Needless to say, many of us find ourselves feeling a little out of sorts these days. Some of us are much, much busier (like this mom who feels like she has 5 jobs) and some of us are downright bored. It’s probably safe to say that a lot of us are fairly scared. And many of us are feeling pretty darn helpless.
How do you find hope in a world turned upside down?
We all have our different ways of coping during troubled times.
Do you obsessively consume all news and data you can find? (Actually, hold off on clicking that link, it’s pretty upsetting.)
Perhaps you meditate to separate your consciousness from the onslaught of negative information…? (If so, got any tips for me? I really need to practice more.)
Or do you turn to tv for some much needed escapism? (Here’s a great list of what to watch, read and listen to during your down time, and here’s yet another akin to comfort food but on tv. Theatre and opera options are aplenty too!)
Do you reach out to friends and family and your greater community online to share your thoughts and feelings? (I know I’m checking Facebook a lot more than I used to! We’re all in this together, right? That sense of community is helping me tremendously.)
Or perhaps, like me, you find your calm in the simpler things, like listening to Sir Patrick Stewart read Shakespeare sonnets.
To be honest, I probably do a little of all of the above.
As a working, single mom, last week I added to my already hectic life the additional roles of: homeschool teacher, housekeeper, disaster preparedness director, exhausted cheerleader, three-meals-a-day-chef (“Mom i don’t want grilled cheese again!!”), quarantine cleanup crew, creative PE instructor, virtual playdate organizer and on and on and on.
Alongside my other working mom colleagues, I’m each day drowning in the tug-o-war between responding to this pandemic from a business standpoint (how do we survive) and managing an extroverted, high-spirited eight-year-old boy who is really, really, really bored. Not to mention, along with many others out there, I canceled my highly-anticipated, much-needed spring vacation. (It was to Hawaii - well that sucks!)
That said, I’m grateful to work for a company that is both agile and understanding. They responded immediately to this shift with kindness and flexibility, allowing me to deliver impactful work at all times of the day and night, but also suddenly drop off a conference call in order to attend a teacher zoom lesson with my son or, for example, just to clean up the peanut butter disaster of March 19th, 2020.
But even with my company’s support and the funny posts from my friends, more and more, I began to feel helpless. The data trajectories would look bad. I’d go to bed, and wake up to them looking worse. The political disconnects on how to handle this pandemic create anxiety in my heart and I find myself at times temporarily frozen in shock. Is this really happening? How will this turn out and when will it end?
In texting with my good friend Amanda Navar, Director of Development at the Boys & Girls Club of the Foothills, I was quickly reminded (as many of us are) that my situation is a walk in the park. There are many people out there, many children, who are simply trying to survive, and this pandemic is making it much, much harder. So I donated some money. And ya know what? It felt really good. (I guess you can file that under “duh”.)
Of course, this shouldn’t be so surprising, as research shows that helping others makes us happier. So I say, if you’re feeling a little at the end of your rope and the “singing from balcony” videos just aren’t giving you the same lift in happiness anymore, then give it a try. Find a way to help. To get you started, here are some ideas about how and where you can help the world right now.
Fast forward several days (which feel like weeks right now, amiright?)... I found myself on a conference call early one morning with our executives and my colleagues asking the same question -- how can we help? I was again proud of my company in its response to this crisis by merely asking that question. It was inspiring to see how we worked together (many from impromptu desks at home) immediately creating a plan to offer our hiring solution to front line responding organizations for free. That felt good. That gave me hope.
This is what life and humanity are all about. This is how we will survive. Together, helping each other.
I believe in all of us as a team. We can pull through this together. Here’s to you finding a little hope in helping others too!
Katherine Johnson is Director of Marketing for Checkster and enjoys hiking, snowboarding and swimming when not stuck at home due to a pandemic