I hate COVID. I know that’s not professional, let alone insightful, but it’s the truth.
A month or so ago we were traveling, we were visiting friends and family, we were working from offices; it was business (and life) as usual. We had no idea we were on the verge of having all of that ripped away.
Perhaps, like me, you started off in good spirits – feeling well equipped to hunker down for a bit, assuming this would all blow over in a few weeks. Then a few weeks passed and shelter in place orders only expanded. Businesses started closing, people lost their jobs, and parents found a renewed thankfulness for teachers (or at least the ability to send their kids to school).
Today it’s all consuming. It’s on the news, in social media feeds, top of mind at work… If you’re fortunate enough to connect with friends and family digitally it seems the first question of every conversation is, “How are you doing?” Pre-COVID that question didn’t carry as much weight. Pre-COVID a standard, “I’m good. How are you?” was perfectly acceptable. It seems out of place now. It seems wrong. How can you answer that question with even the hint of a positive attitude?
You’re good? Really? With everything going on? With your kids at home? With your new reduced work schedule? With your spouse out of work? You’re good with the fact that it’s scary to get groceries now? That you can’t leave your house unless it’s critical, and you need a mask and gloves if you do? That the world seems to be falling apart and no one can tell you when it will get better? You’re good?
It’s starting to feel wrong to be good. Some people are losing hope. COVID is all they see. They don’t want to be encouraged. They don’t want a silver lining. They just want it to be over. They’re in survival mode, and surviving a virus is all they see. But is that really all there is?
The human race has a bend toward the negative. It’s a survival mechanism, but we tend to overuse it. We too easily allow negative thoughts, situations or feelings overshadow any possible ray of hope. If 10 great things happened to you today it would be a great day, right? What if we added one or two bad things to the mix? 10 Good – 2 Bad = still a good day, right? Not likely. The unfortunate reality is that the bad things more often than not overshadow the good – and COVID is casting one heck of a shadow.
So what do we do? Is it possible to combat the doom and gloom? You won’t find a lengthy scientific or psychological explanation here. Just one simple word.
Are you thankful today? Thankful for more family meals around the table and movie night snuggles on the couch with the kids? Are you thankful for technology that allows you to keep in touch with loved ones despite the terrible situation we find ourselves in? Are you thankful for your health? If you’re working, are you thankful for your job? If you’re not, are you thankful you have access to unemployment for unprecedented times like these? Are you thankful for the reduced burden of a busy schedule and time to do those “someday” projects around the house? Are you thankful for this unexpected chance to take a deep breath and truly relax?
I know, it’s tempting to revert back to the negative and remind yourself that this is not OK. It’s tempting to get upset at the mention of thankfulness or be frustrated by the idea that somehow throughout all of this we could still be “good”.
But that’s the challenge I give you today. Challenge yourself to be ok with being “good” again. Challenge yourself to look for at least one positive moment every day. Challenge yourself not to let this single worldwide overarching “bad” ruin every minute of the time you could be “good”.
You may think this is simplistic, or even silly. You may believe thankfulness won’t change the situation. In part, you would be right. It’s not going to change COVID. It’s not going to bring businesses back, or open schools, heal the sick or re-start the sports season. But it will change some things, and it will change you. It will change your thoughts, your attitude and the memories you carry of this situation for the rest of your life. It will change the way your spouse remembers the time you were stuck at home together. It will change the way your kids see you deal with crisis, and the way they teach their kids to manage disappointment and difficulty in the future.
If you break down the word responsibility, you find it’s not a burden but an opportunity. You have an ability to respond to every situation you encounter in life. It is a gift and a privilege that we are alive right now, at this very moment in history – as messed up as it is. Despite the incredible challenge we find ourselves in, each one of us has the same ability to respond. We can get through COVID kicking and screaming, with bad attitudes, fear and frustration, or we can choose to look for the silver lining (no matter how small it may be), put a smile on our face, and try to have a little social-distancing fun.
If you need some inspiration, check out these highlights from some awesome Unified Brands team members:
Director of Marketing