January 16, 2021
Pandemic

3 Ways To Become More Caring In The Pandemic

I’ve been thinking a lot about you recently.
 
How are you doing? No, not that perfunctory “I hope you don’t really answer truthfully” how are you doing question. I mean, with profound concern, how are you really doing?
 
It was about a year ago that we were getting reports of some strange events in Wuhan. A 61-year-old man had died from a mysterious pneumonia of unknown etiology. Shortly thereafter, a 61-year-old woman in Thailand died from the same mysterious ailment. There was no link between the two of them.
 
By January 25, 2020, the invisible killer became COVID-19, and it began travelling like a king tide looking for hosts through the US, Canada, Europe, indeed, the world. Life seemed to alter overnight.
 
Today, as I write, the globe has just passed 2 million deaths across 214 countries. The virus has now infected just under 100 million people.
 
So, I’ll ask again, how are you really doing?
 
It’s an important question to ask. Now, more than ever, we need to be asking our families, work teams, neighbours, and others how they really are doing. We can’t be smug and assume all is well. It’s likely not.
 
There are stress points, and then there are stress points.

The pandemic feels like we've been gargling a hot cup of fat by ourselves in our homes for the better part of a year. Click To Tweet

Maybe you’ve felt the impact of COVID-19 directly. Whether you’ve had to deal with the disease in your own body, someone else’s, or a member of your immediate circle has died from it; there is no escaping the constancy of its presence.
 
Some of you have children. Many of those children are desperately trying to keep it together, be it due to remote learning, isolation issues, or not having the chance to play outside with friends. The burden children face is only exacerbated by parents trying their best to help their offspring as best they can. It just doesn’t feel right to see a five-year-old wearing a mask.
 
Some of you have lost your job. Maybe you’re now underemployed. Hours were cut. Many of you have been forced to work from home, stuck in a time warp of mundanity, missing the camaraderie and bad jokes of your teammates. I, for one, miss body language. The webcam lens is nice, but there’s something to be said about physically observing how someone smiles, frowns, or gesticulates at another lousy PowerPoint presentation.
 
Then there are some of you who venture off into the virus fray, deemed an essential worker. Healthcare workers are my new superheroes, but so too are the teachers and academics (like my better half, Denise). They courageously enter a school every day to deliver a socially distanced curriculum. (For those cities where in-person learning is still allowed.)

The grocery staff, restaurant cooks and servers, and anyone that gets up, gets dressed and allows people like me—the home worker—to be suitably nourished deserve a lifetime badge of honour. Having been a grocer in my teens, I can fully empathize with their situation.
 
The news is no help either. Sure, there is hope with the recent release of various vaccines. Still, the daily case counts, infection rates, and death numbers do nothing to assuage our plight and predicament of the cockamamie “coronavirus.” It’s never-ending, and it’s neverendingly stressful.

Remind me, why did I agree to dry January?

What can you do?

 
I’d like us to take care of one another a little better in 2021 and beyond. I think we need a little more self-care as well.

The pandemic has provided us with an opportunity. Despite the dark and gloomy shadow that it continues to cast, I urge you to get real. I implore you to use this time to reinstate compassion.
 
First, set time aside to go deeper with the “how are you doing” question. This is no time to be flippant. Dig. Press. Cajole. Investigate. Peer. Prod. Open. Love. It’s time for you to invest in your relationships.
 
Second, pay it forward. Maybe you can bake some cookies or regift a book you’ve already read to somebody. Perhaps you’ve seen a movie, show or TED Talk that you could share with someone. Simply put, pay it forward – gift others with something that will make them a) feel good and b) remember that you really do care about them.
 
And third, drop your guard. No one is going to award you a trophy for being a Teflon pan of impenetrable emotions. Ask for help. Ask for money. Ask for those baked cookies. Ask for an ear. Ask for love. Do not be afraid to ask others for what you need to make it through this vastitude of unease.
 
If you can, please share below in the comments how you’ve helped others throughout the pandemic. If you simply need an ear and want to drop a line of concern, leave it below as well and we (and others) can have an online discussion to help. I promise you it may even be cathartic.
 
Wishing you all the best.
 
And please, take care.

PS. Please leave a suggestion, tip, reply, question or concern below in the comments. We’re all in this together.

 
Cheers
dp

6 Replies to “3 Ways To Become More Caring In The Pandemic”

  1. Inspirational and motivational as always, Dan. Living here in PEI, I feel my privilege at how our Island has handled the pandemic and how safe we are as a result (103/159,000 infections, all travel related; no hospitalizations; no deaths). Of course, being an Island with only one airport, one bridge, and one ferry (closed for the winter) are assets. But still. We are also privileged in having a highly competent Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Heather Morrison, who has no qualms about giving us the straight goods and taking drastic measures. So how am I doing? Just fine. But I worry about family, friends, and colleagues who are in very different situations than mine. I worry a lot.

  2. Our good friends have been hosting a weekly trivia night over Zoom & Kahoot! that has connected many of us across the country and abroad. It has given us something to look forward to, be able to safely connect and share time together. And now have raised many funds (>$8000 & climbing) for local charities with people donating what they can along the way. #Silverlinings #Communitycare #McFunIsolationTrivia

    1. Oh my gosh, Melanie! This is so fantastic. It’s one thing to stay connected with others in unique ways, but it’s a whole other level to raise funds and donate them to local charity. Big kudos to you and your friends. (It reminds me that I should get on organizing the next iteration of Speak Aid!)

  3. Hi Dan, yes I’ve embraced all of that and we as a practice have sometimes been working for free, sometimes half price, whatever, listening, virtual arm round the shoulders, asking How are you and demanding a proper reply. As the latest lock down bites, more folk are getting ill, Covid and cancers, some no doubt stress related and its taking its toll when every phone call starts one way and quickly veers into darker areas. My logic is to keep everything, clients, my family, their families, the wider biz ecosystem, going, even if creaking and frayed at the edges, as long as we can. And make sure we touch base with all who touch us – like you! Regularly and with some remark so show you matter. Keep the faith! This will pass.

    1. Wonderful words (and behaviours to model) my friend. Indeed, this too shall pass. Humane people like you, Nick, ensure that it will pass with far more compassion and dignity. Thanks for being a shining light over there on the other side of the pond.

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