I can’t think of anything in modern history that approaches the current crisis we now face with the Coronavirus or COVID-19. History has seen world wars and famines. injustice and oppression, mass genocide and atrocities, natural disasters, and more — yet I can’t think of anything that has directly and personally affected every single human on the planet quite the way this does. Even the rich are going to have trouble escaping this one. Climate change will eventually reach this scale, but we’re not quite there yet. With Coronavirus, unless you’re already a hermit, your life is changing swiftly in ways small and profound.
There have been other pandemics, some quite recent such HIV, H1N1 and Ebola, but they didn’t reach this global magnitude. A few people are still living who experienced the flu pandemic of 1918, but otherwise this is a truly new. We are traveling uncharted waters.
There was a lively debate among friends on Facebook this week about mental health in this crisis. It’s a serious question — the challenge of balancing the necessity of social distancing against the need for social contact, touch and intimacy. These are times that can surely stir up anxiety.
We all know the negatives. I find I long for the days when all we talked about was impeachment 24/7 ad nauseum. (Forgot about that, didn’t ya?)
I find that amidst all this change, uncertainty, stress and anxiety, people everywhere are rising to the challenge and making the best of it. These days I have a heightened appreciation for the importance of laughter, song and basic human solidarity. That’s what this post today is about.
The crisis has inspired some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever seen on Facebook. It’s like we’re all sharing an inside joke. Given the fact that people are hoarding huge quantities of toilet paper, some of the humor is a bit raunchy. That’s OK. I laugh more and harder these days looking at Facebook than I ever have before. It’s good medicine.
Here’s just a few recent posts I’ve seen:
I woke up Thursday morning and about died laughing to see this video posted with the caption “Quarantine Day 3.”
A little time and boredom can inspire remarkable creativity!
Italy is one of the hardest-hit countries in the world and has been on nationwide lockdown since March 9. Italians are physically distant but far from separated. They’ve come to their windows and balconies to join together in music and song.
Words can’t express. This is simply beautiful.
Most important of all in this crisis is social solidarity. Laughter and song are powerful expressions of this, but there are so many ways that we can have each others’ back.
As individuals, simply staying at home is probably the biggest thing we can do. A meme on Facebook this week read, “Your grandparents were called to war. You’re being called to sit on your couch. You can do this.”
Keep tabs on the neighbors, especially those who are elderly. Call up. See if they’re OK and if they need anything. Some people are turning their outside Christmas lights back on. I love the idea!
Your grandparents were called to war. You’re being called to sit on your couch. You can do this.
Then there are workers who are performing critical tasks we can’t live without, sometimes at huge personal risk: doctors, nurses, ambulance EMTs, firemen, grocery store workers, factory workers producing masks and respirators, janitors, sanitation workers… the list goes on and on. These workers don’t have the option to stay home. Without them, everything would collapse.
This, of course, is an international crisis. No country can go it alone. An example is Cuba which allowed a British cruise ship to dock on Wednesday after wandering a week in the Caribbean with sick passengers. The ship was denied permission to dock even by Barbados and the Bahamas, both part of the British Commonwealth!
“Let’s reinforce healthcare, solidarity and international cooperation.” – Bruno Rodriguez, Cuban Foreign Minister
In Spain, residents in Madrid and Barcelona applaud the sacrifices of doctors and nurses fighting the Coronavirus.
This brief clip shows the British cruise ship, MS Braemar, after it docked near Havana on March 18 carrying five people infected Coronavirus and more than 50 others showing flu-like symptoms. The sign reads, “I love you, Cuba.”
In coming days I’ll be posting quite often here with videos and stories of people being their best selves helping one another. Much of the material I’ll be sharing pre-dates this crisis but I think good news and positivity are important right now. We need to keep our spirits up.
I’ll also be posting a lot about reducing stress and anxiety. It’s possible, and I’ll be doing this as much for myself as my readers. We are all in this together.
Please stay safe and be well!
A Request to my Facebook Friends: If you have a comment I encourage you to enter it below instead of on Facebook. This way everyone can participate in the conversation!