We live in a society that actually promotes loneliness and isolation. That seems like an oxymoron because we are all so busy going places and getting involved in activities – but that does not mean we are connected on a deep level.
Now, with the coronavirus pandemic, all of this has been accentuated and accelerated. Those of us who were lonely are now lonelier. Those of us who were isolated are now more isolated.
In other cultures, community is part of daily living. Outward success and financial achievement are not as important in other cultures as they are here. This is among the reasons why there is so much fear and panic at this time.
But enough of that. My goal is to focus on the positives.
Financially, for those with steady paychecks, most will be paid. For those who are unemployed, sole proprietors, business owners, independent contractors and those whose businesses depend on steady customers in the doors, there are new government programs to help. And we can reach out to vendors, customers, creditors, landlords for help and understanding. We can also look inward at our needs versus our wants.
Healthwise, we all know the recommendations for cleanliness and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic: We know to wash our hands thoroughly, disinfect, wear masks and practice social distancing. We need to add self-care to that list. This includes getting enough sleep or better sleep, eating healthier foods and exercising – even if it means dancing in your living room or lying on the floor doing leg lifts. The silver lining: there are so many online resources for exercising and self-care.
Emotionally, this is a time to reach out to our friends, family, customers, employees and colleagues. We can do this online or, even better, on the phone. This is a time to support each other, and an ideal time to reconnect with those whom we have lost touch with because of our usually busy lives. In these times of self-isolation, a phone call or text can make someone’s entire day – perhaps even yours!
Spiritually, the new buzz word seems to be mindfulness, and this is especially important when we are cooped up and bored. There are wonderful apps to help with this, including Headspace, Calm, Mindfulness Daily and Insight Timer.
Also, use this time to take an inventory of what you have, both internally and externally. What are your gifts? What are your blessings? This includes friends, family, home and the resources readily available to us in our homes and communities. This is also a time to reach out to others who could use our help.
Environmentally, this is a great time to look at our space and decide what stuff we do not need. We can organize drawers or books, clean out shelves, discard old papers, reorganize the basement and garage, go through our closets. Organizing and reducing clutter is very healing.
For me, the lesson is about staying open and creative and positive. Spend some time thinking of new ways to earn money, take care of yourself and loved ones, communicate with others and show up in the world.
And don’t forget that connecting with our Jewish community can provide a source of comfort and sustenance. I am single and on my own, and while I do have strong connections, they are not as many as in larger families who live close together. I am getting through this pandemic by being with others virtually. I participated in two Zoom seders this year. They were both so meaningful and special. Although I was “by myself” for the seder, I wasn’t alone. I met new people and really felt connected. Passover had an even deeper meaning for me this year.
PATRICIA RASKIN, owner of Raskin Resources Productions, is a media host, coach and award-winning radio producer and business owner. She has served on the board of directors of Temple Emanu-El, in Providence.