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3 COVID-19 Silver Linings

From a privileged, middle-aged white woman.

Source: Unsplash

OK, before anything else, let’s take a deep breath. I’m serious. Do this with me. Inhale one — two — three. Pause. Exhale one — two — three. A little better?

If you subscribe to newsletters, many are focused on information about the unusual times we are in and what we can do to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and the anxiety that surrounds it.

I’m not going to repeat what you probably have in your inbox. Instead, I’m going to share with you my experience and what I’ve unexpectedly gleaned from this collective situation. I realize many aren’t as fortunate as I am: a privileged middle-aged white woman not working the frontlines with some small savings in the bank, in my home country and healthy. The following COVID-19 "silver linings” might not be relevant to you—but I offer them in the spirit of kindness and support.

1. It’s OK to go slow: I have felt strangely comforted by this surreal global experience. Let me explain. It’s put the brakes on my work—allowing the pace of my life to sloooooow down. Three of my speaking events have been canceled, and I expect more.

Although this comes with financial consequences, I’m OK with it. Everyone is facing uncertainty. Businesses everywhere are having to make changes. I know I am not alone. We’re all going to be given time and wiggle room as we find solutions to support ourselves and each other.

On my day off, like last Sunday, I made banana bread. For the life of me, I can’t remember the last time I baked banana bread! The more I slow down, the easier it is to breathe deeply and calm myself.

2. Perspective: A global pandemic puts things into perspective. Like any illness, it can help us reprioritize what’s really paramount and recognize that what we thought was important (finding a better-fitting pair of jeans, for instance) maybe isn’t so important after all. I’ve phoned (yes, phoned not texted!) people I haven’t in a while: a friend’s mother who I knew had fallen, a writerly friend (OK, I did text her), a good friend who’s been facing other life bumps.

3. One-thing-at-a-time tactic: What used to be urgent isn’t. I don’t feel the pressure to be busy-busy-busy and get my usual to-do’s done. I identify the one thing I know needs to be done today. Then I take one slow, gentle step at a time to get it done.

This "one-thing-at-a-time" focus helps me soften into the present moment, allowing surfacing anxiety to pass on its own. If I get that one thing done, I identify the next one thing that needs to be done and so on. This is also a great antidote for fuzzy thinking.

I hope some of my experiences spark an insight or small gentle sense of OK-ness for you while we ride the waves of this. Share with me what you have discovered to help you stay grounded and connected. We really are in this together.

© Victoria Maxwell

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