Lately, I’ve been reflecting a lot on how I’m going to cope with the unknowns around how long restrictions and safety protocols related to the pandemic are going to last. In some ways, I have just radically accepted the situation – there isn’t much I can do but try to go with the flow and follow the rules. I’m using problem-solving skills for other situations. For example, I expect I won’t get to spend time with my family for holidays or special events (e.g., birthdays), but I might be able to do this with friends in our “pod.” Still, the most frustrating part about all of this is knowing that no matter what you plan for, the circumstances could change before those plans come to fruition.
This leads me to a new way of thinking about my time during the COVID-19 – considering how I want to look back on this time. Sometimes life presents us with no-win situations. Even though there isn’t always a way to get a positive outcome or a “win,” we can still make choices in accordance with our values, ethics, and morals. While this approach doesn’t solve the problem, it can prevent us from further suffering (which almost always occurs when we don’t act in ways that are aligned with our values). So, when you look back on your time during this pandemic, how do you want to feel about the choices you made? Is there anything you hope to have accomplished? How does all of this reflect on you and who you are (or who you want to be)? How might reflecting on this help drive you toward a sense of meaning and purpose in an otherwise pretty chaotic time? Keep in mind that I’m not necessarily suggesting that we should all be using this time to take on new challenges. For some of us, the goal might be more along the lines of doing our best to stay focused on self-care or being as compassionate as we can be to those around us.