How do you stay calm in the face of the rising public hysteria? It is not easy. If you already suffer from anxiety, my heart goes out to you because it is a Herculean task to manage it today.
When the community is facing a crisis (mostly hurricanes and now COVID-19), I somehow feel a drumbeat in the background. A beat or rhythm that builds. I started feeling it during the run up to hurricanes. I guess it is one of my ways feeling anxiety. It has been thudding in the background for me over the past three weeks.
Yesterday between a cascade of events including talking to my daughter, Dr Taz, reading Angela Merkel’s speech and listening to our own president finally facing reality, I sat back and thought, “We are facing a new normal for quite some time”. Huge changes that none of us have seen in our lifetime are beginning.
My company has instituted very strict travel bans. No mixing and mingling or wining and dining. No Corporate Run, which is a bummer because I have been training for two months. I am fine with that and I’ll write about my Plan B later.
For me, no MeetUps. Limited gym time. This has the potential of being an isolating event. My very social SIL begins working from home today. We all know Dr. Taz at some point will bring it home plus his colleagues traveled extensively, so he wants to avoid spreading it to others. He is young, incredibly fit so his risk is low for a serious case, but he potentially will be a strong transmitter.
On the other hand, my Ex is a smoker who just turned 60. He spent his birthday weekend in late February with the kids, so I asked Taz if he was worried. She said he was oblivious. When my candid SIL (I adore this guy), said that it was targeting older folks who smoked, etc., Taz gave him some major side eye, but my Ex was undeterred. How many people will be like him?
When Angela Markel told Germans that as many as 70% of them will get COVID-19, I took note. When the scientists explained it could take up to two years to reach that saturation point, I took note. When my daughter said that hospitals are telling certain specialists like psychiatrists that they may be called upon to treat patients if the hospital becomes overwhelmed, I took note. When the CBS News studio in NYC was shut down due to a COVID-19 case and they scrambled to use a Boston affiliate, I took note. Sports teams suspending games or paying to empty stadiums are part of our new normal.
When the medical scientists explain that a vaccine is 12-18 months away and how they need to protect the herd so we don’t overwhelm the healthcare system, I take note. How do I stay safe, so I don’t need healthcare? How will I keep food in the house and keep myself entertained and not feeling isolated? Will our supply chain hold?
My strongest trait in the Clifton Strengths is Positivity. I don’t fret too much, but I am also a strategic thinker (my second strongest trait). I see all types of implications for those I love and for me.
I see big implications for my company. Can the CEO steer the ship through the storm with all the crew? I made a suggestion to my boss earlier this week that would save us hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is being considered by Senior Leadership. It will save jobs.
Hang on folks, we are in for a bumpy, stressful and scary ride over the next year. Be smart, stay strong.