This crisis has hit everyone hard. Fortunately, we live in an advanced society where we can connect online to continue working and studying, and even keep up a social life. While things are far from ideal, we will get through it. Here are five tips for getting through this hard time with your sanity intact.
1. Turn Panic into Purpose
Fear tends to paralyze us and improves nothing. In fact, it leads to making bad decisions at the time we need to be making good decisions for ourselves, our loved ones, and those who live around us. Purpose leads to action, action leads to results and results give us satisfaction. Instead of worrying about things out of your control, focus on the good things and the things you can control. Giving yourself purpose during this uneasy time will help you feel normal.
If you are working from home, try to keep normal work hours just like you were in the office. Take advantage of your extra time by starting a new hobby, reading a book, and getting some exercise! I started using the commute time I’m saving to start running again. Being active and useful combats the stress.
2. Exercise your Right to Mute
You are allowed to turn off the TV and unplug from social media. Of course, we want to know important developments, but limiting check-ins to two or three times a day from reliable sources will keep you in the loop.
I understand that going on social media means getting bombarded with Covid-19 articles and memes, but it’s your social media and you can take control. Using “mute” and “unfollow” options on social media platforms is an easy and instant way to stay in control – and a way to temporarily stop seeing content shared by well-meaning friends and family online. On Twitter, you can mute key words to stop them appearing in your feed – and if you need to take a break from a WhatsApp group, you can silence it for a period, without actually leaving the group. Obviously, this advice comes from my daughter Hannah, as I don’t use most of this social media stuff. It’s good advice, none the less.
Basically, take control – rather than being driven and carried away by algorithms, anonymous strangers you follow on Twitter, or by clickbait.
3. Accept the Financial Markets for What they Are
“Grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Unfortunately, the financial markets are something you cannot change. No one is able to control or predict the markets and trying to time the market is notoriously ineffective.
What you can control are your resources. Talk to your financial planner to discover the best plan for your individual situation in current market conditions. There may be financial opportunities out there for you to take advantage of the low market. Whether you update your financial plan or just wait it out, one thing is for sure, watching the gyrations of the market will not change them. It can and will lead to distress you don’t need right now. Accept it at what it is, take a breath, and move on.
4. Give the Gift of Good Hygiene
What if you thought of washing hands and doing other home/car/office cleansing as a gift to others, not a chore? Maintaining sanitation helps, not only you, but also everyone with whom you come into contact. Keep yourself, your family, and your community healthy.
5. Check in with Others
There are so many ways to connect that are not face to face. Stay in contact via phone or video calls. A lot of friends and neighbors are even organizing events through group video calls or sitting out in their driveways or on their porches “together” from across the yard or the street. If your friends or neighbors don’t have a way of sharing time, start something! There are so many ways we can stay connected as a community while respecting the 6-foot rule. It may just take some creativity. People coming together and supporting each other makes us a stronger society.
Do what you can to stay healthy, both mentally and physically and reach out to others. We are not alone, and together, by the grace of God, we will get through this.