The last month has finally brought the good news that scientists have been successful in formulating a number of vaccines that are effective against the COVID-19 virus. But while this news has brought a lot of optimism for 2021, we are not through the crisis yet. There will be a winter of continued shelter-in-place orders and outbreaks before enough of the vaccine can be produced and distributed to the population to make us all safe again.
Now is the time to dig deep and get over the final hurdles. With that in mind, we have collected some of the wisdom shared with us through the year, from our colleagues, experts and friends.
The new normal
Our New Normal series has been a great source of advice from real people. New York Life employees shared their daily lives with us, as they navigated working from home, new childcare worries and financial concerns.
Darren Johnson, Marketing Senior Associate, told us how his connection to nature in his new rural home helped him to cope – along with binge-watching Looney Toons cartoons. Rebecca Sekosky, Head of Human Resources for Madison Capital Funding, a New York Life Investments company, shared how her routine helped her not to flounder in her new normal. And time after time, people said that the thing they most missed about life before COVID was being with other people, a bittersweet reminder of how we connect by connecting with each other.
Throughout the pandemic, we connected with specialists on New York Life Foundation’s Ask The Expert series. Clinical psychologist Dr Julie Kaplow let us know that it was normal to have a wide range of emotions in a crisis, emotions that might even flip from one hour to the next. She also advised us that while much of the pandemic was out of our control, we could best cope by addressing the things we could control. We could control our own efforts to halt the virus, through handwashing or physical distancing, and control our emotions by identifying them and actively coping with them, instead of trying to push them away.
We also gathered advice from Dr Kaplow on how to support the emotional needs of children during the pandemic. Along with practical tips from Donna A. Gaffney, DNSc, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN, on how to limit our media time in lockdown. And we had a fascinating discussion with Michaele N. Turnage Young, senior counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, on educational equity.
Even with good news on vaccines, it can be hard to stay optimistic. Sometimes, we have to take time to do the small things that can make us happy. Or learn how to relax when our vacation time is taken at home. Or take steps to build our mental resilience in the face of financial stress.
However we do it – carving out small moments, ensuring self-care or simply connecting by sharing the story of our own new normal – this is the final stretch. This crisis has an end and that end is in sight. For now, we only need to hold on and continue to take care of ourselves, and each other.
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