Here on Long Island, we have been in Quarantine for 6 weeks as of this weekend.
During that time, the kids, myself and their teachers have had to adjust to distance learning, I have had to accept that my beloved business is paused indefinitely and my husband must go to work every day as he is an essential worker. Although those are challenging pieces of this COVID-19 puzzle, those are just the rough edges. Everything in between is blurred, hard to connect, some pieced don't seem to fit, and it even looks like some may be missing.
The truth is, we don't have any more information than what is being spewed at us over the media. We don't know when the quarantine will lift. We don't know why there are so many conflicting opinions by professionals we somewhat trust and we have no idea what tomorrow will bring. So, what do we do with this puzzle? How do we put it together?
The BEST way we can! I like to apply the four P's whenever I am trying to solve a puzzle and for weeks now, I have been putting my puzzle practice to the test.
Patience, Persistence, Perspective and Positivity.
Here is how I have been utilizing the four P's throughout this unknown and challenging time.
Patience: When trying to solve a particularly hard puzzle, patience is a virtue. Rushing to get the answers, to figure it out, to fix it, will only cause frustration and mistakes. When I first realized my business was going to close and that my boys were going to miss out on school, sports and events, I was frantically trying to figure out how to fix it. How can I sustain my business? Where can the kids play lacrosse? How can we still celebrate all the communions? What can I do to keep us all healthy? I made rash decisions, phone calls, ridiculous purchases and assumptions. Once I took a step back and assessed what I was doing, I realized I was trying to rush the impossible. Now, I remind myself that I have no control over the outside circumstances and I do my best to remain patient as I support my husband, and all essential workers, by social distancing.
Persistence: Sometimes, a puzzle can be so hard, that it seems damn near impossible to solve. I can remember trying to solve the Rubik's Cube as a child. I would get so giddy to get one or two sides solved, only to be completely aggravated when I messed it up. Finally, I threw it away, thinking, no one will ever solve that! Well, we all know how wrong I was. Had I just kept trying, kept believing, I eventually would have gotten it. The same goes here. We can't just give up. There are days we will feel defeated from the horror stories on TV or a particularly tough day with the kids. Emotions will run high, money will run low and it the quarantine will drive you nuts on some days. But, we must persist. The worst option of all is quitting. Persistence is continuing to search for solutions for the "new normal" problems, becoming creative in areas you'd never thought you'd have to be and changing your perspective on these circumstances forced upon you.
Perspective: Looking at a problem, a puzzle, an obstacle...from a different angle. This is a really great time to get caught up in the negative feelings of despair, panic and fear. Everything happening around us suggests this puzzle is impossible to solve. It is easy to focus on the trauma of what is right in front of us. So, I implore you, do not get sucked into the trap of torment. Have you heard the quote "Worrying means you suffer twice"? Think about it. As we worry about what is currently happening and worrying about what could happen, we are creating a bigger problem. Worry, stress and anxiety deplete the immune system-which is the last thing you want to do right now. Also, stressing about what we have no control over is truly useless. Focus your attention on what you can control. I have focused on what the quarantine has given me, rather than what is has taken. Quality time with my children, rest, home cooked meals, more time for fitness, DIY home projects and more. Yes, I could harp on losing money, on being stuck inside and a ton of tother things, but I changed my perspective. It's better this way.
Positivity: I have learned that this is essential in any puzzle, task, any relationship, challenge, job, anything in life. Life is better when you get better, and you get better by changing how you think. Positive thinking, for me, started as almost a joke. I was at Rock Bottom, my life was falling apart and I was spiraling. But, I did not want to give up, I did not want my life to be and endless battle of wills. So, I dove into research, self help books and prayer. Discovering the power of positive thinking was comical to me. Trying affirmations daily in the mirror was ridiculous. But, there was so much evidence behind it, that I did try, and try, and try until I noticed the shift. It took a while. But I persisted. Things got better. Things are better and they continue to get better. Looking at things in a positive way makes me a better person, makes things in my life better and believing there's a bright side to all storms makes them so much easier to weather.
This is a crazy and unprecedented time. We are in uncharted waters. I know it's scary. I know it hurts and it can be hard to look away from the hardships you are facing. But I also know that once you start applying these practices, it get's a little easier. And when you keep going, it gets better. The puzzle will be solved, the pieces will fall back in place and the end result will be stunning.