Linda: The stress is on, so here are a few things that may assure you that your stress level is normal and understandable with the drastic and sudden changes that we are in the midst of. Here are 10 of the challenges that I am hearing from those around me.
1. Introverts and Extraverts: The extraverts are suffering because they don’t have the daily contact with friends that keep them in good shape, and the introverts are suffering because they are caged up in the house or apartment without enough time to themselves. The extraverts are particularly lonely, challenged to figure out alternate ways to stay connected to family and friends.
2. Financial Concerns: So many people are tense about money since they are out of work and don’t know if their place of work will even survive the pandemic or, if the company survives, how long it will take to get back on its feet.
3. Health Conservatives and Liberals: There is usually one of the pair that is more conservative about issues of safety and the other that is more relaxed. There is a lot more at stake in these times about health and safety issues. Many couples are in disagreements about how many precautions to take.
4. Give Chaos a Chance: Many of us are not good at being in the unknown. Most people like lots of predictability and security. We are all challenged to be in the mystery, making it up as we go along in this huge transition.
5. Who Do We Trust? People feel so uncertain about who in a position of authority they can trust. There are a lot of contradictory opinions, for instance, about wearing masks and sheltering in place. It’s nerve-wracking to not know who to trust. Even the highly trained, highly experienced medical experts are making it up as they go along.
6. Kids: With the kids out of school, parents are stressed, attempting to home-school and entertain them. As much as we love and adore our kids, it’s a piece of work to become their teachers on top of being their parents.
7. Incompletions: Any unfinished business lying around in the relationship can be amplified by the general stress and brought to the surface. People don’t have their normal escapes of going to work, movies, restaurants, bars, even to friends’ houses. So their incompletions are in their face.
8. Global Village: We are now so very well aware of the interconnected nature of every country on our planet. Even if our immediate family and friends are doing fine, we are impacted by the plight of those all over the world who are sick and dying, which takes a big bite out of our well-being and equanimity.
9. Frustration: Feeling helpless to do much about the suffering that is going on all over the world can feel overwhelming.
10. Facing death: Our awareness is heightened that we could be one of the people who contract the disease and does not recover. One of the huge challenges dropped in our lap is an opportunity to assess if we are living the life we really want to live and what adjustments we need to make.
Because of the magnitude of the crisis, couples have huge opportunities to level-up their life and their relationship:
- Relationship skills around cooperation and collaboration
- Communication skills
- Conflict management skills
- Negotiation skills
- Develop patience, acceptance, tolerance, and cooperation
- Emotional intimacy
- Becoming more experienced in being in “Don’t Know Mind”
There are big opportunities in a big crisis like this one. I hold the vision that many people will use it wisely.