Earlier this year I wrote and published extensively on the impact of losing so many friends and family pre-pandemic. Now that I have experienced the massive death tolls in New York in general, and Brooklyn, where I am a Dean of a School of Business, I have written extensively on strategies to uplift our spirits in these times of crisis.
It has been difficult to watch and grieve the daily struggle for mortal and economic life. The losses to the virus have staggered pain across our community. Many are saddened because we are fighting an enemy we cannot see — one in which we hide and yet it finds us in our darkest hours. So then how can we navigate to the light?
Strategies to calm the spirit
In several stories, in Thrive Global I suggest what I call “nature therapy” Substituting for the daily commute for a new morning ritual such as walks or rides through parks, beaches, wooded areas, or anywhere one can connect and commune with the beauty of nature and breath unfiltered air helps re-set the stillness of the night and reinvigorates one for the on-coming day. I personally enjoy taking quick photos almost as a diary of the time and season. Unfortunately, within weeks of the “Stay-at-home” mandate, many of the parks, beaches, and other natural areas closed… but the photos continue to channel memories that bring joy. Since the closing of the parks, short drives through old and new neighborhoods give a sense of exploration and release from the confines of solitude and isolation; it reminds us that our neighbors are among us — just outside our touch.
Reduce the consumption of news and other media that can increase anxiety and stress. Replace pandemic media consumption with more inspirational activities that give energy rather than take it away. Spend more time in meditation, exercise, reading, writing, journaling, or any creative expression that can give release. The time spent in self-reflection, awareness, and growth tends to strengthen the spirit and helps guard against the wariness of the crisis.
Expand your professional network community – you have a captive audience. Now that all communication is digital and virtual, it is the perfect time to increase connections. Most are working remotely – not traveling or in face-to-face meetings. Use LinkedIn or other professional platforms to grow, engage, enlighten, and inspire your community. Everyone is impacted by the grief and mourning of the worldwide pandemic. For those professionals and entrepreneurs who are creative, innovative and agile, there will be many new opportunities to help shape the transition to the new world economy.
Finally, stay connected to your world, your friends, your family. While we cannot visit face to face, we can use technology to leverage our connections. It may be decades before the scientific world decomposes what this mandated isolation has done to our minds, souls, and spirits. In the interim, we should minimize the feelings of loneliness by strategic scheduling of phone, conference and video calls with friends, family, and colleagues. Our family has scheduled weekly Face time calls with friends who are far away. My granddaughter has virtual play dates on the iPad.
No one knows when the crisis will end – it is not in our control. What we can control is what we do every day to live our best lives – even in the midst of the pandemic storm.