Discussions are endless and emotions are running high.

Decisions are being made and questions still remain.

What we once knew and came to expect is fleeting at best and now we are left in a state of wondering what is going on, who is to blame, and what to do about it.

Welcome to trying to make sense of struggles, especially school, during a pandemic.

On any given day, many of us struggle with life situations – poor grades at school, a job we are unhappy at, relationship issues, health concerns, etc. But when a global crisis so much larger than any of us is looming over our usual trials and tribulations, and we lack unified and consistent leadership working towards creative and meaningful solutions, we can feel overwhelmed, angry, and simply at a loss of how to navigate it all.

And I know that feelings about school are at the top of the list for many right now.

We are all struggling – whether that be with school decisions, work challenges, health worries, etc., in which it is crucial we are supportive of each other rather than be critical.

But how do we do that when we are just trying to survive day to day?

I encourage you to try three things:

1) Express Empathy Not Blame 

2) Learn From Others and then Collaborate with Them 

3) Be An Active Member of Society

Let’s take a look at how you can actually use these tools in your day to day life to bring about kindness, compassion, and growth for yourself, and in return, society as a whole.

1) Express Empathy Not Blame

When we are struggling, it’s easy to pick a target to blame in order to make sense of what is happening.  Maybe you direct your anger & frustration at a geographic area, a demographic in the population, the teachers unions, maybe it’s your neighbor…and the list goes on.

But be cautious of where you place blame; it may be more harmful than good.

The spread of the virus is not the fault of teachers, nor a mayor or governor, nor any one individual by his/herself.  It has been a collective effort of society as a whole that has contributed to the spreading of this deadly illness and it is now time for society to work together in navigating through this.

We can do this by turning our blame into empathy.

I, personally, try to have empathy for everyone – even for those I may not agree with.

I have empathy for those who don’t have jobs right now and for those who do but are working from home and are at their wits end of how to handle it all.  I have empathy for older adults who are unable to enjoy their golden years as well as for kids who just want to go back to school and see friends.   And I have empathy for local leadership that are fighting their way through the best way they know how with very limited resources despite being part of a wealthy nation – whether my opinions align or not.

And you know what?  It helps me sleep at night.

I encourage you to try it…it may just help you release frustration and anger and welcome back positivity and some well-needed zzz’s.

2) Learn From Others and then Collaborate with Them

During such a trying time, our default can be to make decisions based on feelings and our own personal beliefs – making what others know or think less important.

The belief of, “I know what is best,” no matter what the circumstance can help us feel strong and confident in the moment, but doesn’t leave much room for collaborating with others to help the greater good.

Right now, it is crucial we seek statistics, research findings, and guidance from professionals to make well-balanced decisions for both ourselves and for society.  Public health doesn’t rely on beliefs and feelings, but on knowledge for health of the greater whole.

The more questions we ask – to professionals, leadership, co-workers, kids, and even ourselves, the more we can begin to understand and make sense of why we may be in the situation we are in and how we can move forward together.

As Stephen Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People believes, it’s important to, “Seek first to understand then to be understood.”

Now is the time to listen to others and learn what has worked in prior experiences (pandemics are not new to history), in order to collaborate together in this new environment.

3) Be an Active Member of Society

Have you ever considered what responsibility you have in society?

What are you doing to help others, to care for others, and to be part of the solution to this pandemic?

When I talk with my kids about the now-mandated school-at-home, I see the disappointment in their eyes and understand their question of “Why?”

However, this provides great opportunity to discuss how each of us plays an important role in society.  Them staying home from school is how they show that they care for other people and others’ health – whether they know them or not.

Sure, it’s not fun to change our usual habits of what we like to do, where we like to go, and who we like to do it all with.  But, our personal restraint during this time is a way for us to give back to society and play our part in making the world a better place.

What can you do to help others right now? How can you be part of a solution, even if only a “small” local solution?

Answering this question alone can be a wonderful first step in gaining perspective on how to move forward during this difficult time, not to mention gaining a sense of control over a seemingly uncontrollable situation.

If you are wondering how you can better employ your chances of keeping safe and healthy during this pandemic and live in the Boulder or general Denver metro area, please call me at (720) 340-0193 or send me a message here to schedule an appointment.

Together, we can work to bring clarity and calm to your mental and physical health so you can navigate this time as the best possible you.