We have been living in strange times. Most of us have never experienced a pandemic like this before. So, for us, this feels like a horror movie became a reality. Not knowing when this is all going to end, how far it will go, and how this is going to affect our business, our family, and our health is a huge psychological strain on all of us. For the past 16 days my boyfriend and I have been self-quarantining ourselves. We are one of the lucky ones that has the opportunity to work from home. At least for now… We are also facing the chance of losing our jobs if this affects our customer numbers terribly which is not unlikely at this point. Yet, we still keep our heads high up and try to stay positive! I wanted to share with you the lessons I have learned during this pandemic mania. Of course, we are still all learning. This, for sure, has been one hell of an experience for all of us.
- Nature revives as humans retreat. In addition to decrease in air pollution and having clearer skies now, there is also another thing took affect: Our office space in our apartment has two wide windows. I sit just next to one of them and I hear all the time the neighborhood kids playing, the rain falling, UPS car driving by with loud music, etc. After a week or so of the quarantine in Massachusetts, I started to hear something else by my window: the nature. The birds and the bugs that I have never heard before were all over the place like an orchestra! They were all singing as if they were celebrating the absence of humans, saying, “Finally! we can share this space too.” The photos of monkeys invading the streets in Thailand, deer walking around in Japan, peacocks exploring streets of Madrid show what life would look like in human deprived cities.
2. The times of crisis are the most important times that we need leadership. Yes, we have control over our lives, and our daily actions. But we don’t have control over others’. In cases like this, when others’ actions also affect us and our loved ones’ health, we can’t help but feel helpless. That’s why we desperately want someone to take an authoritarian action. This has worked well in China and Germany. But has failed miserably in the USA and Italy. President Trump ignored all the news coming from China and all the advice he got from the healthcare providers in the US before the hell broke loose. This was March 9th:
And the tweet below was from yesterday, after 135,328 confirmed cases and 2,381 deaths in just 2 weeks:
Even now, people are still outside, partying, going to restaurants or organizing house parties, flights are still happening, people are still gathering at churches, and all of this is because there is no unified authority to shut them down.
3. People are weird. No additional comments needed.
4. Culture speaks for itself. The fact that China, Japan and Korea have done a much better job at containing the virus than the US, Italy and Spain, was because of their long-term thinking and planning cultural trait. Also, the western countries’ individualism showed itself when all the white and blue collar emptied the shelves in the markets, leaving nothing to old and poor who barely live on a daily income. Many homeless shelters closed down, leaving the most vulnerable even more vulnerable.
5. Apparently, toilet paper is important in our lives. Who would have thought? Together with bread, pasta, rice and flour, toilet paper was the first one to disappear from the shelves. People were fighting over it (see below) and also over-buying it, again not thinking someone else might need it too. Some even have the decency to make a throne and declare themselves as toilet paper queen.
Click here to see the fight between the supermarket customers over toilet paper.
I want to add an interesting note here as well. When I went to grocery store a few weeks ago, the aisle for the toilet paper was empty – which is not shocking, I know – But also I saw people riding their carts by the aisle and looking frustrated about this and leave. However, right across the toilet paper shelves, there were paper towels and the shelves were full… So, why not become resourceful and use them as toilet papers, people? Like below??
6. People deal with stress in different ways. Some of us sleep less, some of us sleep more. Some of us lost appetite, and some of us eat way more than normally what we would eat. We get agitated more easily, especially in traffic or to customer service people. We are more suspicious of each other, so not being able to trust one another creates this weird angry feeling. Some of us keep checking the news, refreshing the pages to see the latest updates, some refuse to check the news for their own sanity. Even the grocery shopping has become such a hassle as we wipe everything down, wash ourselves before we place them in our homes. We miss seeing our family, having happy hour with friends, grabbing a Pike Place roast from Starbucks, going to a pub to enjoy a beer, eating our favorite dish at a restaurant. But we all carry the responsibility for one another, and this has a strain on our body, too, as it does on our minds. It is normal to feel neck, shoulder and back pain due to stress. Also, I have lost so much hair… Even some of us show flu like symptoms although we are not sick. All these psychological effects are normal but in order to minimize them, we need to meditate, exercise, focus on our hobbies and work, spend time with our loved ones on the phone and try to stay positive.
7. We are not as powerful as we think. We are not Gods. We need to stop acting like one. Nature rules.
We cut trees, we burn forests to build cities, we feel powerful.
We raise animals, then cut open and eat them, we feel powerful.
We feed pets, take care of them like our babies, we feel powerful.
We swim in the ocean, spill our oil in it, leave garbage on the beaches as we please, we feel powerful.
But then… An earthquake shakes, we die, thousands of us. Storms and floods sweep streets together with their economies, we cry, thousands of us. A virus spreads so fast and so fatally, we die again, millions of us. Each and every time nature reminds us who we are. We are not the ultimate power. We are not actually in control. Frankly, we are just one meteorite away from eternity.
This is why we need to keep in mind how powerless we are and stop acting like we are the kings and queens of the universe. This is the only way we can get our acts together.