By Kate Miller
When I am perplexed by something I tend to dig deep for answers, so between obsessively scrolling Facebook (not true research) and straight up reviewing NIH and CDC websites, and Google (but of course) I find the coronavirus being compared to a 100-year epidemic. The last major flu outbreak that left many deceased was the 1918 flu pandemic, commonly known as the Spanish Flu.
Simply google flu, or 1918, and there will be plenty of articles from various cities. Try googling the same by adding the city St. Louis. What do you find? Turns out St. Louis quickly implemented a self-isolation plan effectively saving many lives. St. Louis officials were quick to watch other cities, reviewed the flu pattern, prepared a plan of protection, and quickly implemented said plan.
As I think about the leadership and citizens of St. Louis, and their readiness, I question if I am ready like them.
Do I have a plan in place? Do I know what will happen with my clients? Do I know what will happen with my children’s schooling? I am coming up with zero answers. Panic is not far behind, but…I step back along with phone calls with friends and family and know that panic is not about to solve any questions. If anything, it will add fuel to my white hot fear.
The questions I ask myself are how do I personally allay my fear in this very unusual moment in time? I turn to meditation and/or prayer. And when I calm my racing mind and begin reviewing what is happening, I have to realize I cannot control this virus. I can only control myself, so how miserable and fearful do I want to be for several weeks?
How will you spend the next few weeks? This would seem like an opportune time to discover or rediscover your favorite ways to tame fear and runaway thoughts. I found this very fast read on verywellmind.com (https://www.verywellmind.com/healthy-ways-to-face-your-fears-4165487). I personally like short, brief, and quick lists, especially when I am trying to find my bearings in completely unknown circumstances.
Oddly enough, when my mind is centered and calm, fun comes to mind, and I think of fun things for me in this situation. I jump start the process by reflecting on my life. I find it fun to reminisce, then compare to life right now, and then think about my future. This reminiscing always highlights where I have been deficient in self-care, and where I punted on taking charge, resulting in a less happier present tense. It is these moments that help me reflect on, why I am holding back. What can I do later today or soon that unleashes the joy in me?!
Coronavirus and self-isolation is finding me in a great deal of reflection, and doing a great deal of action-planning for post isolation. As I think about those St. Louis officials – I am prepared, mentally strong, and ready to adjust to an unknown environment.
However, St. Louis officials aside, the single most profound highlight of this coronavirus self-isolation for me is the absolute forced presence with my family. We are together in a way that we normally are not. Of course we visit after school, eat meals together, go to the park, or walk around our neighborhood, but we’re together. In this intense moment of togetherness, I am keenly aware of my family. I notice the small flicks of joy in their eyes. I notice the fatigue after long homework sessions. I see the worry on the brow. This time of being so physically close together is intoxicatingly beautiful, but also profoundly hurtful when I realize on most days I am missing connections left and right, and the next question is why?
During this period of self-isolation ask yourself what you can learn in this moment? Where is your self-care suffering? How do you really act with your family, and what needs to change? What changes do you really want to make in your career? How are your friendships?
While I generally meet people on their career journeys, most often we uncover the behind-the-scenes business of living life, finding self-care, family, spouses, and other stuff creating cloudy visions of one’s self. If you need any help at this time – reach out. There are no solo journeys right now only CDC recommended physical space. If you want to talk or ask for recommendations, contact me at https://www.linkedin.com/in/katemillerlifecoach/.