Tuck in for a Long Winter’s Night
We were warned by health experts that the coronavirus outbreak would get worse with the flu season – and here we are. The pandemic has taken a huge toll on the lives of nearly every American. Some have suffered sickness and loss of life. Some have lost their jobs, businesses, or customers.
What happens from here? It appears that much of the winter months will likely be spent in the confines of our homes. Between cooler weather, pandemic restrictions, and regular flu and cold season, it could be a challenging winter. (1)
One thing you can do during the icy season is to tackle a project or two you’ve been putting off. Maybe it’s an insurance review, or perhaps legacy planning. Or, just organizing your financial life into cabinet files or a master binder. Make it easy for you and your loved ones to find important documents and understand what to do when there are major life changes. If we can help you with an insurance review or legacy planning using today’s flexible insurance products, feel free to give us a call.
In the meantime, consider the effects that long periods of isolation can have on mental health. Normally, we get plenty of engagement without much effort — daily watercooler chats at work, running into people at the store, meeting new friends, enjoying old friends, going to a movie, or traveling abroad. Without the ability to fully engage in these activities due to the pandemic, many people may suffer both mental and physical decline. (2)
Experts are calling the population’s exasperation with the nearly yearlong coronavirus worries “pandemic fatigue.” In particular, the lack of governmental continuity across towns, counties, and states can cause resentment, as some people are forced to observe health care protocols while others go on with their daily life. Many people working from home or who live alone and previously relied on community activities for social engagement may now be experiencing feelings of isolation and loneliness. This is particularly true for older people. (3)
While the first few months of the pandemic may have offered an opportunity for home projects, more interactive family time, catching up on reading, and personal reflection, most people are well past their patience for these types of activities – especially during the holiday season.
Now working from home, many of America’s employees have embraced the dress code of “coronavirus casual.” This means less grooming, fewer cosmetics, lots of sweat pants, T-shirts and even starting the workday in pajamas. Unfortunately, the way we look often reflects the way we feel. Therefore, not having a reason to spruce up every day can make us feel as dowdy as we often look in a work-live-play-at-home situation. (4)
While some folks are sad, others are angry. Scientists say that harnessing feelings of anger can motivate us to be more productive. (5) We want change and we want it now, but rather than trying to control something out of our control, perhaps that passion can be channeled into a creative endeavor. Focusing on a new skill, such as playing a musical instrument or learning a foreign language, is one way to be productive and “change” a situation that is within your control.
Scientists say that with intense focus, complete immersion in an activity produces a mental state known as “flow.” Research shows that people who experience flow report higher levels of creativity, productivity, and happiness. This might be just the ticket to get us through the long months ahead. (6)
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1 Sonia Fernandez. World Economic Forum. Oct. 27, 2020. “Winter is coming: Here’s what it’ll mean for the spread of COVID-19.” https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/10/how-will-winter-affect-the-way-coronavirus-spreads/. Accessed Dec. 3, 2020.
2 Christian van Nieuwerburgh. World Economic Forum. Nov. 4, 2020. “6 evidenced-based ways to look after your mental health during a second lockdown.” https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/11/covid19-lockdown-wellness-mental-health-psychological/. Accessed Dec. 3, 2020.
3 Jay Maddock. CNN. Nov. 12, 2020. “Has pandemic fatigue set in? Here’s why you might have it.” https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/12/health/pandemic-fatigue-wellness-partner/index.html. Accessed Dec. 3, 2020.
4 Wendy Wallner. Ipsos. Aug. 25, 2020. “Will COVID casual become a permanent fashion look?” https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/knowledge/consumer-shopper/Will-COVID-casual-become-a-permanent-fashion-look. Accessed Dec. 3, 2020.
5 Susan Peppercorn. Harvard Business Review. Nov. 2, 2020. “How to Stay Creative When Life Feels Monotonous.” https://hbr.org/2020/11/how-to-stay-creative-when-life-feels-monotonous. Accessed Dec. 3, 2020.