I was scrunched up in the driver’s seat of my car, in the parking garage of the hospital where my mother was being treated. They only charged $8 if you stayed until midnight, so I stayed in the garage, waiting, just in case.
Thankfully, the nurses allowed me to spend half a day sitting with her, holding her hand, which was probably against policy. I think they made an exception because they knew things were grim. I stayed there with her, played music with her, slept with her, talked to her. She couldn’t respond to me even if she wanted to. She opened her eyes every now and again to look at me.
A week or so later, I was heading into a store and got a call. She had passed away that afternoon.
This all started with Covid. She had contracted the virus in the early months of 2020 when no one knew what was going on. No one was wearing masks at that time. Nevertheless, she beat it and tested negative from then on. But then she had a series of additional health concerns for the entire year that eventually led to her transitioning to Her Heaven.
Clearly, I’m a little annoyed at the pandemic at this point. It’s fresh. Especially since it has affected several people who I was close to, directly and indirectly. I also lost my grandmother, who I was very close with, in the same month as my mom and didn’t get a chance to see her for close to a year thanks to the pandemic.
So, if there’s anything within reason that I can do to help us get through this time, I will do that. I decided to write about it.
As much as we may feel this is the end of the world, countless people in the past have dealt with and emerged from times like this. There have been so many times in decades or centuries before us where people may have felt helpless or hopeless or both, but here we are.
The roaring twenties was an amazing time for so many across the world from Harlem to Paris, but who could have imagined what would have happened in the 1930s. But when we were faced with trauma and drama in those times, what did we do? We got through. Positive energy, thoughts, and actions prevailed.
How can we overcome and move forward? Here are a few points of advice for how I think we can all get through this current crisis in 2021 and beyond.
1. Continue to Wear Your Masks
I cannot understand why anyone would resist wearing a mask (especially when it’s cold outside) when it’s clear that we’re dealing with a respiratory related issue (nose and mouth). Breathing is essential. I advocate wearing two or three masks if possible depending on where you plan to visit.
Benefits of wearing masks:
- You don’t have to have your teeth whitened as often because you have to smile with your eyes (smize).
- There’s no need to purchase lipstick or even chapstick as often because your whole mouth is covered.
- If it’s cold outside, the mask will help keep half of your face warm.
- You are making a statement to the Universe that you care about yourself and others. That’s because you limit how much you are breathing, sneezing, or coughing on other people, and vice versa.
2. Avoid People Who Refuse to Take Protective Measures
We have all come across that person who wears their mask below their nose or refuses to wear a mask when outdoors. Or the person who coughs loudly in the middle of a public place. Early on in the pandemic, I went to the nail salon and one of the technicians stood up and coughed as if he was making an announcement. I promptly got up and left!
Do everything you can to avoid people who won’t take protective measures for your own physical and mental wellbeing. Even if you have a shopping cart full of groceries, put it aside and come back later.
3. Show Respect for Frontline Workers
Every time you go to a grocery shop, home improvement store, school, or healthcare facility for a checkup, you are encountering a frontline worker. These are people who have to encounter numerous people in the span of a day, putting themselves and their loved ones at risk.
Respect and show care for them. Give them little gifts every now and again if you feel compelled. Smile at them. Let them know that you appreciate what you’re doing. Whenever I saw someone going above and beyond for my Mom I sent them lunch. These little things matter.
I believe that it’s also important that frontline workers are paid more to account for the necessary services and products they provide.
4. Care About Others and Check In
If there’s one thing we have all learned as a result of this pandemic, it’s that family and your real friends are all you have in difficult times. This is the time to make the bonds stronger between you and your loved ones. Show that you care by checking in with them, even if it’s just a quick “hey, how are you doing” text every few days. It means everything.
5. Practice Self-Care
Now let’s talk about you. Because you matter.
Self-care should be at the top of your mind at this time. Self-care is waking up each day and asking yourself “what do I need to be okay?” That might be a long hot shower, a bath, a facial, or a good meal. Maybe you need to take a break away from your usual surroundings and go to the park, the beach, or another attraction nearby. Do what will make you feel good, happy, and well so that you can face the rest of your day with confidence.
6. Use This Time to Learn New Things
Have you been thinking about learning a new language? Maybe you want to study the migration patterns of birds. Or maybe you’ve been wanting to listen to every podcast about mental wellness or building a solid business plan, but you’ve never really had the time.
Whether you’re employed or have lost your job due to the pandemic, this is the optimal time to learn new things and do what you’ve been meaning to do for a while. It could put you on the path to a new solid source of income in the near future.
7. Commune with Nature
Mother Nature produces beauty for us all to enjoy every season of the year. In the spring, we get to see renewal. In the summer, we see things grow. In the fall, the leaves turn an array of colors and brighten things up. In the winter, it may be cold and the daylight shorter, but we are shown all kinds of beautiful scenery.
Make it a point to experience Mother Nature each week. Go outside and see the beauty of nature. Enjoy the sun, the sounds, and the visual loveliness that we’ve been blessed with. Talk to your Higher Power and ask for guidance.
8. Minimize Your Exposure to Unfavorable News
If the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning is look at what negative news happened overnight, that’s not likely to be a good start for your day. Instead, wake up and listen to a motivational or inspirational video or podcast. It’s important to stay informed, but you don’t have to be inundated with unfavorable news all day long.
9. Do at Least One Productive Thing Each Day
There are times when you don’t want to do anything at all—just sleep all day or lounge on the couch flipping through Netflix or Hulu shows. This is particularly true when you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, or grief.
No matter how you’re feeling, try to do at least ONE productive thing each day. That could be organizing your recycling trash, wiping down one table so that it’s clean, or just brushing your teeth. You’ll probably feel better just knowing that you did something, anything.
10. Develop a Healthy Routine
When you have a routine, it helps distract you from what’s going on in the rest of the world. You’re just concerned about what’s going on in YOUR world. Your routine starts as soon as you wake up in the morning.
What’s the first thing on your agenda? A shower? Or maybe it’s a delicious breakfast. What will happen after that? Maybe you’ll pick out your outfit for the day and then do some yoga moves. Then do some work. Then grab your mask and go walk or run errands. After that, maybe you’ll decide to make a healthy dinner.
Come up with a daily routine and stick with it. It helps keep you organized, busy, and productive.
11. Believe in the Power of All Things Good
When I call upon a Higher Power, I speak to the Power of All Things Good. It doesn’t matter what your personal belief or religion is, I think that the Power of All Things Good encompasses it all. Believe and trust that all is well. I believe that things can and will get better.
We have to be active participants in making this world better for ourselves, our loved ones, and future generations. We can do it.
Lynn Gilliard is the author of a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU. Her latest book Sing While You’re Single offers advice to women who want to remain single for the time being while still maintaining their belief in the power and possibility of love.