A new normal.
That’s the latest description of this confusing time we’re in. We are literally in the middle of a global pandemic that has ravaged through each continent, took a hit at hospitals and emergency rooms, and created a lot of business for funeral homes.
“Unprecedented times” we call it. There is no guide on how to get through a global pandemic in 2020.
The serenity prayer comes into play in my field of work often, as I work with folks trying to maintain their sobriety.
“God, give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”.
Let’s break that down, it’s more relevant today than ever.
Accepting what I cannot change. This has always been hard for me. I’m passionate about making change, fighting for social justice, and honestly, I feel better being in control.
I have the courage to change a whole lot, working with one of the toughest, most complex, and vulnerable populations.
I help folks whether or not they’re ready to be helped.
I advise alcoholics who have an important appointment for social security or housing to take a nip before going into their meeting, because otherwise they would go into withdrawal.
I provide a safe place for addicts to spend their day in between shooting up, because we can’t monitor for their safety on the street.
The harm reduction model keeps addicts alive so when they are ready to accept the help, they’ll be alive to do it. (Thank god for narcan!)
We can’t change someone who doesn’t want to be changed.
Likewise, we can’t end a global pandemic that has only just begun. There won’t be a vaccine for quite a bit of time, in the grief process of all we have missed out on or lost I am in the acceptance phase.
I won’t, however, accept things as they are. I won’t stay inside and binge Netflix (not everyday, anyway). I won’t mope about not being able to go to the movies, celebrate Pride, go to summer concerts, and vacation in Florida.
Here’s what I’ll do instead, I encourage you to try some of these too.
1) Spend time with your loved ones, however you can.
Check on each other, and do it intentionally. In this digital age, it is so easy to stay connected with your loved ones via FaceTime, FB Messenger Video, or my newest favorite, Zoom!
Add some structure in your life, and schedule these visits or hangouts in advance. It will give you something to look forward to. Living close to my family, we have also had visits in person, in lawn chairs 6 feet apart.
There’s just something about seeing your loved ones in person after not seeing them for a while that really makes you appreciate what you’ve got.
2) Move your body!
Exercise in a way that makes you feel good, get the blood flowing and bring on those endorphins. Personally, I enjoy going on hikes with my pup, riding the stationary bike at my apartment complex gym, and doing yoga.
I believe in the importance of embracing exercise as means to feel good, not to lose weight or be skinny. I exercise because I feel better after I move my body. I exercise because I feel more powerful as I get stronger. I cannot stress this enough – we are in crisis mode.
Go easy on yourselves, do what makes you feel good in every aspect of your life.
3) Get outside.
Go to the beach, go for a hike, read a book on your porch, lay in the sun, go to the pool.
I have never spent a beautiful summer day (with proper hydration and lots of sunscreen!) and regretted it after. Embrace nature, vitamin D, and all the beautiful world has to offer.
Do this safely: wear a mask when you cannot safely remain 6 feet apart, don’t go with people you don’t live with. Carry out what you bring in.
The pandemic has cleared the air in many smoggy, polluted spots. By taking a pause on life as we knew it, our planet is thanking us!
4) Learn something new.
As I scrolled through social media at the beginning of the pandemic, it seemed like everyone had become a professional baker and mastered the sourdough loaf recipe overnight.
Whether it’s baking, writing, drawing, yoga, knitting, or learning the inside scoop behind the BLM movement, how to be an ally (which I’m hopeful for many of you, you’re working on this!)
5) Allow yourselves time to rest.
Between worrying about coronavirus and the toll it is taking on our friends and families across the world, and fighting for the lives of BIPOC, it’s easy to get burnt out.
Rest, embrace self-care, meditate, drink water, and continue carrying on. Go easy on yourself!
As I’ve said, this global pandemic is not over. States and countries can continue to open, but for as long as there is not a vaccine and there are still positive cases, we will be dealing with this new normal for a while.
Embracing what is going on, even when it’s hard will allow you to sit in the acceptance phase and keep moving forward.