The impact of the COVID-19 virus continues to rage on.
As the weeks and months accumulate, the number of infections and related health issues continue to spike. Nearly everyone has been impacted in one form or another.
Many have realized a life-changing medical event either individually or within their family.
Millions of us have been thrown into the teeth of the economic downturn. Some have lost their jobs or seen their salaries reduced.
Normal day-to-day activities such as grocery shopping, travel, and attending school continue to be compromised, often amidst great debate and controversy. Lest we forget, the reminders of these occurrences appear daily on the news and social media.
During these trying times, it would be easy to face bouts of depression and/or turn to drugs and alcohol as a misguided antidote. Instead here are some action steps you can take to better maintain your emotional and physical health for not only now, but also for the long-term.
1. Believe in something greater than yourself. My family and friends have an unwavering belief in God and that God will steer us through these crises. America and the world have faced world wars, famine, and depressions and the nation has always found a way to not only survive but greatly succeed once the crisis is over. A belief in a higher power can serve as a beacon when times seem desperate. Also finding a worthy cause can help you focus on serving those less fortunate whether it’s feeding the hungry, helping the downtrodden find jobs or another charitable endeavor. One can certainly find a cause worth pursuing.
2. Develop new goals and objectives. Many are using this time to enhance their skills, develop a new hobby, change careers or find new ways to improve their lives. The increased amount of home shuttering has provided individuals with the incentive to learn about new potential opportunities from both a professional and social aspect. Individuals are spending more time studying these options and revising their long term dreams and aspirations. This provides positive energy as you not only define your goals but create an action plan to accomplish them.
3. Maintain consistency. Once you establish your new goals check your progress on a daily basis. The technology exists to monitor your activity on your PC, tablet, and/or iPhone. These daily check-ins will help you keep your goals top-of-mind, adjust your plan as necessary, and prevent you from floating off course. It also keeps your enthusiasm at a high level.
4. Accentuate communication with friends and social connections. Despite the quarantine and ongoing advice to remain at home, many individuals have found creative ways to still keep in touch with friends and colleagues and adhere to health guidelines. As has been documented in the media, outdoor patio get-togethers can provide necessary social interaction. Outdoor fitness activities such as walking, running, and biking with friends can help maintain social balance as well as contribute to your physical health. Zoom calls, email, phone conversations, and other aspects of social media can also help overcome the feelings of loneliness and despair.
5. Discuss personal challenges with parents and mentors. Young adults and others often feel lonely and disconnected even in normal times. The pandemic has supersized these issues. Discussing one’s personal dilemmas with a spouse or parent can help bring those challenges to the forefront and create a worthwhile response. However, those who would rather seek other alternatives can join a peer group and/or work with a mentor or coach. Some nonprofit organizations offer a coach at no charge. Coaches can offer a different perspective from a family member, one that is totally objective without the baggage of past experiences. In many cases, the coach may have already faced the same issues as the individual and can offer real-world advice for a better and faster solution.
Bruce Sheridan is the Board President of Life Compass Inc. in St. Louis. Life Compass is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization designed to serve God by coaching young adults to plan and live a fulfilling God-centered life. Sheridan is a local business consultant and a former executive with a Fortune 500 company. Sheridan helms Life Compass whose goal is not to serve as a therapist or social worker but rather provide a coach to help those 18-28 develop a sense of purpose, a relationship with God, and a lifelong journey of caring for themselves. For additional information visit https://lifecomp.org.