A New Map of Life
The pandemic continues to insert change, upend plans, and vary the way we do business with others. School leadership is trying to adapt, and businesses continue to explore hybrid models to serve their customers. We have all found ways to obtain the items we need and get the things we want. Now it is time to expand how we do business and spend our money where our values are – integration.
Aside from inviting thoughtful reflection, this unique time allows us all to share how those perspectives have shifted on ageism, essential workers, inequality, and more. We need to take part in the new culture that will result from this collective experience.
Protecting Your Emotional Health
In a recent article featured at Greater Good Science Center of Berkeley, author Bethany Teachman, Ph.D. provides a framework for readers to reflect and plan as they chart their path toward a new beginning:
1. Set realistic expectations
From what you can or cannot do, to relationships and social skills, setting realistic expectations can help decrease disappointment.
2. Live your values
When we spent our time in ways that align with what we value, we’re more likely to feel higher levels of satisfaction and well-being.
3. Keep track
Measuring our level of happiness through specific activities can help us prioritize rewarding ones, which will improve our overall feeling and mood.
4. Is this a time of growth or preservation?
Our perception of time influences our motivation and goals. If it feels that time is fleeting, you may seek a deeper connection with fewer people. If time feels abundant, you may prefer to invest time in newer relationships.
5. Recognize your privilege and pay it forward
Helping others can improve your emotional health. Connecting with your community to give back, can boost the well-being of everyone involved.
Teachman’s article closes with a couple of sentences that perfectly summarize the key points to keep in mind as we navigate this transition:
- It is important to realize that one person can make a difference. Each of us individually can feel powerless in the face of this pandemic, but just a single person practicing social distancing matters. We can and will make a difference.
- Widen our in-group. We are far more willing to help those we know—or feel connected to—than anonymous strangers. Broadening how we think about our connections to others—focusing on our own older relatives or friends with underlying health conditions—can help us overcome the ingrained human tendency toward inaction.
- Role models of all types—not just political leaders, celebrities, and sports stars—should actively be pushing for behavioral change. We are all a role model to someone. Please remember to communicate what you are doing to help.
Being intentional about helping others is a win-win. Many people and communities are in need right now, so think about how you can contribute—be it time, money, resources, skills, or a listening ear. Asking what your community needs to recover and thrive and how you can help address those needs, as well as considering what you and your household needs, can boost everyone’s well-being.
With enough of the pandemic behind us to have our bearings and still so much unknown ahead, this moment challenges us to do more than patch together what we must to carry on. This time of reflection is precious and fleeting. There is an opportunity here to defy the gravitational pull toward a ‘new normal’ and instead actively create a better, more fulfilling life.