Wow. What a month it’s been, huh? It seems we’re in for a wild ride this year. Change is stressful under the best of circumstances, and let’s be real— what’s going on in our world right now does not qualify as the “best” of anything.

But, it’s not the worst, either. Or, it doesn’t have to be.

Sure, things are tough right now. A lot of people have lost their jobs, either permanently, or temporarily. Quite a few have lost their lives to this virus. Businesses are closed, our government has asked (or ordered, depending on where you live) people to stay home. Routines have changed as businesses and schools move to a work from home model. Buying toilet paper is a challenge in a lot of places.

But it’s important to focus on the positives in life. If you’re reading this, then you certainly have not died from Covid-19. You have electricity and even Internet. Think about that for just a minute. Epidemics and pandemics have happened before. And, they will happen again. It’s part of the natural cycle of life and death on Earth. Our ancestors experienced epidemics and pandemics in the past. We have one thing they never did— the Internet.

What does that do for us is these uncertain times? Well, I suppose that depends entirely on how you use it. If you obsess over reading the news, and read every sad and scary story in the name of “staying safe” then I guess the Internet is going to contribute to your stress and fear.

But, if you use the Internet wisely it can contribute to your survival.

What do I mean? Unlike past generations who faced pandemic situations we have the ability to share information with each other, learn a new skill during this time, and move work or business on-line. We can use video conferencing to keep in touch with family and friends. Have virtual coffee together and catch up just like you would in a coffee shop or restaurant. Instead of taking your partner or spouse out for a dinner date, use the Internet to learn how to cook her/his favorite restaurant meal. Set up a pretty table with candles and background music. You’ve created the restaurant experience for less cost, and with fewer interruptions.

Instead of complaining that your local grocery store is out of beach, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, eggs, or even your favorite drink, try these more positive and healthier alternatives:

  • Learn to make your own hand sanitizer
  • Help your elderly or high risk neighbor get the supplies he/she needs.
  • Check in on a family member across the country
  • Read a book. Scribd has tens of thousands of books. A Scribd subscription costs less than Netflix.
  • Spend 25 minutes learning how you might be able to make money on-line
  • Take a class on Skillshare, Udemy, or some other on-line platform.
  • Do a family strength challenge. See who can hold a plank the longest, or who can do the most squats, or push ups.
  • Take up a new hobby. Personally, I’m doing a 5k training program for beginners.
  • Make bulletproof coffee, or my coffee shake recipe, and get together with friends over video chat.
  • Use an on-line recipe website to learn to cook something new. Surprise your spouse with candlelight dinner.
  • Cook dinner for a neighbor.
  • Volunteer to help provide meals for people who are struggling financially right now.
  • Meditate
  • Stop and express gratitude for all you currently have. Don’t think you have much to be thankful for right now? If you’re breathing,and moving, if you have food, and a roof over your head, if you have Internet and a cell phone, you have more than many people. Be thankful for what you DO have.

One thing my MS recovery has taught me is not to focus on what I can’t do, or don’t have. Paying attention to things I can’t do only leads to anger and depression. I would never have stopped the MS progression and reversed symptoms if I had focused my attention on the things I had to give up. Early on in this journey I didn’t look at the cookies and think, “I wish I could eat those.” Instead I told myself, “I enjoy walking. I love being able to speak and have my kids understand me. I don’t want my husband to have help me get dressed, so I will skip the cookies.”

When faced with the situation I was looking 15 years ago, I could have let it defeat me. I could have listened to the doctors who were telling me that I’d need total care in less than a year. A lot of people do. Heck most people who are faced with those kinds of odds give up. They resign themselves to the “truth,” and listen to the “experts.” Nobody would have blamed me if I had simply interviewed nursing homes, and prepared mentally, physically, and financially to spend the rest of my life being cared for by strangers. When I didn’t prepare for that outcome, friends, extended family and doctors told me I was being irresponsible. I was told that by fighting the inevitable I was setting my husband and kids up for financial and emotional stress.

However, I chose to focus on what I COULD do. Even if the only thing I was able to do that day was choose not to eat the bagel, and stand up for 5 minutes. And, there were certainly plenty of days like that. No matter what I could do physically, I could always choose to make sure my kids and husband knew I loved them. I could always choose to believe in something better.

I guess what I really did was choose to believe in God. Not the God of churches, but the God of the Bible. The God who tells us there will always be challenges and difficulties, but that He will always bring us through if we have faith.

What is faith? I suppose it means different things to different people. I define faith as believing in things I can’t physically see in that moment. When I was almost completely disabled with the Multiple Sclerosis, I believed with my whole heart that I could be well again. Maybe not cured, but functional. I focused my mind, heart and intention on doing things I was, at that moment, unable to do. I believed that tomorrow I would be able to physically do one thing that I was unable to do today. I focused on my belief that God would take care of me, just like He always had. Just like He takes care of the birds, and the squirrels, and the wild animals all over the world.

During this time of world-wide crisis, focus on your faith. Focus on the good in your life. Focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t. You will be happier, and better able to handle the situation you find yourself in. Your family will be happier, and you might just help someone else get through this.

Tell me your thoughts.