As Malcolm X once said, “When ‘I’ replaced with ‘We’, even illness becomes wellness.” The other day, we talked about how to embrace being alone and make the most of social distancing. So, it may seem odd to follow that up with a post asking you to become a “we” instead of an “I.” However, as you’ll see below, embracing being alone is actually one of the most important ways we can work together to turn things around. Read on to learn why, plus check out some other things you can do right now (from your own home) to bring us all a little closer to the light at the end of the tunnel.
Let’s Work Together to Replace Illness with Wellness
I’m not going to sugarcoat it; the world is downright terrifying right now. We’re living through something totally unprecedented in our own lifetime. Never before have we been called upon to make so many sacrifices, to completely change the course of our everyday lives. So, let’s take a moment of “selfishness” to grieve for what we’re losing.
Go ahead, no judgement, I promise. It’s okay to be sad that your favorite sport canceled their season. Go ahead and grieve for that family spring break vacation that you had to cancel. Be sad that your high school senior may not be able to experience walking down the aisle to receive his diploma. Grieve the fact, at least for a little while, you can’t sit at your favorite booth in your favorite restaurant or go to happy hour with your best friends. Don’t feel guilty (or let anyone else make you feel guilty) for missing the seemingly mundane things that we’ve always taken for granted.
Okay, “selfish” moment over. Let’s put away our grief over what we’re missing out on. Instead, let’s see how we can turn “I” into “We” and “Illness” into “Wellness.”
Solidarity will help us triumph and turn illness into wellness
Times of turmoil tend to show humanity’s truest colors. We’ve seen the absolute worst of people over the last week. People pushing and shoving, screaming and ranting. Hoarders practically literally taking candy from a baby’s hand. Nasty messages all over social media about how it’s everyone for themselves, and time to “take care of me and mine.” It’s enough to make you lose faith in humanity.
However, turmoil also brings out the very best in people, too. It’s easy to focus on the hoarders, the cruelty, the greed. But it’s not all bad. For every jerk snatching toilet paper out of the hands of an elderly woman, there’s a customer leaving a $9,400 tip for restaurant servers that are now out of work. For every despicable Tweet about how “This is America and I do what I want,” there’s a popular band live-streaming a free concert to lift their fan’s spirits.
Yes, sometimes humanity definitely stinks during a crisis…but it also shines bright. Every day I see news about people stepping up and helping to turn this illness into wellness. We really need to take this seriously. It is really the time each one of us can contribute and do our part to help each other. If you need ideas on how to do just that, keep reading.
Just. Stay. Home.
Seriously, this is the easiest way that you can help stop this thing in its tracks. Unless you have a legit emergency reason for going out, stay home. By the way, “legit” means, “I need groceries to feed my kids,” or “I have to pick up my prescription.” It does not mean, “I’m bored, I think I’ll go to the movies.” Of course, now that many states shut down non-essential businesses, you pretty much have no choice but to stick to “legit” outings.
Like we discussed the other day, staying home isn’t really as bad as it seems! I promise, no one has ever actually died from boredom. Ever. In the entire history of the world (and people have died from some really odd things, so that’s saying something).
Imagine that you have an immune-compromised child
There’s a Facebook message going around urging everyone to imagine that they have a child with a compromised immune system, and I think it’s good advice. I also urge you to think about your parents. Your grandparents. Your neighbor. In other words, don’t think, “I’m young, I’m healthy, I’ll be just fine.” Instead, think, “I want to have many more years with my grandmother, so I won’t put her life in danger.”
Would you walk up to a child with cancer and tell them right to their face that happy hour is more important than their lives? Would you tell your grandmother that you’d rather see the latest superhero flick than spend another decade with her? I know that sounds extreme, but it’s exactly what you’re doing if you ignore recommendations put in place to help protect the vulnerable.
Ask what you can do
Compared to the people who lived through past pandemics, we are incredibly lucky. We have something they didn’t- the internet. It just takes a quick click of a button to find out how (and who) you can support during this crisis. For example, many kids from low-income families rely on school lunches as their primary meal (sometimes their only meal). Go on your local school district Facebook group and just let people know that you’re willing to help in whatever way you can.
Even if you can’t help financially, don’t underestimate yourself. You have many other unique skills that others could use. Maybe you know what it’s like to work from home and can offer some tips to make the transition easier. Perhaps you homeschool and can offer a list of resources for parents to use. Even if you just happen to know a few great recipes to help food stretch longer, offer them up. At this point, someone out there needs whatever support you can give, even if it seems totally mundane to you.
JFK once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Granted, he wasn’t referring to wellness, but the sentiment still holds true. Likewise, grieve not for what you’re missing out on, but remind yourself that missing out means that you won’t have to grieve an even greater loss later.
Remember, “together” is the only way we can change the course of current events. So, let’s join in solidarity to turn this illness into wellness…just from a good social distance. Once again, I close by wishing you happiness, health, and sanity.