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What To Do When Doing Nothing Is The Thing To Do

I was hoping to skip a COVID-19 post but honestly, it’s consuming my thoughts right now and I need to write about it so that I can move on and write about other topics. I realize I need to write this to get unstuck.

I’ve been listening and reading a lot and have been anxious about it for about a month now. I did my first grocery trip where I bought some “stock up, shelf stable” items late February. I had been learning about this (thanks NPR for all the great coverage) and took out my anxiety through grocery shopping a little bit. So all those memes talking about how “I DidN’t kNoW toiLeT pAPer CuREd COVID-19???” were infuriating because honestly this buying behavior was coming out of people’s fear and anxiety and finding something they felt like they could control and these memes were really insensitive. (Note: I did not hoard any toilet paper and did not excessively stock up, I just bought to make sure we had enough to make it a couple weeks which was the recommendation)

Now we are in this new “unknown normal” and honestly, this virus will continue to impact us for the months and years to come. Not to be all doom and gloom but this isn’t just going to “go away”, we’re are just going to learn how to manage it and build some herd immunity to it (and hopefully a vaccine!).

So with that being said, I’ve recently been searching for ways to help myself manage the situation.

I was listening to the Political Gabfest Podcast and they were talking to an expert who studied the sociology observations around disaster response and it left me with this thought:

This disaster is like none other. Our human instinct is to jump in and physically help others when there is crisis but in this instance, we have to do the exact opposite (for the most part). We need to stay away and stay inside.

That to me is what makes this so hard. The best thing to do is to not actively do anything other than stay inside. We need to actively fight our instincts.

So here’s what I’ve been doing to help myself manage my anxiety:

  1. I remind myself that staying home IS helping.

  2. I remind myself of all the things I am thankful for.

  3. I’m kind to myself and acknowledge my emotions when I feel them. This is a weird, hard situation for us all with lots of unknowns.

  4. I look for companies and non-profits that are helping and support them.

  5. I also make sure I’m supporting the small businesses that I love to make sure they can weather this storm.

  6. I look for other ways that I can stay inside and still help (like the million mask campaign).

I’m very lucky right now. My circle of friends and family is healthy and no one is in dire straights from losing a job and I’m thankful for that every day. But I also acknowledge that it’s okay to feel sad or angry because this is a weird and new situation with no clear future path.

So as we sit inside together and alone, remember you are doing your part by staying away and that we will come together in the future to celebrate.

Sending all my love to you, your family, and your friends. May they stay healthy and well and may we all send a little love, compassion, and kindness into the universe each day.

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