Wow. It’s been a wild ride since the April issue! And, of course, not just for us here at Serenity. The whole community has been dealing with major upheavals and stress in their lives. I’m not going to use any of the buzz words that we have all been hearing/reading ad nauseam. You all know exactly what I mean. Stay with me to the end here, because this may not wind up where you think it will.
In this issue, you will be hard put to find more than just a couple pages without the words COVID-19, coronavirus or pandemic. Both in articles and in ads, there is mention of the change in our world due to this crazy and uncertain ride we are on. This is not to say that the content is not absolutely wonderful and well presented—on the contrary, it is refreshing to see so many perspectives and have so much great commentary and useful information for our community to absorb as they flip through the magazine. But, for a moment, I’m going to share with you an effect all of this had on me, and then explain how I coped with that.
As editor, I read and edit every single article as well as all ads. (Some ads are sent to us from outside sources and edits I find cannot always be changed by the original designers due to time constraints if they were sent in close to press time, which is highly frustrating for this perfectionistic editor!) This month, as each day went by, I realized I was reading about the dreaded virus for hours on end, followed by the latest news on it via TV after getting home; and then the tension buster that I normally rely on throughout the day as a little break from the intensity—social media—was a complete freak show, with people tearing each other to shreds and eating their own. Polite discourse was a rarity. The most innocuous of posts devolved into vitriol. If we weren’t divided as a nation before this virus (and let’s be honest… we pretty much were), we certainly are now. So, no lighthearted, fun breaks to be had for Holly via social media this month! I found that I was on a steady diet of COVID-19 and I didn’t even have the disease! It felt a little like I was being swallowed whole by an unseen enemy.
Throughout my life, I have used a failsafe protocol at times of extreme stress: change the perspective. It’s not brilliant or original and I didn’t learn about it from someone else or by reading a self-help book. It came naturally to me a long time ago and has always been effective for me. I have since learned that it really is a valid and helpful tool that psychologists recommend all the time. The key is remembering to apply it when you are in the throes of a harrowing situation. That requires discipline, but the more often you practice it, the easier it becomes.
My method, this time, for changing perspective was to compare my situation and stress level to that of the frontline health care workers out there who are directly caring for patients suffering with this virus. I queried to myself: How must doctors, nurses, EMTs and all their supporting staff and families feel when they wake up every morning and have to face yet another day of seeing the realities of the deadly part of this virus? It didn’t take but a minute for all of my own personal frustrations to wash away. Applying perspective works. My little world is tiny compared to the magnitude of the world at large. It helps to keep that in mind when things feel overwhelming. I salute and have the highest regard for all health care workers who put their lives on the line every day. Those are some special people.
While I believe living in fear is not a healthy way to live and, in fact, is not really living at all, I recognize that people have a right to feel as they feel. It is not my place to judge. I do, however, expect that same courtesy in return. As Americans, wouldn’t it be nice if we all tried to use perspective and respect to try and bridge this huge divide?