A joyful heart and a level head.

"It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters. When something happens, the only thing in your power is your attitude toward it."

I know we are being bombarded with news and every business around has made a statement and everyone has an opinion, and we're likely just adding to the noise at this point, but I have a few thoughts that I wanted to get out and this feels like the appropriate platform to do so.

I think a lot of the panic, overbuying and irrational things we're seeing people do are out of a very deep fear of the unknown. This isn't a new fear for humanity. This is in all of us. We don't like taking chances, even if the chance means something incredible could happen because it's unknown. A global crisis likes this takes that fear to a whole new level. Everything is unknown right now. We are all searching for answers that don't really exist. We can argue day and night about what should have been done when and by who, but that arguing is just adding to the universal energy of fear right now.

Assuming there aren't any world leaders reading this, the only thing any of us have control of in this moment is our attitude and reaction to what's happening and the choices we are making. Super unpopular opinion that I'm probably going to get hate messages back for, but I would argue humanity as a whole needed something extreme like this to happen. We needed too learn to care about others again, to slow down, to get back to the basics and to take time to think through our daily actions. We have been slowly destroying ourselves and our planet for years. Clearly the cries of our planet have fallen on mostly deaf ears so maybe something that directly affects us and our family members will force us to wake up.

So while we cannot change what is happening, we can turn our focus to what is in our control and we can adjust our attitude to make the best of a tough situation.

-Breath. Recenter yourself. GET OUTSIDE. Our individual mental health is crucial right now. We need sane people. We need healthy people. This starts with each of one of us. With the social distancing recommendation/requirement it's going be very easy to sit inside, watch the news and get sucked into an endless social media scroll. STOP. Go outside, get some fresh air. Walk, hike, run, toss a football with your kids. You don't need to do this with other people but some social interaction is going to be needed and this is one way to do it at a safe distance. You can hike with friends without touching or being close enough to breath on one another. If you can't get outside consider stretching, meditation, reading, playing board games, anything to give your mind a break.

-Embrace it. I know that's hard but fighting the current situation isn't going to change it so accept it for what it is, whatever your situation and make a plan to make the best of it. If you have kids home from school, find new activities to do as a family, build a fort, play games, start a garden. If your work is shut down, maybe this is a good time to work on that book you always wanted to write or learn how to speak a new language. If this is having a large financial impact on you, revisit your budget, research the options for assistance, reach out to those who may be able to help. Worrying, sitting in anger, complaining about it will not change anything. Find a way to take action.

-Take care of your physical self. Whatever this means for you. For me personally, it means a lot of hiking/walking/running, eating a ton of fruits and veggies and getting ample sleep. I am an overall healthy, young-ish person and I'd like to stay as physically healthy and able bodied as I can should I be needed for anything as this progresses. I can't take care of anyone else if I'm not taking care of myself.

-Watch out for one another. Honestly, the past week has shown me a beautiful side of humanity that I thought we had lost. The outpouring of love for neighbors and offers of assistance for one another have been incredible. I hate that it's taken a worldwide pandemic for us to start caring about one another, but apparently it's what had to happen so let's keep it up. Offer what you can. Even a simple text checking on the friend can mean the world to someone who is feeling overwhelmed and anxious.

-Think through your actions. If you are going to go somewhere be smart about it. I don't think life needs to stop but we do need to make drastic changes to how we are living. If you are going out, take proper precautions with regards to your cleanliness and who you are going to be around. Follow the guidelines with regards to large group gatherings for you area. Adjust your plans. Just take the time to think through what you are doing and how it affects not just you, but those around you. . . probably something that we should be doing when there isn't a health pandemic, too.

-Start a gratitude practice. Think of at least one person or thing a day to be grateful for. Collectively, I think we need to be incredibly grateful for those in the medical profession, first responders, anyone who doesn't get the option to sit this out and who we are relying on to save lives. Individually, finding something to be grateful for will help shift your perspective. In the midst of crisis there is always something good, we just have to look for it.

I assure you I am not trying to make light of a very serious situation, and per usual I will probably be accused of being overly optimistic and "looking on the bright side" but I think we could use a bit more of that right now. There is a way to have a very realistic understanding of the gravity of a situation but also to approach it with a joyful heart and a level head.

Please, if you are feeling overly anxious, scared, or worried reach out for assistance. THIS LINK has various resources that can help.

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