You are Stronger Than You Think: Emotional Strength During a Pandemic

You are Stronger Than You Think: Emotional Strength During a Pandemic

I went to Sam’s Club yesterday. It was the first time I’ve been outside of my neighborhood in two weeks because of this pandemic. I was excited to be able to get out and see something, even though it’s only 5 minutes from my house. But I was also nervous to be out with others because there were still a lot of people out and about.

As I got out of my car and started walking to the entrance, I could see people with masks and gloves on. There was a worker standing at the carts, spraying and wiping each one down before letting a shopper touch it. These are crazy times we’re living in.

As I walked through the store, there were reminders everywhere I looked of what was going on with this COVID-19 pandemic. Not only are the toilet paper shelves still bare but plenty of other aisles are as well. There’s hardly any laundry detergent. I haven’t been able to buy ground beef for weeks. And, most of the aisles have minimal options to choose from.

It’s scary really—to think we’re living through a worldwide pandemic. There’s no way we can comprehend what’s still to come both with the pandemic and the economical situation that will follow. I started to get overwhelmed as I pushed my cart up and down the aisles, trying to stay 6 feet away from everyone else.

We moved to Florida 7 months ago.

It’s been rough. We’ve struggled to connect with anyone. For months and months we found comfort in heading to Disney Springs (Disney is one of our favorite places) or watching the sunset on the beach. I work from home. My girls are homeschooled. We didn’t make quick connections.

It was really hard. I’ve struggled with mild bouts of depression since after the holidays. But, we had a few things we enjoyed. Things we found comfort in and that distracted us from the loneliness.

Then, things started to look more positive. We found a homeschool group that had tons of activities. In January, the girls started art class, guitar lessons, and gymnastics. We finally found a church that we wanted to attend.

I thought things were finally going to turn around for the better. And, then the world shut down. Literally. Disney closed. The beaches closed. The kids activities closed. Church closed.

And, here we are. Back where we started.

But then it hit me—we’re so much stronger than we think.

All of us—you included.

Pushing that grocery cart up and down the aisles yesterday was overwhelming. I felt so many emotions. Sadness. Anger. Disbelief.

We could have never imagined living through a time so unpredictable as this. But, we are.

See, when it comes down to it, we will get through this because we don’t have a choice. That’s how life goes.

We can say things like, “I’d never be able to ________.” But if you’re faced with that situation and your only choice is to get through it, you do.

We learn to adjust. We figure out how to video chat with friends or hold virutal meetings with coworkers. We learn to homeschool our kids because the schools are shut down. And, we start to cook dinner and eat together every night because there’s no other option.

We see what true courage looks like and realize that “heroes” aren’t sports figures or famous people. They’re the doctors, nurses, soldiers and first responders. We see that sports figures, actors, singers, and those with loads of money are in much the same position as we are because they can’t buy their way out of it.

And we relearn the importance of the people filling positions we often overlooked like warehouse workers, cashiers, and truck drivers.

We learn to place value on people instead of position and ranking.

When the pandemic strips it all away, we find what really matters. And, it’s not in Disney, shopping, sports, grades, or finances. It’s the people that matter. And, it’s faith that gets us through.

And that’s why you’re stronger than you think

You’re still here. Your value isn’t in your bank account, your job, your kids popularity at school, or any of the other silly things that we’ve focused on for far too long.

And, we don’t need all of the comforts and habits of life to live.

If you change your mindset and what you focus on throughout this whole pandemic, you can find your strength. It comes from within and it’s something that can’t be taken from you.

The history lessons the girls have been following this year are just starting to take us into the Great Depression. The economic climate was far worse than it is right now. I’m not saying or promising that we won’t reach that level, but even if we do, we’ll make it.

People living through the Great Depression survived, not because it was easy, but because they had no choice. People have survived hiding out during WWII, other pandemics, and different difficult situations. It’s not that anyone would choose to go through those situations, just like we wouldn’t choose to go through this. But, when you’re put in the place that it’s not a choice, the only choice you’re left with is to give up or toughen up.

Life’s not going to be as easy for awhile, as it was a few months ago. There are so many unknowns, but what I do know, is we’re here. We can and will get through this. We’re stronger than we used to believe. We’re already starting to see it and will continue to.

Change your focus

If you’re struggling to see this, look around at your circumstances. Look for the positive things that you can find right now. What do you have that you’re grateful for? What news stories can you find of people rising to the challenge of this time and helping others? Where are the good stories? They’re out there if you look for them.

Don’t focus on the bare shelves at the store. Focus on the people working hard to make the products, drive them to the store and stock them on the shelves. Don’t focus on the death counts. Foucs on the number of people recovering and the healthcare staff that’s working hard to make that happen. Don’t focus on what you don’t like about the government right now. Focus on the fact that they’re doing the best they know how to try to protect the people. Don’t focus on how hard it is to stay at home all day. Focus on being thankful for those first repsonders that are continuing to go out each day to protect and serve you.

There’s no denying that we’ve lost a lot in the past month. But, you’re still here. You’re making the adjustments that you need to. It might not feel good, but with each one, you have the opportunity to learn that you’re stronger than you think.  And, if you’re still not feeling it, send me a message. No one needs to feel alone right now just becuase we can’t be together.

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