The Needs of the Many
When you first heard the message and purpose of staying home during the Covid-19 outbreak, did it make sense to you? Staying home, even when you’re not sick, can somehow protect someone you don’t even know from getting sick? I’ve heard the sentiment enough times now to understand the reasoning behind it; still it seemed pretty trivial to be considered a critical step or even an act of service! But then I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes from my nerdy Star Trek past. The quote is from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Dr. Spock tells Captain Kirk:
“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”
How’s that for a truth bomb for the world we find ourselves living in today! This is why we stay home. This is why we practice social distancing. This is how we protect someone we don’t even know from getting a disease we can’t quite contain – because the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. And while we can feel good about that, it still doesn’t make it an easy thing to do. It does, however, make it a worthy and charitable thing to attempt. So while you’re sheltering in place, I’d like to offer you a few resources to help you navigate this uncertain time.
This is key! What are you telling yourself in your head? Are you focusing on fear or possibility? It’s easy to slip into a fearful thought pattern when there is so much uncertainty. The first step to mastering your mindset is simply to become aware of the thoughts you have in your head. No matter what is going on in the world, your world is your thoughts. Become aware of the tone of your thoughts. If you’re thinking “impending doom!” you’re not doing yourself any favors. Simply notice your thoughts, thank them for trying to protect you, and then choose a more loving, caring, or generous thought. This may sound frivolous to you, but trust me, it works!
Be Gentle with Yourself
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a really hard time accomplishing much, even with all of this “free time.” And I felt like I should be accomplishing a lot, because probably like you, my culture impressed upon me early on that I wasn’t worth much if I wasn’t accomplishing or producing or working very hard at something. My knee-jerk response to that conditioning is to mentally reprimand (read: brutalize) myself for being lazy, weak, or incompetent. So I’m making a conscious effort not to do that (re-read Tip 1!). Also nothing in our past has prepared us for the completely unique scenario we find ourselves in today. We are living in and through an unprecedented time. Nothing is normal now, and it may not be for the foreseeable future. The fact that I’m not accomplishing one thing after another may actually be helpful in the long run. My body and psyche really needed a break! I’m sleeping better than usual, knowing I don’t have to set an alarm. And my body has responded beautifully by waking up at a surprisingly consistent time. Without constantly pushing myself I find I can sprinkle my day with small accomplishments (cleaning a drawer, preparing a simple meal) and mentally “high five” myself for chipping away at my list. You must be kind to yourself first if you hope to be compassionate toward others. Turns out I actually accomplish more when I’m nice to myself. Who knew?
Try Something New and Fun
There are so many generous people online offering things free of charge right now to help people get through this crisis. I just downloaded a 7 Minute Workout app and it’s awesome! It’s free until the end of May, but I might stay with it after that time because I’m getting so much value from it and I want to reward this company for their generosity. Maybe now is the time for you to start juicing celery first thing in the morning, or meditating. If you’re particularly stressed out, I recommend you try EFT tapping with the app The Tapping Solution. Another favorite of mine is Qi Gong. Qi Gong master Chunyi Lin is doing lots of live things on Facebook, and Lee Holden has an app called Qi Gong for Energy & Vitality with free content and full workouts for purchase at just $5.99. Both of these men have lots of free trainings on YouTube as well. YouTube is a great resource for all things creative. You can find videos of anything from learning to paint, play an instrument, or build a table. Don’t underestimate the power of play! Give yourself this gift and you will come out even stronger, healthier, and more resilient at the end of this quarantine.
This is just a short list to get you started. I know you can come up with many more things that fit you and your particular situation when you start searching. If you’d like assistance with any of the suggestions above, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up a time to talk. We will get through this together because the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Wise words, indeed.
Live long and prosper!