It could be that the media is stirring this all up. It could be that the crisis is overblown. But the truth is that most of us are living today in a way we wouldn’t have predicted two weeks ago.
My maternal grandfather lost his business in the Depression. Suddenly, the family wasn’t living in a substantial and comfortable home. Instead, they crowded into a third-floor walkup apartment. Suddenly, there was no college for the children. My uncle Pat took his drumsticks and went on the road with a jazz band. My mother went to work at the candy counter at the Five and Dime.
For the first couple of weeks, she was really angry. She’d come back to the apartment at night and beat on the piano they’d managed to stuff into one of the rooms, taking out her frustration on the instrument.
“Then,” she said years later, “I realized the world wasn’t going to change, so I had better.” From that day on, she made the best of the situation she found herself in. She became the top salesperson at the candy counter. She learned skills she would use later in life. She developed an attitude that was best expressed years later when she got cancer and suffered through some of the very first chemo treatments:
“Cancer may kill me, but it’s not going to beat me.”
That’s where most of us are today. The world has changed on us. We can moan about it. We can shake our fist at the sky. We can blame whoever seems most appropriate. But we’ve got to get on with life. Here are five things you can do today in the time of coronavirus.
Take Care of Yourself
You’ll be happy and of more use to others if you take care of yourself. Do the simple stuff. Wash your hands a lot more. Keep your distance. Risk being offensive to be safe.
Do the usual stuff. Eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep.
Stay connected. Relationships bring us strength and joy and we need them most when times are tough. Just because you can’t go meet people for coffee doesn’t mean you can’t call them. Technology has given us all kinds of video tools to use to stay connected. You don’t have an excuse.
Take Care of Other People
Help your loved ones, your clients, your customers, and your friends. Everyone needs some kind of help. You just might be the person to provide it.
What can you do? Take food, shop, check on the wellbeing. Run an errand like filling a prescription for someone who can’t get out of the house.
Remind the people you talk to about what we need to do to be as safe as possible. Help other people do the sensible thing.
Learn to Play the New Game
We’re all learning to play a new game. Maybe you used to work in an office, and now, suddenly, you work from home. Maybe you’ve always worked from home, but now you’re not alone anymore when you’re working. Adapt.
You may have to create the structure and routine that your old life used to hand you. Structure and routine will help you be more productive, more helpful, safer, and happier.
Weed the Garden
For years, you’ve had things on your “someday” or your “when I get a little time” list. Now’s the time to do them. If you’ve got kids in the house instead of in school, take the time to be with them more. Set a good example and help them develop good routines and habits.
Spend time with your loved ones. You’ve got an opportunity to do things together that you wouldn’t normally have. Make the most of it.
Do the stuff you’ve put off for years. Clean the closets, weed the garden, read that book you’ve always wanted to read.
Count Your Blessings
No matter how awful you think things are, no matter how unfair you think it all is, you still have things to be thankful for. Be especially grateful for the people who love you. Listing the things and people you’re grateful for, thinking about them, thanking them will make you happier and make it all easier.
Nobody’s saying this is fun. You can do what you can, when and where you can, to make things better for you and others. The world isn’t going to change so you had better. Given the nature of this virus thing, it may kill you. Don’t let it beat you.