By Danielle Wolman, LCSW, CASAC

By this point, we’ve all asked the type of questions that revolve around deadlines: When is it the pandemic going to be over? When will a vaccine become available? When will my life go back to normal? 

We are wired to strive for a sense of control. It helps us build a foundation of security: to know what is expected of use, when, where, and how. There is nothing wrong with this idea of wanting control. However, we need to be aware of what we have control over and what we do not. For example, when we let go of things that we don’t have control over – such as when the quarantine will end – we sometimes create tension and anxiety. 

Instead of focusing on controlling when this will end, we need to focus on controlling our responses to it. We have control over our attitude and how we approach this. We can see it as an inconvenience, or we can see it as an opportunity to “take a pause.” It could be an opportunity to re-establish our values and see what’s important to us like our family, friends, community, and ourselves. 

One caveat is that this does not mean that we all need to take control of all of the opportunities we have and accomplish incredible things. 

Being productive to yourself can be just as paramount. For instance, 

“Today I was productive in the way that I was kind to myself.”

”I provided comforting words to a friend.”

“I showed someone kindness.”

I would encourage people who are struggling with COVID-19 and deadlines to identify that this is an unsettling time, but that is not the whole story. We overcame impossible pandemics like polio and smallpox, and we will get through this as well with some time and patience. What now may seem like a disruption to our daily lives that typically run at Mach speed, might be a silver lining. Now is the time for reinvention, creativity, and unity. To really take a look within to gain a different perspective so we can come out of this stronger than we were before.

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