Optimistic Options in Light of COVID-19

By: Caroline Dowd-Higgins

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The stress of the COVID-19 pandemic is palpable. There is a clear emotional wake of distress, fear, and anxiety from the unknown of the foreseeable future.

While we all need to be vigilant about social distancing, proper hygiene, and protecting the most vulnerable populations, here are a few optimistic ideas about how to reframe the seemingly dire into the positive.

[Related: Leadership Begins with Love]

Get outside.

Spring is in the air, so even if you are stuck at home working, and the kids are home from school — get outside.

Go for a walk, soak in some fresh air, and move your body. Take the dog for a long walk, or just sit outside for a while to marvel in nature and soak it in with all five of your senses.


A friend had to cancel their spring break Disney cruise and reframed the disappointment by playing Disney Monopoly with the family at home.

In this digital world, slowing down to play a game, enjoying a face-to-face conversation, or preparing a meal together could be the quality family time that is not always feasible with the usual hustle and bustle of a daily commute and a jam-packed schedule. Enjoy the slower pace and incorporate play into your day.

Write a letter.

Spend some time writing a long-distance friend or relative and take pleasure in sending your note via post. Or, craft a love note to your beloved and tuck it away as a surprise for them to find around the house. In an age of texts, e-mail, and Instant Messaging, a hand-written note makes a lasting impression.

[Related: 10 Reasons Why You Need a Digital Detox]

Turn your webcam on while working virtually.

I’m shocked at how many virtual meetings use just audio without the webcams on. While we are home bound, be brave and turn on your webcam so you can be seen and heard.

Deepen the virtual relationship with eye contact and honor others with your full attention and focus. It does mean you can’t multitask, or stay in your jammies all day, but it’s well worth the effort.

Help one another.

This is a time for communities to come together and get stronger. Honoring the safety protocols put in place for COVID-19, you can still reach out to your family and friends to ask how you can help.

Pick up groceries for the elderly neighbor unable to get to the store. Call a friend to offer a listening ear during this anxious time. Donate to a non-profit with a mission you find meaningful. So many 501C3’s have been hit hard by the pandemic — your support could keep them afloat.

Be grateful.

If you are in good health, you can start by being thankful for this tremendous gift. Spend some time considering what you are grateful for and share that with your loved ones. Gratitude journals and dinner time reflections have been in vogue for years, but this practice will give you an opportunity to get quiet and focus on what matters most in your life.

The division and heightened emotions in the world have been escalating for some time. Interestingly, the COVID-19 pandemic leveled the playing field because our common denominator is that we are all human — and we are all vulnerable. Perhaps the greatest silver lining is the true understanding that we are all in this together.

Think about how you can be kind. How you can focus on helping others during this time. We can reboot kindness and benevolence toward each other and choose to see the positive as we look toward a brighter future. This too shall pass.

[Related: Spring Cleaning: Letting Go With Gratitude]

Caroline Dowd-Higgins authored the book “This Is Not the Career I Ordered” and maintains the career reinvention blog of the same name. She is Vice President of Career Coaching and Employer Connections for the Ivy Tech Community College system and contributes to Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Ellevate Network, Medium, and The Chronicle newspaper in Indiana. Her online video series: Thrive! about career and life empowerment is on YouTube. A dynamic public speaker and coach, she is a member of the National Speakers Association and the International Coach Federation and presents to audiences globally. She hosts the three-time award winning podcast, Your Working Life, on iTunes and SoundCloud. Follow her on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter.

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Originally published at https://www.ellevatenetwork.com.

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