Star Suggestions from Liz: Calm In The Unknown

March 19, 2020
Liz-Campbell

So, it's a new normal now. The coronavirus pandemic has all of us in different routines and different anxieties and different opportunities to showcase community, together - apart. It's just weird. So, I thought I might share some of what I experienced the last time my world was rocked with something similar.

While it is true that a global pandemic isn't anything we've seen in a century, there are some parallels to other natural disasters and life changing sudden shifts in daily life as we know it. A few years back, hurricane season moved with force upon our country. We watched Harvey flood Houston and we watched Maria devastate Puerto Rico and we watched Irma crawl up the entire state of Florida. I was living in Lee County at that time, along with my boy - who was then five years old. Irma rocked me and our community hard. I learned a lot of lessons real quick.

Denial Will Hurt

Probably the first lesson was how incredibly difficult it was to wrap my mind around the fact that a massive storm was about to make land fall where I lived when the sun was shining bright all around us. It was extremely hard to mentally prepare for a hurricane, even though we knew it was coming. Satellite images battled with what my own eyes could see. So I can appreciate how this pandemic comes with a learning curve. I've seen the people partying on a beach, I've seen gatherings (that span all generations) across this country. I've heard stories from friends and neighbors who still think everyone is over reacting. But we aren't. We absolutely aren't. You might not be able to grasp what is coming and fighting off a virus we can't see does cause a kind of brain mush. But we must take it seriously. We must.

Right now that means social distancing, physical distancing. Staying home. Maybe being in quarantine. Right now the storm shutters we are putting up aren't going up on windows, they are going up on us (for lack of a better analogy). That's hard. But necessary. If you are still in a sort of denial about the coronavirus, please take it from someone who understands why you are: It matters that we are prepared. It is life saving. Please take this seriously.

Suggestions: Watch this video from Italy. Visit the website of the CDC. Talk to your friends and family. Stay informed and travel through history. It's not too late for you to get those shutters up and the sooner you do, the better (and safer) for you and your friends and your family and for everybody.

Don't Risk It

So, the other day, while waiting at a stop light, I found myself a little worried that I wasn't keeping enough physical distance between my Jeep and the Chevy in front of me. We were literally just parked waiting for red to turn green but it took my brain a few seconds to realize the coronavirus wasn't going to leap from his exhaust pipe into my air conditioning. Weird times indeed. But it did remind me of what I learned in Irma. It is so very important to be cautious in our everything. I'm not talking about panic or above the top controlling. It's important we don't overdue our anxiety. But it does matter that we protect that finite line of our healthcare system capacity. That means, just being a little more aware of ourselves and our surroundings and maybe actions we used to be taking that we could curb for the time being.

During hurricane Irma, I made a point to remind my son not to use his bed as a trampoline. A broken leg or arm was something we needed to prevent from happening. Of course, if your house rules are different, I'm not saying you change everything. This is just basic common sense stuff that matters now more than ever. After all, the goal we are all after is to #FlattenTheCurve. Every little reminder helps.

Suggestions: Don't speed. We aren't supposed to anyway, but let's face it, most of us have before. But now more than ever, even with fewer cars on the road, observing and obeying traffic laws keeps accidents low and keeps our first responders freed up. Drink responsibly. This should go without saying, but it is important that we care for ourselves by not overindulging or making super poor decisions when it comes to substances at times like this. Cook food thoroughly, take medications properly, don't run with scissors, etc. You know what I mean. ;)

Community Comes Together

One of the most amazing experiences of living through a hurricane was watching as neighbors looked out for each other. That loud, obnoxious person who got on your nerves suddenly became someone sharing their generator. Phones were borrowed and food was grilled and entire communities rallied together. I'm still overwhelmed by those memories. Of course, this looks different during a pandemic. But while we can't huddle together on a shared porch, we can still go the distance for somebody else.

Suggestions: Is there someone in your neighborhood who is vulnerable to the virus, maybe offer to do their grocery shopping for them. Do you know a server or bartender or salon owner out of work? Offer financial help to them if you can. Is someone you know struggling in stress right now? Call them, video conference with them, talk them through their mood and offer resources to them.

We might need to stay feet apart from each other right now, but that doesn't mean we can't find ways to be close.

The Kids Will Be Alright

While it is true that children can struggle in times of hardship and distress, children are also some of the most resilient and adapting little creatures among humanity. Those developing frontal lobes sometimes allow them an edge against an adults when it comes to change and what normal can be. Routines matter, but what matters more is consistent love and hugs and assurance of stability. It's important we talk with them. It's also important, as they take cues from us, that we take some cues from them. I can remember watching my boy's pet allergies take over his body as we shared a shelter with beloved fur babies of other families. It broke my heart but I knew he was safe and I knew it was temporary. But what struck me the most was his attitude about being locked in a building where home became a few square feet. My kid made friends and played video games and thought it was fantastic that grown ups were living in schools. When our power stayed out after the storm passed through, we all watched our children celebrate that everyone was camping out in the neighborhood. Children can give us amazing perspective if we let them.

Suggestions: Play with your kids. Teach them the board games and card games you grew up on. Cook with them and craft with them. Turn the home-schooling into an adventure they will never forget. You never know the memories they will hold that will last and last.

Calm Will Come

After Hurricane Irma came and left it took a while to really process it. The wind and rain and water was gone, but trees were down. Roads were closed and roofs were torn and a lot of people were hurting and grieving. Loss is hard. Tears would come and go and sometimes it was hard to communicate the physical and mental toll. But calm did come. And calm will come.

As difficult as it is to wrap our minds around what we are expecting over the next few weeks (and months), it's even harder at times to imagine what comes after that. For so many of us, things are never going to be the same. For most of us, things are never going to be the same. For all of us, things are never going to be the same. It's okay to realize that things are never going to be the same. But things are going to be okay. There is going to come a day that this is behind us, a day where instead of looking forward we will be able to look back. There will be a time our new normal becomes our old routine. There will be a moment we will be on the other side of this thing. That is so important to remember right now. We have to remember ... this too, shall pass.

Suggestions: Hold hope. Maybe create a list at home of all the wonderful that you know will come. Stay close (at a distance). Use this time as a time to mend fences, ask forgiveness, offer tenderness. Improve yourself. Maybe learn how to play the guitar? What about learning that foreign language? Maybe now is when you finally put that quilt together from the baby clothes you've had stored away. Make pen pals, start a blog, venture into podcasting or maybe, like me, finally shave your legs (summer is coming). Do whatever you need to do for you and your family to prepare and survive a global pandemic, but do whatever you need to do to prepare and thrive once we're at the end of all this.

And we will be at the end of all this.

Until then, download our app and listen to the Star Songs that keep your mood lifted. We will be here together - apart, as we all adjust to the new normal and set our sights on the future we'll enjoy together - together, someday.

Much love and happiness,

Liz

(now go wash your hands and clean your phone/computer since it's been at least twenty minutes just reading this). ;)