Finding Light in the Darkness

The word unprecedented seems inadequate to summarize the changes that have occurred recently due to COVID-19.  The entire world is battling an invisible enemy that is so highly contagious, we fear that our family, friends and neighbors may harm us unwittingly.  But, as we gain insight and education based on facts from medical professionals, we can develop methods to live in harmony within this new normal.  Perhaps, not perfect harmony but something much more peaceful than the panic that has resulted in hoarding toilet paper, surgical masks and gloves and even basic food items.  Here are three ways to soothe your soul during these uncertain times.

#1 Stay Informed with FACTS from credible sources

Blunt facts: 

  1. Anyone can die from Coronavirus
  2. The mortality rate is being meticulously tracked by the CDC and can be accessed at

CDC Facts and Case Tracking

Good News:

  1. There are many steps you can take to mitigate the risk of contracting it.  Our US leading expert on the Coronavirus Task Force is Dr. Tony Fauci.  He shares the facts in an interview Dr Fauci Answers Question on Coronavirus
  2. A one hour interview with a Dr. Dave Price in the hotspot of the current pandemic in New York City at Weill Cornell Medical Center.  He sees Coronavirus patients everyday and has advice to keep you and your family safe.

#2 Use Your Time at Home to Deepen Family Connections

No one would argue that prior to the “safer at home” or quarantine efforts, we all rushed around cramming as many activities into the day as the hours would permit.  In my neighborhood, the change is palpable.  Just weeks ago, everyone was racing down the street over the speed limit, hectically pulling out of the driveway (sometimes you could hear parents yelling, “don’t forget your backpack or did you lock the door?”).  Hardly anyone was walking, cycling or skating down the street.  Yesterday, we went out to rake leaves in the front yard and we must have seen 50 people.  Families on bike rides, couples jogging together or someone walking at a leisurely pace.  We stayed a sage 6 feet away but said hi to each and every one of them.  It was a wonderful chance to bond with my daughter outside and just be present together.  I noticed that since we were not on the regular schedule, our conversation was less tactical (What time is dance? Did you do your homework? Do you need to go to Office Depot for your class project?) and more natural.  It meandered from how to best pick up the leaves (I made a tool out of a cardboard box) to giggling and hiding behind the car when (newfound neighbors) teenage boys walked by two or three times. 

We have now taken time to have daily family meetings for 10-15 minutes in the morning.  We just talk about any health updates (I want to be their source of the facts not the internet), what we are grateful for and inevitably turns to a discussion of a great movie, book or video game one of us is currently enjoying.  Although we limit time on electronics, I learned that embracing their interest in shows and games deeps our connection.  It is important for me to know what they are watching and playing, sometimes I even jump in and try a level (usually ends in complete disaster and lots of laughter). 

New routines and rituals can be soul filling for the family.  Family game night is the ultimate way to lighten the mood and just spend time together.  Charades, Battleship, Concentration, Checkers and Monopoly have stood the test of time for a reason.  I am cherishing every minute with my family these days. 

We also acknowledge if one of us is having a bad day, or trouble adjusting to the lack of out of home activity.  We are all in “overscheduled, overachiever, overbooked REHAB” of sorts.  It is healing to find ways to open communication instead of telling them to get over it or how great they have it (cringing). One friend of mine even began teletherapy, which is crucial during times of change and crisis.  Visit Psychology Today for the best ones or ask a friend for a recommendation.  Local therapists offer virtual counseling as well. 

#3 Make Contributing a Family Affair

If you are fortunate to have time on your hands these days, there are numerous ways to make a difference for others.  While I am sorry for the loss associated with cancellations of sports and shows, the result is a focus on real heroes.  Healthcare, First Responders, Military, Caregivers, Truckers, Grocery store workers, and more.  We are so appreciative of the sacrifices they are making.  They leave their own families to help all of ours.  It is heartwarming to see the companies, people and communities stepping up to recognize and support them.  This contribution can be incorporated into your new normal of more time at home.  Start with immediate and extended family, reach out and make sure they are safe and emotionally healthy. 

Next, there are fantastic organizations that need you and your help.  Here are a few to get you thinking.

  1. Volunteer Match is a website that aggregates and lists many “virtual volunteer” needs.  Until recently, I had never heard this term.  Review the needs with your family and decide how you can make a difference.  From Pen Pals for Seniors to Sewing Masks for healthcare workers.  Your heart and soul will fill up when you make time for others! 
  2. UN Online Volunteers If this worldwide pandemic has taught us one thing, it is that the human family is “All in this together!”  The United Nations offers many opportunities to contribute by translating, designing and data entry (just to name a few).  Your unique and special skills can help serve and create a sustainable world. 
  3. Create Your Own Start by identifying a local nursing home, hospital, small business, Fire Station, Police Station or restaurant.  No effort or amount is too small.  Our local business organization Working Women of Tampa Bay Foundation decided to buy Gift Cards from their members that were struggling to stay in business.  Three Wishes for Ruby’s Residents was started by my hero Ruby Kate.  She is 11 years old and started granting wishes for nursing home patients like getting them McDonalds, Spam (yes they asked for Spam) and making them cards of encouragement like “you are loved,”  “You matter to us,”  “Stay strong”.  The impact can be tremendous, and you can show your leadership that everyone can make a difference. 

The biggest lessons of this global pandemic will not be known till a much later date.  It is a time of dichotomies: fear and connection, sickness and kindness of strangers, but one thing is for certain…we have choices to make on how to embrace this change.  How do we show up for our families and the world?  How do we become our best versions of ourselves?  I wish you and your family health, safety and emotional wellness.  Together we can rise to a higher level of living, consciousness and connection.