The current pandemic has blurred and blended home and work-life in a way that's made me dizzy. Suddenly, my coworkers were my 11-year-old daughter and my 14-year-old son.
My workspace bounced from my home to the office like a ping pong ball. Being the CEO and co-founder of Eosera, a biotech company focused on ear care, doesn't make it easy to strictly work from home. Especially as an essential business with a manufacturing team still churning out products every day and employees depending on your guidance and direction in an unprecedented time. So, those who can work from home in my office do so and remain in the loop via Zoom and email. Those who can't stay six feet apart, use hand sanitizer and soap like it's going out of style, are masked, and keep a close eye on their temperature.
I feel an underlying sense of anxiety throughout the days. I'm worried about my employees' mental and physical health. I have this angst that I don't normally have. Angst that my children can't see their friends. Angst that I can't see my friends. And angst that my business is being threatened by the lack of available componentry from vendors due to shutdowns and delays. The virus has changed life as we know it, with restaurants and bars emptied along with grocery store shelves. I'm convinced there's a deeper meaning, a life lesson, amidst and in between the anxiousness and the angst of it all, that we're supposed to grasp.
Highlights Amongst the Havoc
Don't get me wrong, the virus is devastating and frightening. A silver lining doesn't take away from the pain so many families have felt through unemployment, financial woes, sickness, and loves ones lost. Not to mention the adults and children who are no essentially trapped in an unsafe home. But, in a weird way, the virus has also done something interesting for my family — perhaps yours is the same.
It forced us to slow down and spend time with only each other. It forced us to cook at home more. It forced us to grapple with what a necessity is as we cut our trips to the grocery store down. It forced us to turn to the arts in times of sadness and devastation to kill the boredom — television, movies, books, drawing, painting, writing, or even journaling.
For my family, a highlight amongst the havoc is family dinner. Every night, my family sits down and has a meal together. This wasn't always the case. Often, before the pandemic, things like sporting events, work, homework, and travel got in the way of us sitting together as a family and sharing a meal.
Uncertainty is indeed a common feeling amongst business owners at this time. Watching the cases rise and the available hospital beds decline can bring a sense of unease that we just have to sit with — there's no controlling a pandemic and the turmoil it reaps. There's no controlling what components are available or if employees are sick. And there's definitely no singlehandedly controlling the economic consequences we're seeing.
That's why maintaining and keeping a schedule is imperative to mental and physical health for my kids and myself. Waking up early, or at least at the time you woke up before the pandemic, can help jump-start your day and will allow for ample time to complete your daily tasks. Taking a lunch break is also essential to maintaining your sanity and breaking up the day
Additionally, after work and school, getting outside and soaking in some vitamin D can help boost your mood and give you a nice change of pace after looking at a screen all day. Getting some kind of exercise — whether it's a home workout, running, or biking outside is great for your mental and physical health and will save you in times like these.
Keeping a healthy routine when everything is so uncertain is how we can cope with being in a pandemic and the fear that accompanies such a global health crisis.
Being Together… Apart
The circumstances under which we as people are separated are unfortunate. But, in another way, I feel like we're closer than ever. This time is one where we are pulling together through the separation. The internet is a great way to connect with others through this tumultuous time. I'm seeing people FaceTime and Zoom like it's the new coffee date or happy hour. I'm seeing amazing, hard-working teachers get creative with their curriculums. I'm seeing people and companies support our brave healthcare workers. We're in this together, even if we're apart.
Unparalleled times like these will go down in our history books (and no doubt so will the memes) and owning a business during a pandemic is tricky, to say the least. But finding the positive in such a devastating situation is what makes a great leader — this I've learned firsthand. Globally coming together and spending more time focused on what's important is one way to look at the positive in a pandemic. It doesn't take away from the seriousness of the situation, but it could make getting through the days a little bit easier.
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Help! My Friend Is a No Show
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.
Dear Sadsies,I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.
I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!
- The Armchair Psychologist