A handshake with a stranger
Full shelves at the store
Conversations with neighbors
A crowded theater
Friday night out
The taste of communion
A routine checkup
The school rush each morning
Coffee with a friend
The stadium roaring
Each deep breath
A boring Tuesday
When this ends may we find that we have become more like the people we wanted to be
we were called to be
we hoped to be
and may we stay that way — better for each other because of the worst.”
I wish you and yours good health, great coping and hoping skills, and something better when this is over. And if you think I could help, please reach out.
Kim Childs is a Boston-area certified life and career coach specializing in Positive Psychology, creativity, and midlife transitions. Click here to learn more and schedule a consultation or sample coaching session in person or via phone or video chat.
March 31, 2020
Thanks as always Kim for your super timely and helpful posts. I particularly love the Quarantine Checklist and have already forwarded it to some friends…what a beautiful way to start the day – virus or not! Thankyou for sharing your wisdom and beauty with us now as we need it most!
April 7, 2020
I so appreciate your blog, and I’d like to add a couple of recollections to the category of “being a part of the contagion of love and practicing extra kindness.”
I remember President Obama calling on “the better angels of our nature”… We lived through the Marathon bombings in 2013 when many ran towards the sound of bombs going off, rather than away!
In 9/11/2001, my sister who lives in the West Village of New York, (even to this day) could see the twin towers just two blocks from her apartment. She shared the memory that in those days, payphones still existed on the streets of New York. Following the second tower coming down, people were standing in circles around the phone booths, with a respectful silence, waiting their turn, while others made their call in hopes of contacting family.
A precious memory in recent years, also drawing on that huge event, involves my grandson, who was nine at the time, and was loaned a coffee table book with the title of Ground Zero. We went through the book together alternating the reading of each page. It overflows with stories of the better angels of our nature. There were several stories that made us stop and weep together before moving on. Needless to say, it was a very special experience for us to share, and we think of it occasionally to this day.