A bonus COVID-19 episode and post by certified life coach and Optimal Living Advice host, Greg Audino.
This episode on Optimal Living Advice has no number. It is an interruption from your regularly scheduled podcasting. This episode, my friends, is the coronavirus holiday special.
And what is the COVID-19 holiday special? Well, we all know what’s going on.
For once — maybe the only time you’ll ever live through this — most of the world is bonded by the same concern. Though we like to stay in our lane, if we know all our listeners are weighed down by something, whether it shows up as nerves about health, nerves about the economy, nerves about the media — we’re going to offer advice as to how to get through these trying times.
Before I begin, I do want to note that if you want to hear practical tips from a medical standpoint, which you probably should, I recommend you tune into this past Friday’s episode of Optimal Health Daily in which Dr. Neal discusses those. That is clearly out of my element — I’ll be talking here about what I know best, which is helping you manage your difficult feelings in this time, feelings which have become just as much of a pandemic at this point in time.
A Bit About My Life… And Yours
I’m going to open by telling you all that I do have personal stock in this virus. I’m not coming at this from some sort of weird immunity. My brother lives in Italy, right in the mix of everything. He’s been in full lockdown for a while now. My father is 81, and due to his age is highly susceptible. And my mother, who’s 67, is someone I’m in constant contact with, so should I contract the coronavirus, there’s a strong chance she could catch it from me. I also have literal stock in this, and my money has just been vanishing these past few weeks. Good times, good times.
What I want you to do is think about your own life for a second. Forget the coronavirus. Think about the natural ebbs and flows of your life; the ups and downs. You expect good and bad. You expect trying times, right? You expect triumphs, right? You expect to grow and progress steadily. You expect to learn things over time. You’ve already done plenty of that; I don’t care if you just came out of the womb yesterday.
The Psychology of These Difficult Times with COVID-19
Amidst some of those trying times, however, there are difficult times you may or may not have to go through. Maybe a house burning down, getting in a terrible car accident, or the loss of a child. Contracting an infectious disease would count too, I suppose. There are also difficult times you’ll probably have to go through, but try not to dwell on any more than you have to, like the loss of your parents or having your heart broken.
We tend to avoid excessive thinking about these things because they make us feel bad, and we’d rather not cloud ourselves with such thoughts unless we’re faced with these dilemmas and have no choice but to confront them. We do our regular thing of prioritizing present issues and avoiding future concerns for the sake of maintaining present joy. And the avoidance of those thoughts makes those types of difficult times that much more difficult if and when we do face them.
We often feel as if we don’t deserve these things. We’re confused because we haven’t spent much time calculating our lives and identities once these types of things have happened. This makes for a lot of hurt, a lot of defensiveness. Much like what we’re feeling now with the effects of COVID-19.
But after we go through those trying times like the ones I’ve mentioned, we often reflect on them as learning experiences. We might still feel pain over them, but we come out of them stronger, they teach us a little bit more of what life is really about, and we have new-found resilience that helps us to take future pain a little bit more in stride.
We face our pain, we deal with it, and we learn.
The Truth about The Struggle
You may be thinking to yourself, “Yes, Greg, everyone knows we learn from our struggles and come out stronger on the other side of them. We hear it 800 times a week between Instagram, airport Hilton seminars, and Optimal Living Advice.” But stop right there, because that’s not where this post ends.
While that is true, a pandemic shifts our focus away from the state of ourselves and more onto the state of the whole world, and I’d venture to guess a lot of people are wondering if the world comes out of this okay more than if WE come out of this okay.
The good news, the TRUTH, and the point of this post, is that what we just discussed, what we know to be true about the dynamics of our own individual existences, serves as a microcosm for the world as a whole, the world that we’re concerned about. After all, the earth is made up of its people, so it will work the same way.
The coronavirus, like any other pandemic, is right on schedule. It’s one of the downs, one of the trying times that the planet goes through. And like our trying times as individuals, we’ve enjoyed our time away from it, not given it much thought, and now we’ve collectively arrived frazzled, worried, and unsure of what it means for life going forward.
The Recovery Process
You know what that means? That means the recovery process will be the same, too. The world as a whole will limp through this, suffer some devastating losses along the way, and come back stronger.
And don’t act like you don’t see it happening already. We’re spending more time focusing on medicine, and experts are sure going to come out of this with new advancements and knowledge in the medical field. Technologically, we’re becoming aware of just how much we can work from home when forced to pull a few strings, which will result in more people working from home regularly and theoretically having better work-life balance because of it.
The minimalists must be loving this, too, because we’re getting reacquainted with what we need to survive on, which will result in us coming out of this with less attachment to all of the bells and whistles… at least for a while. We’re spending time interacting more. People are going out of their way to help out; actors are creating little coronavirus skits from their apartments, trainers are creating home workouts for all to see. A lot of people are trying to reset and see how they can use their skills or hobbies to contribute when their normal outlets have been taken away from them. Growth is happening and will keep happening, and life WILL be different when this is over, and it’ll be for the better.
And while you can and should spend this time making some of those contributions in your own way — helping in your own way — you can also get through this period doing what you inevitably must do to heal as best you can in trying times, which is take responsibility. The coronavirus presents itself as a wonderful opportunity to take responsibility for something that you didn’t directly cause. This means working with it, rather than getting mad about how it’s somehow unfair to you or setting you back. At the very least, take responsibility for your daily decision to continue being a citizen of this earth, because in making that choice, you’re signing up for times like this.
You’ve decided to be here, which means you’ve signed an unwritten contract to accept the hard times. Yes, they will hurt. No, there are no take backs. Understand them for what they are, do not feel shortchanged, and do your best to embrace and be a part of growth until this phase — yes, “phase” — passes.
And that brings us to an end, my friends.
The end of the post, that is. Not the end of the world.
If you have a question you’d like answered on the show, please email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or, if you’re still having a hard time getting through this whole mess, which is entirely understandable, and you’d like a longer discussion, I invite you to reach out to me through gregaudino.com for a free life coaching session.
You can also check out all of our podcast shows on our Start page. We have a lot of content on there that can help, you including great stuff on our weekly newsletter.
We are here to help you, people. Please do not hesitate.
Stay safe, good luck out there, and remember that we’re in this together.