I guess many of us have what I’m now calling “The Coronavirus Blues.” I’ve never lived through anything like this before and quite frankly I still don’t want to believe it’s real (but I do).
I haven’t had any symptoms (but I’m starting to panic if I cough) during this nightmarish time, where we’re seemingly catapulted out of our normal lives into a Twilight Zone or Black Mirror episode – the ones where you can never get out of the horrific situation – it just keeps repeating over and over again. But our lives right now are not an episode we can just turn off. This is happening in real time.
The Peril of shopping
Over the last few weeks, going to Safeway seemed to give me a dose of normalcy -people shopping with kids, without kids, with spouses or alone, shopping for dinner, or something they forgot to pick up the last time they were there, buying a sandwich, ordering items from the deli, getting fish, meat or chicken from the meat counter, carousing the produce aisle, picking up amazon packages, renting movies, buying stamps, flowers, cakes – people shopping-that’s pretty normal, but certain sections emptied out due panic and fear-not so normal.
I returned to Safeway yesterday and it was relatively calm. The last two or three times I went it was pretty saturated with people. I asked the cashier where all the people were. He said they’d gotten everything they needed, but he said in a month or so Safeway would start getting a lot of returns. Apparently, some people were already trying to return alcohol, which Safeway doesn’t allow, and the customers were, “very angry.” So buy your alcohol carefully. Getting back to my shopping experience, I bought enough food to meet my needs, although meat and chicken supplies were low, some produce was cleaned out, and the ever famous toilet paper and cleaning supply aisles were desolate. You’ve probably experienced the same.
The coronavirus blues symptoms I’ve been experiencing
The symptoms I seem to be experiencing, like my fellow Safeway shoppers and many of you, are panic, fear and an addiction to the news. Every-time I login to my email, all the breaking news pops up and so I start reading, clicking links and watching videos. As I glance through my email I have news updates from CNN and the New York Times, which I also read-just in case I missed something. Then, at 5pm I watch the news for an hour. So fear, panic, and overwhelm take over.
What to do?
What to do? I am fortunate enough to have a Tony Robbins Life Coach (not Tony himself – one of his trained coaches) and we had our weekly call on Wednesday. It turns out I seem to operate in-overwhelm in some areas of my life as she’s pointed out two or three or ten times before – and I’m quite skilled at it.
My coach told me how she is handling the coronavirus situation. She reads a reliable news source five minutes a day so she can be informed of the facts. That way she keeps herself from getting afraid or panicking with all the “scartistics” as I like to call them. Don’t get me wrong – this is a very serious virus and I’m adhering to all the guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), our governor and the president. However, as my coach constantly reminds me: “energy goes where focus flows.” So focusing on fear and panic only fuels the fire.
Tips to beat the coronavirus blues
Here are five tips my coach gave me on “choice” that you can use during these troubled times, but they are great tips for anytime you’re feeling overwhelmed.
What will you focus on?
Focus on the things I can do or focus on the things I can’t do.
Focus on the things I have or focus on what’s missing.
Focus on what I can control or focus on what I can’t control.
Focus on what I know or focus on what I don’t know.
Focus on the present – what’s real or focus on the past or the future.
It may seem like a tall order at this time, but it is very empowering to focus on what we can control. Even if life is not normal, we can still move forward in an empowered way.
Another tool I use is meditation. I listen to meditation music on youtube for 10 or 15 minutes once or twice a day. I don’t chase every thought out of my mind – it’s really quite the opposite. I just go someplace quiet, and sit or lay down. As I listen to the music, I start to relax and can put my chaotic thoughts into perspective.
And remember we can still…
Hang out with our families.
If we can’t see people, we can call, Facetime or set up a video chat. My kids and I are having a “virtual dinner” this weekend.
I saw on the news (this was “feel good news”) some bands and musicians are streaming concerts on TV or online (check out this article from the Los Angeles Times) so we can watch them for free. I got a text from the Musician “Andy Grammar” and he was giving a concert on Facebook.
We can catch up on all those movies and TV shows we’ve been missing.
We can read all those great books we never had the time to read.
We can stay “informed” of the facts and protections we need to take, without staying glued to some news feed, and spiral out of control emotionally.
I’m hoping everyone is staying healthy during the “coronavirus blues” and wishing for a healthy country and world as well.
Please leave a comment below or email me: Kathy@requiredtoinspire.com to share what you’ve been doing or struggling with so we can start the conversation. If you think this post might help someone else, feel free to share it.
See you next Friday 🙂