I don’t know about you, but I really thought this pandemic would be mostly over by now. Back in March, I thought that this virus would simply run its course over time and then fade quietly out of the headlines. Sadly, it’s proven to have staying power, and although we have made great advances in testing, treatment and even vaccine development, Covid 19 is still basically ruling our lives. And I don’t like it one bit.
I’d like to say that I always handle the situation well, but that would be a lie. The truth is that sometimes I’m fine and sometimes I’m not. And I can bounce back and forth between those moods with lightning speed, despite my best efforts to maintain a positive attitude. I suspect that most people feel that way, even if they aren’t comfortable admitting it. We live in a society that has become very judgemental, and being honest about how hard this is can be seen as a weakness, or worse, being in denial about the seriousness of the situation.
Personally, I think life during a pandemic is very challenging. We worry about getting the virus, we worry about those have gotten it, we worry about how the restrictions are effecting the mental and emotional health of the most vulnerable among us, and we worry about those who are suffering (and those who are going to suffer) from the trashed economy. None of that is easy, no matter how much we try to pretend otherwise.
I wish I could offer some sure-fire advice for fixing it, but I can’t. All I know is that when times are hard, the worst thing we can do is be hard on each other or hard on ourselves. I know how easy it is to take our frustrations and fears out on each other, but I also know that when we do that, it only makes a bad situation even worse.
Now is the time to be gentle with ourselves, I think. It’s the time to let ourselves feel whatever emotion happens to show up, without seeing it as a sign of weakness. We need to do whatever we can to take care of ourselves, indulging in the little things that make us happy and lift our spirits. When this is over (and it will be over one day) no one is going to grade us on the great things we accomplished during the pandemic lock downs, I promise you.
And we also need to be gentle with each other, because the chances are that every single person you encounter these days is struggling. Their struggles might not be the same as ours, but they are just as real. Which means this is not the time to engage in petty arguments, take pot shots at our “enemies,” or behave in any way that makes someone else’s life even harder than it already is.
As I said, I don’t like this pandemic and I hate the negative way it has changed our world. But I refuse to let it also change who I am and what kind of person I try to be. Because hard times don’t have to result in hard people.