There is a lot of crazy going on right now, and honestly, there’s been a lot of crazy going on since this year began. In this post I really just want to chat with you guys and talk about some of the current stuff and evaluate where we’re at mentally right now. Consider this a friendly “how are ya?” post.
Whats Happening Out There?
So obviously the world is in a panic mode at the moment, and it makes sense. People are reacting as people are going to; panic buying supplies, shutting down community events, closing schools, canceling games, celebrations and other things that promote large community gatherings. These things seem extreme but I personally do believe it’s a sign that people are at least trying and not being negligent.
How is it affecting me?
I’m not really someone prone to the contagion of community panic. So personally I’m doing okay. There are definitely some things that provoke little tremors of nervousness within me; things like empty shelves of food and supplies at the grocery store. Those things are nerve-racking simply because I’m yet to experience such things. I’ve always been able to depend on supermarkets to have what I want, to the point where I’ve never considered a time where I would walk into a store and not be able to buy a necessity. So that’s definitely different and triggers my mind to say “hmm….This isn’t quite right”.
Although I’m not one to participate in community panic, I am taking extra caution where extra caution is due. I’ve found myself eating out less because that requires me to trust another persons cleanliness and honestly, I do not. I’ve found myself not hanging in community spaces longer than I have to (I’m writing at home today instead of one of my many outside office locations that I adore and talked about in this post) and I’m definitely overdoing it a little by washing things more intentionally when I need to use them like drink cans and plastic silverware.
I am being very intentional however about not allowing my mind to take me to the place where I end up in a space of obsession and worry, which can be difficult to do with the media doing what the media does.
So let’s talk about it.
This is my first big thing I’m encountering as an adult. I know there were large scale issues and market crashes and such while I was growing up, but I didn’t pay any attention to those because I wasn’t responsible for anything during those times. In this season I have bills to pay, a future I’m planning for, and people to provide for, at least minimally. Because of this I’ve been looking at the way the market reacts, the way communities react and the ways I could be more prepared for something like this in the future (without going over board and dropping money on a doomsday shelter lol). Looking and observing has lent itself to revealing some important lessons/life tips for the future.
Some lessons learned in this season of panic
Lesson One: Make your Emergency Fund a priority – I’m pretty good with my money. I’m not the wealthiest in the world, no. But I know how to manage a budget. That being said, I haven’t recently been making my Emergency Fund a priority in my life. Yea, it’s been there and I’ve been putting money in each month, but if my job were to shut down tomorrow and I had to rely on that alone to pay rent/feed my family indefinitely could I? No. I could not. So how do you change that? Start building one (Check out this link for a quick guide to emergency funds by my favorite money guy) . If you’re already in a place where your finances are stretched thin as it is and you can’t do anymore with what you’re bringing in, you may need to jump into a second job for a little bit. Temporarily inconvenient? Yea, sure. Maybe you won’t have as much you time and maybe you’ll have to cut back on your social life a bit, but it’s a long term investment and what a better time than now while you’re young and able? Physically can’t handle a second job? Sell a skill, are you talented in something that someone else could potentially find valuable? Photography? Photo/Video editing? Writing? Selling? There are plenty of spaces online where you can make money by doing something from home you’re already good at. I’ll make another post shortly talking about these options for those of you who are interested. If I list them all now this “quick” post will turn into a novel, in the meantime fiverr.com is a great place to start.
Lesson Two: Stay Stocked – I am that person who goes out to buy paper towels only after I’ve used the last paper towel. I hate that that’s me but hey, we all have our flaws and my world (as far as paper towels and toilet paper goes) has always been pretty secure. After this craziness settles down I really believe that will no longer be the case as I am making an intention to stay organized as far as house supplies go. My goal as of right now is to stay stocked up on all of the things a family needs. Not ridiculously, but enough ahead so that if for whatever reason the worlds toilet paper supply again runs low (extreme side eye), we at least have more than a few days worth. This goes for food and other items. As a child I remember my dad stocking our sheds with non perishables for “just in cases” and now I understand why. Again, I’m no where near panic, just full of clarity.
Lesson Three: For Small Businesses, Expand Your Access – This one isn’t a personal one, as it really doesn’t have a super effect on me at the moment, but as someone who plans on eventually being a small business owner I realized that I had little understanding of how something like this could effect the economy and the business world. The financial wellbeing of small businesses really relies on the way the public feels. If the public doesn’t feel safe, small businesses suffer. Restaurants, family stores, specialty shops and so on. In my city, business are currently being asked to take public health seriously and to close their doors as a way to assist in the containment of germs and contagion. As a result, many of them are suffering financially. Being ahead of the curve as a business owner is crucial and understanding how to provide value to your customers in the midst of a crisis can make it or break for your business. Some ways to help your small business when people aren’t able to physically come to your store or when people are fearful of ordering online? Crowdfunding platforms like Patreon or Kickstarter can help small business owners (specifically creators but this can work for other businesses too) interact with and provide value to their customers at a time when personal interaction isn’t plausible. Want more info on these platforms? Let me know below and we’ll get in depth about how to use these forums to help your business.
How is it affecting you?
A lot of people are responding to the news of COVID-19 in different ways. Some people are scared, they have preexisting health issues and compromised immunities and are worried sick about what the potential of catching it could do to them. Some aren’t worried at all and are taking advantage of low air fares and less crowding at what would normally be crowded tourist sites. And still we’ve got others who are moderate, taking the appropriate precautions, washing their hands and making sure their homes, cars, and workspaces are disinfected but aren’t going crazy in one direction or the other. I can’t speak on what’s the correct or incorrect response because in reality I don’t know. But what I can speak on is the small ways I’ve made an effort to take care of myself and avoid jumping on the panic train (because panic doesn’t help).
3 Quick tips for caring for yourself in the midst of global panic:
- Just enough of the correct information – Yes, you need to be informed, but don’t overdo it. Understand that news outlets make a significant amount of money when people feed into their fear mongering. Inform yourself of what’s happening around the world and in the spaces that effect you, then shut it off. Don’t engage in online debates, don’t over do the “what if” conversations with friends and family. This is especially important if you are someone who is feeling particularly stressed at this point in time. Monitor what’s going in and how your body reacts to it.
- Disconnect – I don’t know about you, but for me, in moments like these I can find myself feeling quite overstimulated. When overstimulated I become more emotional in my responses and my ability to actually handle minor frustrations with grace goes right out the window. Over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at recognizing that this generally means I need to take a moment and get off of social media, turn off the tv (especially the news) and get quiet. This may mean I put on some calming music, turn the lights down, spend some time making a meal or writing. Sometimes I simply sit in silence for a little with my eyes closed and wait for my mind and body to reset.
- Take Care of Your Essentials – Eat well, prioritize rest, hydrate and get some exercise. I have a bad tendency to focus so hard in one area (especially when I’m stressed) that I neglect my basic needs. If I am not careful I may end up eating my first meal of the day at 6pm. That leaves me vulnerable to a poor state of mind and without the fuel m body needs to actually help me process my currently chaotic surroundings.
This post was a chunky one, I know. But I really just wanted to talk with you guys about what was on my mind and share some things I thought may be helpful to you.
It’s a stressful time for sure, and even though I know it will pass I hope you are all well and taking good care of yourselves in the meantime. I can’t wait to see us all on the other side of this craziness.