I was talking to a good friend the other day about how he was getting through the challenges of this pandemic. He said to me, “I’m going through hell!” My first reaction was to say, “Well, keep on going. That’s no place to stop!”
Whether you’re a small business owner who had to shut down, a furloughed employee, or a working parent trying to homeschool your children while simultaneously being able to pay your bills, everyone is feeling some pandemic induced stress.
Hard as it may be to believe, we’ve been through worse as a Country. In 1918, the world was ravaged by the Spanish flu, losing 50 million people, nearly ⅓ of the world’s population. America’s population of 103 million people was diminished by 675,000 deaths. Today, that would equate to losing 2 million people.
I remember hearing famed historical author, David McCullough, discussing his book, “1776” which detailed our Country’s battle for independence. McCullough emphasized that as tough as we think contemporary American life is, we need to pause and think back about what George Washington, his troops, and the entire country went through to establish what we know now as the United States. His point was, when we look back at history, we have to understand that it didn’t have to turn out the way it ultimately did. In effect, when we were going through hell we had to keep going.
I feel it’s safe to assume that you’re as frustrated, beaten down, and, “pandemiced-out” as I am. As hard as it may be to believe now, your bored, confined and desperately annoying children may be creating a moment in time that will make you smile when this is all over .
Now, let’s take a look at how to minimize the doom and gloom. First things first. Turn off your TV. If you weren’t already depressed, non-stop COVID 19 coverage will certainly make you pull the covers over your head. A possible stress reliever may be readily available to you. It is said that music has charms to soothe a savage breast. I’m not exactly sure what the heck that means, but when I’m beat up, I usually tell Alexa to, “play music by the Rolling Stones”. She’s never let me down...now if I could only get her to watch the kids while I slip out the back door.
Losing yourself in a good book is always a good way to shut out reality, and now, that’s more essential than ever. If you’re not a “reader”, give an audiobook a try. They have every topic imaginable available and with some pretty compelling people narrating. Alexa, play “Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand.”
Maybe I should have mentioned this even before books and music, but I’m hoping by now you’ve realized that, NOT exercising your body leads not only to atrophy, but a sense of deep futility. If you can’t get outside for exercise, try sit ups, push ups, or jumping jacks. You don’t need a gym for that. The endorphins released by exercise will provide instant gratification, which these days is in very short supply.
Let me remind you, that after the devastation of 1918 America went on to develop radio, television, and Hollywood. We made it through the Roaring 20’s, and survived both Prohibition and The Great Depression, going on to assume the lead role in winning World War II. We suffered through JFK, RFK and MLK’s assassinations, Vietnam, Watergate and more and yet, the Republic endures.
The point is, one of the most interesting things about Americans is how resilient we are. Somehow, someway, we find a way to persevere. Whether it’s war, drought, floods, tsunamis, Kardashians, or even pandemics, we find a way to go on. I’m not saying that things aren’t really, really difficult right now. But we will get past this.