Jewish folklore has it that King Solomon asked his wise men to make him a magic ring. The ring would lift his spirits if he got depressed, and bring him back down to earth if he got euphoric. The wise men returned with a ring inscribed: “This, too, shall pass.”
Whether Solomon actually did this or not, the principle is true. We are programmed to think that whatever is happening now, happy or sad, will go on indefinitely. Nothing does. And while we have no idea how long this Coronavirus ‘new normal’ might last, the time of quarantine and uncertainty will pass.
In the meantime, the virus is disruptive to our daily lives, often in ways we may not yet realize. What now 2 do? How we respond is critical to our spiritual, emotional and physical health. The silver lining in this Coronavirus cloud, is an opportunity to develop, build, and maintain habits that will promote our health and well-being long after it has passed (making lemonade out of lemons, or, if you will, working all things for good).
Herewith, then, some strategic jumping-off points, in some semblance of priority (the order is not unimportant):
1. Rest. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day. Get 8+ hours of sleep every night (If you do the other things on this list you will sleep. And wake rested).
2. Eat Healthy. Drink plenty of water. Take Vitamin C and D, and eat foods that boost your immune system. Don’t look to food for comfort.
3. Physical Hygiene. Make your bed first thing when you get up. Stand up straight. Comb your hair. Dress in clean clothes. Don’t spend the day in pajamas. Maintain effective hygiene (hand washing, showering, housecleaning, laundry). Keep yourself and your home scrupulously clean.
4. Mental Hygiene. Keep your mind engaged productively. Consume less news and from the fewest trusted sources as possible, as few times a day as possible.
5. Exercise. Getting exercise is key. Going for a walk every day is a good place to start. There are plenty of outdoor activities that you can still engage in while maintaining social distancing: bike riding, walking, gardening, etc. Indoors you can do half an hour of stretches or calisthenics.
6. Stay Connected To God And Other People. Make sure to stay in touch via phone or video with anyone you know to be alone. Actually use the phone as a phone and talk to friends and family who may be isolated and lonely. And, most importantly, stay connected to God through prayer. Without this, all else is for naught.
7. Practice Joy. Don’t complain. Abraham Lincoln said, “We are as happy as we decide to be.” Decide to be happy. You owe it to yourself, and to those living under house arrest with you.
So much for the strategy. Stay tuned. We will have some things to say in the next few days about the tactics underlying these strategies. In the meantime, incorporate action-steps from each of these seven strategies into a daily plan and schedule and stick to that routine every day.