Every day during the pandemic, I wake up hoping for a sign that this dystopian reality is fading. Desperately seeking good news, I check my iPhone news alerts, read the crawl messages at the bottom of the TV channel that I’m watching, and finally I meditate.
My meditation is focused primarily on positive affirmations. I know I’m not alone. I realize that, along with my fellow Americans and others around the world, we are experiencing a pernicious and relentless virus that has engulfed humankind. COVID-19 is an invader army of deadly mist and molecules outflanking even our brightest scientists. It does not respect age, ethnicity, wealth, religion or political ideologies.
This invisible enemy is testing mankind in ways that modern man has never been tested. Our bodies, mind and spirit are under attack. To our credit as a species, we humans are forging ahead, keeping our chin up, so to speak, and waiting for this plague to end. However, a major contributor to my feeling of floating anxiety is that it looks like there is no end in sight. Having to keep dealing with COVID-19 and its variants is mentally draining. In addition, the impact of the virus on human behavior and interactions is scary.
People are snapping, losing their cool, and in some cases killing themselves and others over the smallest infringements. Everywhere we encounter people with frayed nerves, short tempers, rude behavior and an outburst of “cussing and fussing.” The challenge faced every day as we go out to shop, eat or work is that we don’t know who among us is about to snap. Unfortunately, there is no useful profile that can be used to give us a heads-up on who is poised to snap. Trying to determine where to go and when to go is a crap shoot. The next meltdown could be in church, at school, in the supermarket or even at home. Still, we must carry on.
If only someone could predict the end of this scourge, it would augur well for both our physical and mental health. We have been conditioned by Hollywood movies to watch deadly aliens and plagues that scare and titillate us, but it ends in two hours or less. Yet this new COVID-19 reality has flipped the script — it’s riding roughshod for the past two years. And instead of fading, this virus is rebooting. The question facing us is, “How do we cope going forward?” In the spirit of sharing some behavioral changes that have helped me cope, I would suggest the following:
1. Accept the fact that COVID-19 has its own timeline — this is not a movie
2. Avoid overdosing on the “talking heads” that masquerade as journalists or politicians with opinions, not facts
3. Vet everybody and assume they might be a carrier — family, friends, in-house service providers, et al.
4. Travel only when necessary and to places that are trying to control the virus
5. Go for a mindful and tranquil daily walk into nature
6. Listen to soothing and/or uplifting music
7. Connect with a higher power — meditate, chant, pray or think positive thoughts.
My list is not intended to be exhaustive or definitive.
In summary, we’ve been holding our breaths (both figuratively and literally) for the past two years, just waiting to exhale.