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  • Writer's pictureDr. Rachel Hallmark

Coronavirus... a possible silver lining?

By now, we are all saturated with hearing about Coronavirus. I promise this blog won’t be more of the same. I'm not here to predict "how bad" this is going to get, or tell you something you haven't already read in 3 other places but still can't tell how true it is.

This virus is scary, it is real, and it is here. And we have to deal with it.

I have a bit of an anxiety condition, and it has already been a long month of watching this virus slowly move across the globe and into our own communities. A month of feeling fairly helpless, and a bit scared, and well... anxious.

I made it through last weekend (3/7-3/8) without worrying too much about what was coming. We did unknowingly contribute to the “rush” on TP, but only because we were doing as we were told, and preparing to possibly be staying home for 2+ weeks. We made a trip to Target and the grocery store, and tried to think about what we needed most (we only bought one package of TP!).

And then Monday (3/9), on my way to work, I hit my own “panic button” - I started worrying a lot about the financial implications of this thing on my fledgling small business. Monday was a rough day at work, because I couldn't seem to think about much else. So I ended my work day Monday with a call to my psychotherapist. With her help, and a lot of additional thought and introspection, I'm now looking at it like this:

First - this could have financial implications for a lot of people, not just me. And it will totally suck if that happens. I think that the first step is acknowledging the validity of this concern. There are real financial implications of this for me and thousands (millions?) of other people. A lot of us though (like myself) will be fine. We may have to rearrange our financial priorities for awhile, but we’ll be okay. Other people are in a much more tenuous situation... and I am more worried for them. I hope that our government will do the right thing and support its people during this stressful and strange time.

So really, a lot of us are actually more just frustrated because this has the potential to screw up our "ideal future life." For example, in my ideal, I would be working for these weeks, use the money to pay down bills, and then take a vacation in April when my kids have time off to go for a trip somewhere. I would have my son’s birthday party in April around his actual birthday. My husband would spend the next month watching March Madness (not my ideal, lol).

I think it is important to acknowledge these sacrifices also. And not just my little examples - some people are cancelling weddings, “trips of a lifetime,” final semesters at college, and things of that nature. I know very few people who are fairly unaffected by this situation. WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. WE ARE ALL GIVING UP SOMETHING.

Right now, we have to do what makes the most sense for the common good. In the grand scheme of things, I'd rather deal with a disappointed 6 year old having a birthday party 3 months late, than to knowingly contribute to the deaths of anyone's grandparents by spreading this around even more. (And I'd rather lose a year's worth of income than potentially a quarter of my patients!)

And that brings me to... the message. Thanks for bearing with me.

It took all week, and there have been bumps in the road, but I have finally decided that:

IF I am forced to stay home for awhile, I am going to have the BEST STAYCATION EVER!

I am going to get caught up on paperwork (hasn’t happened in a year), do yoga and start meditating regularly, get my garden rocking (like I didn’t have time to last year), play with my kids, and plan healthy meals at home. And then if still time to kill, organize and clean my house, and maybe read some books!

I have been working so hard for so long (and I know I’m not alone... this is America!) that I have almost lost sight of all of the other things that I have slowly given up along the way to make that possible. And I have bemoaned the pace of our society repeatedly, and longed for a “chance to catch up.” THIS IS OUR CHANCE! To slow down. Breathe deep. Catch up on “life.” And appreciate the things we have, without going anywhere.

**I think this pandemic may ultimately have some good effect on our entire society - to refocus us on ALL of the good things that we do have in our lives, even with having to restrict the many "luxuries" that have become so normal for us.**

I previously declared that 2020 was going to be the "year of CLARITY" - this event certainly stands to help us see things in a whole new light!

Be well everyone.  (wash your hands, limit exposures, and don't over-read the media!)

p.s. I do understand that I am making some of these statements about "appreciating what we have" from a perspective of some degree of privilege. Like I said above, some in our society will face a much more difficult path these next few weeks. Please do what you can to take care of each other!

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