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Staying positive / calm? (during a pandemic)

yyz67

Experienced
I'm not normally one to be the optimist in the group or try to shift thoughts and feelings towards a more calm or positive direction. However, over the last week or so my internal stress has been out-of-whack from the current actual situation around me, and this has me looking at myself and my automatic reactions to uncertainty and fear.

This isn't to say it might not get bad and then worse and more scary and dire as time goes on. But there is something of a social feedback of fear/anxiety I witness in myself and others, particularly with social media. It is as if my normally dormant fight-flight-freeze system has been triggered or hijacked by the emotion, fear, and dire predictions that some put out there, especially in the long COVID thread initiated by Cliff.

I think we are each "coping" in our own way, but without actual positive community support around (some of) us to band together and calm nerves and get back to care, connection, and warmth, its easy to let fear get the better of me/us. As someone said in the other thread "people are going through phases of being intrigued, extremely concerned, paranoid, and then acceptance/burned out." Feels like that to me.

This thread is not for discussion about the COVID situation or how to address it etc., but about more personal look at what is going on for us and how to stay calm, aware, responsive, and positive (if possible). Here are some possible prompts:
  • What has been the most personally challenging? (not blame but emotions, frustration etc.)
  • Who or what is helping you cope, if anything?
  • What really matters to you (when push comes to shove)?
  • How are you staying connected? Does it help your emotional state?
  • What you are learning about yourself emotionally and relationally, both around your family and friends and society?
  • What positives can come from this already?
  • What positives would you like to come from this?
Feel free to share whatever is on your heart/mind around this personally.
 
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yyz67

Experienced
Lockdown
by Friar Richard Hendrick
March 13th 2020


Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
But,
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
Sing.
 

shatteredsquare

Fractal Fanatic
If you don't get it now, you'll get it later. It's the flu. The only concern is overloading available healthcare systems all at once and having a pile up. Flu kills people all the time, this isn't any different, just potential for a snowball of cases too fast to handle. The difference now is it's just *conveniently timed to use to push the blind masses into a panic rush so they can do whatever shady shit you'll find out about in october while the sky was falling. You only have to look back 50 years to see a pattern of what's happening, it repeats itself. I haven't been this tense since October 2004, I didn't know why I was tense then, now I know exactly why I'm tense, knowing why doesn't make a damn difference. Hold on to yer butts!
 

bishop5150

Fractal Fanatic
More like pneumonia from what I’m hearing and much more contagious.

If you’re in great health you should be ok and get through it. If not than it could be a little tougher to fight through. Best of luck to everyone.
 

ElectricPhase

Power User
I don't see any point to "remaining positive". At this point, everybody is screwed. The only thing you can do is be as prepared as circumstances allow and crawl out of the wreckage with what you have left after its over....if there is an over. Oh, and work to promote isolationism and national self reliance in whatever future we find. Not political, just the common sense extrapolation of this social distancing prescription. What's good for individuals must work for nations as well, no?
 

yyz67

Experienced
I don't see any point to "remaining positive". At this point, everybody is screwed.
Yes, everybody will be affected, we have to face that (and it sucks). I don't see the value of terms like "screwed" and "doomed". These don't facilitate rational consideration of a challenging situation.

Maybe "positive" isn't the right term, perhaps "level-headed" or "calm" would be better. I've dealt with depression and anxiety for much of my life, and something like this could have me and many others collapse into helplessness, panic, depression, and perhaps be re-traumatizing. Without hope or some sense of positive connection, many people will fall into despair.

This thread is about how to stay calm or hopeful while seeing some of the good in each of us and "the other" while going through this.
 

yyz67

Experienced
One strategy to feel more in control and "on it" is to have a family conversation (perhaps periodic) about fears and concerns while coming up with various mitigation plans depending on different scenarios. Then it's out in the open and if things get tough or really scary, at least different options have been discussed and thought through.

I introduced this to my family (in other states) last week and we had an email conversation. It felt good to know where everyone was at, even if not all scenarios were discussed.
 

solo-act

Fractal Fanatic
  • What has been the most personally challenging? (not blame but emotions, frustration etc.)
Losing all my income (gigs)
  • Who or what is helping you cope, if anything?
Learning facts/science

  • What really matters to you (when push comes to shove)?
Having facts/science
  • How are you staying connected? Does it help your emotional state?
Passing on facts & science; they help my emotional state
  • What you are learning about yourself emotionally and relationally, both around your family and friends and society?
That I like facts/science and some inside and outside my family run from them like the plague.
  • What positives can come from this already?
More facts/science, and more people giving credence to them.
  • What positives would you like to come from this?
More facts and science put to work by local, regional and country leaders around the world.
 

ElectricPhase

Power User
Yes, everybody will be affected, we have to face that (and it sucks). I don't see the value of terms like "screwed" and "doomed". These don't facilitate rational consideration of a challenging situation.

Maybe "positive" isn't the right term, perhaps "level-headed" or "calm" would be better. I've dealt with depression and anxiety for much of my life, and something like this could have me and many others collapse into helplessness, panic, depression, and perhaps be re-traumatizing. Without hope or some sense of positive connection, many people will fall into despair.

This thread is about how to stay calm or hopeful while seeing some of the good in each of us and "the other" while going through this.
Level-headed is good. Realistic is also good. Screwed is accurate.
 

Pwrmac7600

Power User
Really hard to stay level headed. I work in an essential service business (banking) so have been having to report to work. I deal directly with the public, and it just doesn't seem as though the general public is taking it seriously.

I had a customer yesterday that I was helping, and in the middle of my interaction with him he tells me very casually " yeah my wife works in healthcare, and has been working around the clock working directly with patients coming in for testing and care."
My heart dropped. This guy is sitting on the other side of my desk, literally 3 feet away from me, I have to hand him paperwork to sign, etc... and then take that paperwork back from him to process. Am I over reacting? possibly, but I just felt like, this guy is being irresponsible knowing that he is in contact with his wife everyday who is treating patients, and he is out and about in public interacting with people like it is no big deal.
And truthfully what he came in to do could have waited.

In the work I am doing social distancing isn't possible, and at peak hours there could be up to 50 people between the employees, and people waiting online.
I am mature enough to know that essential service's need to stay open, as a matter of fact I know that if the line of business I work in was to close it would cause hysteria in some out of fear of financial burden. but never in a million years when I went to work for this company did I think I would have to make a decision between my pay check, and potentially putting my health at risk. Especially when 95% of what we do on a daily basis can be done online, or via an automated machine.

Extremely scary, I don't want to look at everyone as though they may have it, but This situation really scared the hell out of me.
And all the while, I have to keep on the brave face in front of my staff, because if they start to see me freak out, they will definitely freak out much more than they already are.

Sorry for the rambling, and thanks for letting me vent.
 

Capt Nasty

Experienced
Had to go out yesterday. As I drove through my neighborhood, it struck me. People were working in their yards, doing projects they never get to when doing the daily work grind.

They are focusing their energy and finding things to do. Just sitting in a house during these times would be an anxiety inducing thing for many. Anxiety is the risk, it is what will send us down a bad path if we do not manage it.

I think positivity is a fine word for it. Finding a positive activity to apply your energy and thoughts to. By focusing on activities be it playing the guitar, doing projects, coding, knitting, or whatever else you might do; we engage the brain rather than leave it idle to ponder that which we have no control over.

As Americans we are incredibly risk averse. We like everything to line up with a nice bow on it and are only comfortable with very low risk. We have been living with the illusion of control.

These are trying times. It shall pass. Some of us will get sick. Some will unfortunately pass on. There is nothing that you or our governments can do to change the reality that stands immediately before us. We got “got”.

Our only path is forward, through this thing. But you do have control of yourself and how you react to this reality we all face. By choosing to be positive and graceful in how you respond to the inevitable challenges ahead, you do your part to keep this thing from unravelling.

The greater risk for death and loss lies down the path of societal meltdown. The numbers lost to this virus could very well pale in comparison to the deaths that will occur if the fabric of civility is violated. Be kind, be patient, be forgiving, and most of all be safe.

These are scary and uncertain times. We have little understanding of this threat. This is where each of us will discover what we are truly made of. Those with character, will find the fortitude to do what they must do to navigate this with grace, even in the face of existential fear. Those without character will view this as a justifiable reason freak the f*** out. It is imperative upon all of us to ponder which of these camps we want to fall into.

Take care of yourselves. I wish everyone here the best as we all navigate this unprecedented challenge.
 
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manu68

Inspired
I leave in an area in france (alsace) where we are in the middle of the storm.
I just can say that it is scary.

some people say it is about the same thing as the seasonal Influenza.
I would like to share this opinion, but it is very difficult to do so.
Some working colleague of mine are in state of artificial coma , and they were absolutely healthy some days ago.

Now, to answer the question.
My way of handling the situation is to respect as much as possible the rules, and stay calm .
I may be infected, as my family too, but we have absolutely no symptom and i enjoy that. Let's see tomorrow.
I like to see my friends and go outside doing sport, but currently it doesn't help anybody, especially in the hospitals.
I do home office, as my wife and my son (school are closed), try to respect the same behavior and habits as for a normal working day (clothing, shaving, ....)
I apply myself the same discipline as at my office.
We stay at home (we have the chance to have a garden) except for the compulsory food purchase).
Everyday, after our working day, we play together table game (chess, Risk, monopoly, trivial pursuit), and we do as much as possible relaxing things together . Looking at travel pictures, nice Blurays, reading books.

we avoid the permanent flow of news on TV, but we stay informed.

I play guitar in the evening, do some simracing on computer, take care of my garden, rebuild old race bicycles, ....

The only thing i try to avoid is to stay in pyjama the all day, looking at netflix with my working laptop on my knees .
 
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