Finding the Light at the End of the Tunnel

Finding the Light at the End of the Tunnel

I wanted to avoid talking about this on here. We see so much in the news, on social media, on any website we can visit. I can’t even log into work without seeing “COVID-19 INFORMATION”.

And it is very important; I don’t want to make it out like it isn’t. But I wanted to not talk about it here and still focus on Scotland and Scottish things without encouraging others to travel now, just so I could feel like there was a place I—or anyone that reads this website—could go and have a wee break from all that. Because I’m sure we all need a break now and then.

But I know I can’t not talk about this here. And I know this entry will not be centered around Scotland specifically, which might bother those who are here for strictly Scotland content (we’ll return to that soon enough).

Right now, just give me a moment to talk a little about the current epidemic our world is facing.

I’ve been seeing so much of what people are saying and sharing, both from friends and family in the States, as well as those in Scotland. There have been some heart-warming stories of people coming together, trying to spread joy and laughter and aid in a time of crisis, and people fighting for those who are on the front lines—the healthcare providers and shelve-stockers alike!

But there’s been a lot of bad, and sad, and scary. We’re all caught in a flux of not knowing what to do, what will happen, trapped in homes imagining different outcomes. We worry about those friends, family, and loved ones that we can’t be with right now and what all of this means to them, especially those of us who have loved ones that cannot isolate.

And that concerns me as much as the virus itself: people who are getting lost in fears and anxieties and depression.

I Stress

I’m not encouraging anyone to leave their houses.

If you are able to stay at home, please do. Isolate yourself as best as you can and only leave if absolutely necessary.

Wash your hands and wash them well.

Follow the guidelines of healthcare providers and scientists as best as you can because they are the ones who have a clearer vision of what this epidemic can lead to.

And remember: this isolation period isn’t just for you; it’s for your friends, family, loved ones, neighbors, coworkers, everyone you come in contact with. No one would want to pass this on to someone they cared about, so don’t act selfishly by potentially bringing it somewhere else—because the people living “somewhere else” are people that are cared for too.

But

Losing ourselves in panic and fears is equally unhealthy, and how can people avoid that when there is no escape from the news anywhere you go?

I don’t want people falling into those negative mental places and being unable to come out of them. I don’t want people to stop thinking about and planning for the future. I want people to think about their future with excitement, to give themselves something to look forward to, a light at the end of the tunnel.

Find Your Personal Light at the End of This Tunnel

We all might have a different one, and that’s okay, but find some bright light you can hang on to while we’re isolating.

Maybe it’s travel and you’re upset because you want to take a trip somewhere.

Start planning! Research the places you want to go and what exactly you want to see. Look at reviews or ask around on social media for what people thought of different sites. Maps things out; think about what you’d wear for the climate, or what souvenirs you’d bring back, or what food you want to try. Visualize this and see it and look forward to it

BUT do it with flexibility. Don’t book hotels, cars, or flights. Don’t set firm dates or create a full timeline while everything is still up in the air.

Find the thing to focus on that gives you something to look forward to in order to keep you excited and invested in the future.

Maybe there’s something you want to do in your life. Maybe you’re stuck at home and you’ve been thinking you want to make a career change, but now that you can’t leave the house, you can’t even imagine how you’d take steps to do that.

Is there an online course you can take to dip your toes into new subjects? Or books you can read that might lead you in a new direction? If you know what you want to change careers to, can you start studying that subject now?

Or perhaps you’re a parent who’s realizing just how challenging it can be to have kids and spouse all locked together in the same house, 24-7, while one or both of you need to work. Maybe this isolation time makes you realize that in the future what you will need to prioritize is some time every week dedicated to doing something for you—and maybe you can’t take that time as much during isolation, but you can brainstorm what you might like to do in your future me-time spaces.

Why?

Why do I recommend these things? Why should any of us bother, especially when the world is feeling so crazy right now?

Because I feel these plans and those positive actions keep us wanting to move forward; they keep us grounded and thriving when we’re in a situation that isn’t what we imagined or wanted. If we don’t allow the space for being excited about those things, that’s when greater bouts of anxiety and depression can sneak in, neither of which are beneficial during an epidemic.

Yes, in the time of an epidemic, we need to take care of our physical selves in every way we can, but our minds are a big part of that. If we don’t take any time for finding some gratitude, joy, or a more positive outlook for the future, then our minds will take over us long before a virus.

And I say this as someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression in my life. I know for many people, they’ll read this and think it’s a lot of “woo-woo” or some uneducated white girl just spouting off about “good vibes”.

But I’m not asking anyone to do more than they can.

Take a little time everyday.

An hour of planning or working on something to keep you excited about the future.

If, because of the stresses of the world, you cannot do an hour, then a half-hour.

15 minutes.

5 minutes.

Do what you can to find some greater purpose for tomorrow to take you out of the fears of today, just for a little while, and try to grow on that and feed that excitement for whatever amount of time you can during your days.

And remember: do all with flexibility. We are not in a time where we can make definite plans, and we all must keep up with the guidelines set out by healthcare workers, but that shouldn’t stop us from being excited about the potential good tomorrow can bring.

Don’t give up on what will come after this. Because there will be an after and life will resume.

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