The coronavirus pandemic is creating a situation, unlike anything, most of us have experienced in our lifetime. There have been a variety of epidemics, natural disasters, economic downturns, and tragic events – but none with the degree of impact across our physical and mental health, our financial and relationship well-being, and other aspects of life – all at the same time.

Early in the cycle of the pandemic, I was speaking with a college friend and we were both reminded of an event that happened during our college years (Three Mile Island). I was reminded again when the toilet paper jokes started circulating as they had a similar feeling to the radiation jokes shared on campus. While Three Mile Island had nowhere near the effect in either scope or duration, I found it interesting to see some of the parallels in how human behaviors were unfolding – behaviors which will hold memories for a lifetime, as mine from Three Mile Island do.

  • First, disbelief in what is occurring and the search for information. Now, we see daily updates on TV, via Facebook, and every other media imaginable.
  • For those who believed in the seriousness of the coronavirus, they experienced varying levels of fear, panic, and confusion regarding what actions to take. It was reflected in the empty shelves at supermarkets, the hoarding of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. As people started to stay indoors, there were adjustments in daily routines, finding technological solutions, and numerous cancellations of planned events.
  • As the reality of the coronavirus set in, communities were created. Facebook pages with support for small business owners were started and town groups worked together to feed students who depend on school lunches. Numerous free resources were offered (and continue to be) on everything from how to make hand sanitizer to tips on running virtual meetings.
  • Then, of course, the humor about the pandemic came out – with toilet paper jokes, revised movie titles, and the creation of new words like covidiot, coronials, and quaranteenagers.
  • Next, the creativity and collaboration emerged. Business pivoted their product lines to support immediate medical and other core human needs, people shared musical interludes from balconies, and exercise classes were led from rooftops – to name a few.
  • Then of course there is the reality that comes with the coronavirus – the loss of lives, homes, livelihoods. The re-assessment of our relationships, careers, and how we spend our money. The gratitude for what we have, the questioning of what is next, and eventually the way this pandemic will change many of us forever.

As we go through an event that throws us off balance, whether that be our sense of safety or our entire way of being, it is important to allow ourselves time to process. It unfolds differently for each of us and it is important to honor where you are – no matter what it feels like. If you hear people telling you what you should be doing or feeling, simply take a deep breath, mentally step back and ask yourself what you need, rather than listen to anyone else.

If you find yourself needing some additional support during this challenging time to help you feel more stable and clear, please contact me for a complimentary coaching conversation.

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