If there’s one thing that I think we all have figured out during this era of the coronavirus pandemic, it is that we have less control over ourselves in our surroundings than we would have liked to have admitted a few months ago. We want to be in control of our lives as much as possible, and we also like the idea that the actions we take can have some degree of impact on our surroundings. From the outset of this pandemic, we have seen the government and the people around us attempt to change the way we live to have a demonstrable impact on the spread of this virus. Whether or not the measures that have been taken will be shown to be effective is something that only time will tell.
I think we like to picture ourselves as being more in control of our surroundings than perhaps we might be because being out of control is a disorienting feeling for people in our day and age. We value personal autonomy and structure as much now than in any time before us; in my opinion, from overnight shipping to instant oatmeal and all the options available to us as far as entertainment, we need not look very far to see that we have become very good at controlling as many areas of our lives as possible. To admit or concede that we may not have as much control over our circumstances as we would be admitting defeat.
How does all of this relate to the coronavirus pandemic? I think it’s pretty evident at this point that, despite our best efforts, this virus has shown us that there is a limit to which we can control our surroundings, and that includes the people that live around us. Consider the various hotlines that the government opened up when the pandemic was starting to hit our area. Government leaders were encouraging citizens to call these hotlines. Two let them know if we observed our fellow citizens not wearing masks, opening their businesses, or engaging in any behavior, there was thought to be an encouragement for the virus to spread. Say what you will about whether or not it is the government’s place to do things like this, but I believe these actions can be problematic and ineffective.
One of the downsides to taking extreme measures to curtail the spread of this virus is that the steps themselves can become a point of worry for everyday citizens. Those of us who wake up, raise a family and do our best and earn a living can sometimes be left feeling left in the dust and somewhat helpless during times like these. It’s not a big jump for people to start to feel hopeless or afraid due to a large-scale problem like the coronavirus pandemic. Once enough of the population begins to feel scared, anxious, and worried about their surroundings, it is only a matter of time before the ripples are felt throughout society.
I have observed in my daily life the degree to which people’s behaviors, mannerisms, and body language have changed due to the pandemic. While some of you were reading this blog post may have personally become ill with the coronavirus or have witnessed friends, neighbors, or family members become sick, I’m willing to bet that most of us bring this blog post have personally not been impacted by the virus at all in terms of our health.
For those of us who fall into this latter category, the worry we have consists only of what we have been told and what we have seen in the news. Remember that this virus is invisible to the naked eye, and we cannot see it nor see its threats. As a result, we feel a threat level and the risk we’re willing to tolerate are based primarily on what we have been told about the virus and how the messaging has been formed.
This may seem like an odd message for a family law office to be promoting at this time. After all: what experience do we have or special knowledge about viruses, pandemics, or any other topic like this? I’m here to tell you that we have more understanding regarding crises than you may think. As a result of many Southeast Texas families placing their trust in our office to represent them during complicated family law matters, we have gained the ability to work with and on behalf of families going through tough times. With that said, we have gained a great deal of experience in remaining calm and centered despite literal and figurative hurricanes swirling outside of our windows.
In today’s blog post, I will share two tips and pieces of advice on how to remain centered and calm during this coronavirus pandemic. Your world may feel like it is spiraling out of control. Your kids may have questions that you do not have answers to. Your marriage or family life as a whole may be having some rough patches right now, as well. What you can do during this time is not cede control over your life to anyone or anything and instead, take ownership of the small steps you can take two-century your life and those of your children.
Tip #1: Talk to the people around you
I don’t know if you’re anything like me, but when something newsworthy happens, I will go online and look at social media or news websites to understand what other people are experiencing. Sometimes this means looking at social media to get first-hand accounts about people’s seeing and feelings. If I want a broader context about the issue, I will go to a news website and see what the reporters see in other people and what it could mean for me in my family. There is a time and a place for this, but I think that talking with those around you about your concerns is a healthy step to take during this time, as well.
The fact is that during tough times we all can sometimes retreat into ourselves and fail to discuss the way we feel with the most important people in our lives. If you feel scared or upset about the coronavirus or any subject related to it, you likely have a group of people around you to feel the same way. Instead of searching for answers and good feelings on the phone, constantly scrolling through headlines, why not talk to the people in your house about how they are experiencing these issues.
What I am not advising is making the coronavirus the only conversation piece in your household. There is more going on in the world right now than the coronavirus. It may not feel like it, and to everyone else, it may feel like this is the only story or event that will ever be of any importance in our lives ever again. However, at some point, the impacts of this pandemic will come to a close. Can you all face living in a world containing the coronavirus and the things that we love and find necessary? We will need to be able to strike a balance with all these subjects. Why not talk through these issues with the people in your life that can help you gain the best perspective and possibly even call me or anxious?
Tip #2: Take steps each day to better your life
One of the things that I’ve noticed in my own life is that if I feel bad or upset and spend a whole day worrying about something, two things will likely be accurate the next day. The first thing that almost always happens is that the thing I was worried about never actually happens. You can find many sources out there, including authors and thinkers, who will tell you that 80% of the things that we worry about never even come close to happening in real life. This should be something that both makes us feel less anxious and also frustrates us. Consider for a moment if we had all the time back that we spent worrying about things that never actually happened. What productive ends could we have worked towards during that time?
This is a perfect transition into the 2nd point I wanted to make about what happens the day after a day where I spend most of my time worrying about something that never actually happened. I almost always look back and think about what I could have done with the day, but I just wasted worrying about that particular thing that never occurred. Usually, I will have a pile of work that could have been done, things around the house I could have attended to, and time spent with my children that could have been more fulfilling for them and me.
Rather than look back on a few months at this time as wasted or pointless, I recommend that you take steps each day to do something productive for you in your family. These do not have to be steps that are humongous or profound. For a long time, they can be little things, like the long stretch of a pandemic, for example, that will make a big difference for you and those in your home.
One of the benefits of living in 2020 is that our ability to utilize technology is so great that much of the world is at our fingertips. If you have been laid off from your job or have had your hours reduced, why not go online and access free material to help you find a new job or enhance the skills you possess at your current position? You may be a veteran in your field, but you may be surprised to learn That there are skills that have been developed in recent years that you may have missed. Take this time to do everything you can to better yourself from a professional standpoint so that when the restrictions on our movement have been lifted, you will be able to hit the ground running.
There are also spiritual, physical, and familial goals that you can set for yourself during this pandemic, allowing you to focus your energy on productive ends. While many people joke about gaining weight during the pandemic, it is not far-fetched to imagine a scenario where we pack a few extra pounds due to physical inactivity and stress. Why not make a concerted effort with your spouse to not only avoid gaining weight but lose a few pounds in the meantime? You can challenge each other with healthy eating exercises and make a game out of it with your family. If you can involve your entire family in your March toward productivity, it can become less of a chore and more of a fun means of passing the time you all were will remember years after the pandemic has come and gone.
Questions about Texas family law? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about how the COVID-19 pandemic may impact the state of your family both now and in the future, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free-of-charge consultation six days per week. These consultations can be had in person at our office, over the phone, or via video; we want to help keep our community safe while helping those who need skilled family law representation. Thank you for choosing to spend part of your day with us here on our blog today.