Teachers are teaching remotely with no training and the world seems to have gone crazy. This virus has impacted every human being in every country. No one really knows what is going to happen. Am I going to get sick? Is something bad going to happen to one of my students, fellow educators or families? We are all anxious!
It is so normal to be frightened, down and worried. Anyone who says there are not may be struggling to be honest with themselves or in so much pain they are struggling to see what is in front of them. I have days, moments like this, where I search the television or blogs for some good news or lay on the coach in a Netflix binge coma. This is okay for me for a short time but not for too long. I am looking for hope in all the wrong places.
When, I meet with my teachers on Zoom I want to give them hope and comfort. As an educator I love creating content that serves others. So, I got up off the couch and shared with them what works for me during difficult times. It is in the form of a list below. Some of these I learned the hard way during the AIDs epidemic and my husband succumbed to the disease. Some of these I learned at the school site by trying to be good leader. Most of these I learned by trying to serve others and not think about myself all the time.
This list is in no particular order. I hope these suggestions bring you comfort, hope and the will to keep going.
1. SPOILER ALERT: THIS TOO SHALL PASS.
Happy times and sad times come and go. It is the nature of life. I am 100% sure that whatever is happening to any of us will pass. Nothing and nothing of this world stays the same for long or lasts forever. I personally believe there will be a happy ending. I also believe our world will be different, education will be different and we will be different.
2. THERE IS A SILVER LINING
The old phrase “every cloud has a silver lining.” You have probably taught this idiom and thought it was corny. But there is great wisdom in this phrase that will help during even a pandemic. There is like “Mr. Rogers wisdom in this saying.” “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”― Fred Rogers
Notice how our warrior doctors, nurses, healthcare workers and first responders are charging the hospitals to help the sick. Notice how entire neighborhoods are helping each other, showing kindness and support wherever needed. There is a silver lining in this difficult time.
3. FLIP THE SWITCH ON NEGATIVITY TO POSITIVITY
Like most people I wake up and flip the switch on to negative thinking. My head says to me, “Glad you are awake because I have been up awhile worrying. We need to talk.” It is an instinctual default created for survival. It takes intention and practice to flip from negativity to positivity. My favorite way to make an instant switch is to write down 10 things I am grateful for.
4 PRACTICING POSITIVITY WILL MAKE YOU STRONGER.
It is so easy to be positive when there is money in the bank, there is good health and we are in love. It is sometimes called checkbook serenity. Positivity is elusive when everyday it seems our world is falling apart and there is little good news. It is not natural to be positive because our instincts are hardwired not to be positive but looking for danger. This time in history is a great time to build some muscle in developing, learning and practicing how to be positive. Taking the negative and flipping into something positive such as our thinking and perspective is a skill worth acquiring.