Find the silver lining.
That’s the affirmation I repeat to myself when dealing with difficult situations. When my old landlord wanted to raise my rent by $600 so I went and found a bigger place for the same amount of money or when a natural disaster cancelled a trip and I saved hundreds of dollars. After allowing myself to grieve or rage I try to find the way this unfortunate thing has left me better off. Sometimes the silver lining is as simple as ‘well, now I know how to unclog a toilet.’
2020 started off with the usual joy and excitement that a new year brings. That so fresh and so clean feeling that comes when you shake off the trials, memories and dirt of a year past and become a blank slate. New year, new me. This year is going to be different.
Novel Coronavirus or Covid-19 or ‘that rona; as I like to say has become a worldwide pandemic. A virus that has existed in animals for centuries took on the motto new year, new me with a vengeance. Appearing in humans for the first time in Wuhan, China with symptoms of acute respiratory distress the virus spread like water flowing down a hill. By mid-March it was so severe in the United States that all ‘non-essential’ workers were told to stay home and by April nearly 10,000 Covid-19 related deaths had occurred.
I’ve been home for 20 days (at time of writing this). 20 days of trying to keep as busy as possible while managing the ebbs and flows of emotion that come with the uncertainty of living in the time of corona. Most days I’m fine. I wake up, eat, work from home, read, workout and rest but there are some days, like today, where my body feels heavy and my mind can’t focus. Days when questions like when will this end, how can I and my family stay safe, can I trust the information coming from the news, how is Trump still president run through my mind like a never ending playlist.
On days like this the stress becomes a tornado twisting with negative thoughts and feelings lashing around me. The only thing that stops the tornado is challenging myself to find the silver lining in this situation. I hope that these silver linings help you quell the stress of this uncertain time.
Use social media intentionally
Instagram has been a great source of reminders of all the little silver linings that exist in life. After years of using Instagram religiously to the detriment of my own mental health I took stock of what my account had become. I unfollowed nearly everyone I didn’t know IRL and took specific care when following new accounts. I now follow an array of creative men and women who use their platforms to spread messages of truth. Pages like smashfizzle, jess_megan_, r29somos, ajabarber, jnaydaily and chloegoslowly, to name a few, consistently help to bring me out of the haze of my spiraling mind maze.
Remember that you don’t have to be productive right now
Today I was reminded, by an Instagram post, that while a lot of the messaging happening currently promotes being as productive as possible during this quarantine it’s okay to not do things. It’s okay to not use this self-isolating time to start a new business, write the next great American novel (pointing fingers to myself with that one) or lose those last ten pounds. It’s okay to just survive. Don’t hate yourself if you only have enough energy to wake up, eat and sleep.
Understand your privilege
The entirety of the world is going through a collective traumatic experience. Right now in Las Vegas vacant parking lots are being used as “social-distancing centers” for the homeless while hotels, which could be used to temporarily house them, are empty. New Yorkers are being hunted down in Rhode Island for trying to flee the Covid-19 pandemic. Seniors are seeing their plans of graduation dashed and families haven’t been able to see each other for weeks. There’s an untold amount of people who have lost their jobs, income and security.
There is a lot of stress and uncertainty right now so feeling overwhelmed and worried is normal. If you can reach out to the people who bring you joy. My grandmother and I have been video chatting weekly thanks to the beautiful technological advancements that exist right now. I get picture messages from my niece on the regular. It’s ironic that this time when we are meant to be distancing ourselves from others there is more connection than ever before.
What silver linings are you finding in your time of self-isolation?