Before & After COVID-19


What does the rest of this year, 2020, look like for you, now that the world has been forever changed because of COVID-19?

Are those summer plans out the window?

Will you ever want to travel again?

Or maybe just getting staying healthy or recovering from the virus is enough?

Life is going to be different. It will NEVER be the same as it was BEFORE.

But now is the time to look at our routines we did BEFORE COVID-19 and see if we still should be doing those once the world settles down.

Coping in a COVID-19 World

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Full Transcript

Let me ask you … What does the rest of this year, 2020, look like for you, now that the world has been forever changed because of COVID-19?

Are those summer plans out the window?

Will you ever want to travel again?

Or maybe just getting staying healthy or recovering from the virus is enough?

Jan & I had a lot going on before the world stopped spinning. A lot of plans.

For starters, we were getting ready to have a new person join Team Ben. We were quite excited about that. We were also trying to plan when we would get to see our new grandchild, even though her arrival was still 2 months away. And with that, we were thinking about how we could make the trek to Ontario this summer, with Ben, like we did a few years ago, to see everyone.

There was all kinds of hope and anticipation of what the year would bring.

And then, on March 11, all those plans were put on hold after the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of the coronavirus a worldwide pandemic. From that point, this coronavirus wasn’t just some random news headline about other countries affected.

It was now everywhere. Gov’ts in this country and around the world began enforcing restrictions like social distancing and border closures which meant schools, businesses were shut down and travel slowed to a trickle.

Essentially, all freedom to live and work stopped. Or at least stopped to what we were used to.

Now, I know you know all this. What I’m trying say is this.

There was the BEFORE the pandemic – lots of plans, excitement, and “normal” stuff for lack of a better term.

Now, there’s DURING the pandemic – all plans cancelled, isolation, lots of fear & anxiety, job losses, people suffering, people dying, nothing “normal” about it. Who knows how long that will last.

But at some point, at SOME POINT, there WILL be an AFTER the pandemic.

What is THAT world going to look like? For you? For me? Your neighbour? Your family? Your community?

I don’t think we’ll wake up one day and realize we’re in the AFTER phase. Whenever a crisis hits, it rarely just ends.

Life is going to be different. It will NEVER be the same as it was BEFORE. How could it? Sure, we’ll do some of the same things. Go to the same restaurants, maybe. But life won’t look exactly like it did before.

Let me give you two examples of why I think this way. If you know my story and Ben’s story, you know that on the day he was born our lives were instantly changed.

There was life BEFORE Ben – lots of plans, lots of anticipation. And then BOOM. We had a child who was going to require 24-hour care for the rest of his life.

For his first 5 years, life was kind of a blur with one crisis blending into the next. In that time, which was the DURING phase, like we’re in now with COVID-19, we slowly returned to doing some things we did BEFORE he was born.

But life was forever changed for us.

Gradually, we found a way to accept that, to a different way of living. We found ways to get creative. To give us some comfort. Some confidence. Some peace.

But it was a transition to get there and NOT just waking up one morning and saying “Wow, glad that’s over”.

HOWEVER, we did realize that we had left the shock and the pain and trauma behind us, and we were entering a new phase. The AFTER phase. Once that happened, we started looking ahead and planning again.

Our vision for Ben was that he was going to follow the same normative pathways of life just as his brother & sister were – you know, go to public school, maybe even post-secondary, and then get a job. It would look different. But that was the really positive outcome we were envisioning.

Remember, that’s the 2nd Coping Strategy that works no matter what. If you want to learn more about what this coping strategy is all about, just go to our website, and check it out.

So even though on Day 1 when we worried he may not live the day, and what that would mean for our family, and then he did, but still required 24-hour care, and what toll that would take on all of us … and even though the “normal” state took many years to finally settle into, we still had the power and control to visualize a really positive outcome.

We eventually got the AFTER.

It wasn’t even close to where we thought we’d be. But the AFTER did come.

It wasn’t better or worse than we thought. It was just different. And so it will with COVID-19.

Another example … the day I found out I had cancer, our world stopped again. No warning. No preparation. And yet we had to deal with it. Life dramatically changed again, forever.

For 9 months, the focus was on me getting through the treatment and feeling energized on the other side. That was my picture of a really positive outcome.

It wasn’t guaranteed. There were many events along the way where it could have gone sideways.

Where my body and mind may not have responded in a good way.

But I had a picture of what the positive end looked like.

All my routines had changed which meant I had to adapt if I wanted to achieve that positive outcome but so what.

Once the treatment was done, things DIDN’T return to the way they were before I was diagnosed. Not all at once, anyway. There was a “settling-in” phase.

Again, there was life BEFORE cancer, life DURING cancer, and life AFTER cancer. But the AFTER took a fair bit of time to settle into and get used to.

So, now that we’re all still in the DURING phase of COVID-19, we get a chance to look at our routines in the BEFORE phase and see if we still should be doing those in the AFTER phase. It is a gift, I suppose, to be given this time to reassess and revaluate.

Is it time now to make that break from BEFORE, whatever that looked like?

Have things actually now changed to prevent us from doing them the same way?

Or maybe now there’s an opportunity to do them differently or even better in some way?

Or not, but at least you still could be doing them.

So do this today. Start it TODAY. Write down how your world is looking. And then create a picture in your mind of what you want your world to look like in the next few months. Let’s say by the start of summer.

You see, the action of writing it down get both sides of your brain working – while your left side (the problem-solving side) processes the situation that might seem to be overwhelming you, the right side (the creative side) of your brain is thinking about new ideas on how to tackle the situation.

Writing it down gets it “out there”. Out of your head. Into the air. On paper. The very act of doing so lessens the power the stress the current situation has over you because it’s out there for all to see.

Remember, If you can picture a successful outcome, it becomes much easier to figure out how to make the journey, step-by-step, day-by-day, hour-by-hour, to get to that positive end. If you can’t picture yourself winning, then you probably won’t.

One last thing. Here’s our garden today. Barren. Unkept. Dull. No life. Here’s our garden in the summer (last July, actually). Bursting. Growing. Full of life. This is the REALLY positive outcome we picture in our minds and we work at it every day to make it come true.

Our habits are going to change, no question about it. They already have. But you know what, our lives change when our habits change. And that CAN be a good thing.

There’s nothing like a dream to create the future. Take care. Be well.


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