As another week passes, I believe there are as many questions as there are resources to help. There is just too much misinformation that creates too much confusion and stress.
During this COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve spent hours watching webinars and making calls to try and get clarity on loans, payroll spreadsheets and reports, submitting applications, etc., and just when I think I know what I’m supposed to do, circumstances change. “This is a very fluid situation,” is what I often hear from experts who present the webinars and from the professionals offering advice. But you know what? They’re right!
If you are a small business owner like me, all the advice, help and information at some point becomes overwhelming and stressful. And to make matters worse, someone tells me, “we are all in this together.”
Yes, when it comes to a global pandemic, we are all in this together, but we each experience it differently. Everyone has different life situations, personal and professional relationships, practices, backgrounds, personalities, financial situations, mindsets, levels of health, and so on.
For example, the experience of a dentist who is just out of school with debt and works as an associate and is now laid-off trying to collect unemployment benefits versus the experience of an established dentist who has little debt and substantial savings. They both must navigate this crisis, but they will take completely different paths toward their recovery and survival. It is what makes each of us and our experiences unique and distinctive.
PRACTICE RECOVERY: Spear Online members can begin Practice Recovery now and discover the “4 Key Initiatives” for break-even strategies to mitigate the financial strain and align your team to treat patients in this unprecedented time.
Time to be positive
If someone says to you, “we are all in this together,” and you think to yourself, “Yes, but…” remember to take a deep breath and breathe.
According to a recent check of the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center dashboard, there were more than 3.3 million confirmed cases. Be thankful if you can breathe with ease. Gratitude is an awesome way to be grounded and focused on what truly is at stake here.
Remember, focus on what’s good in your life. Be grateful for your health, family, food and home. Gratitude creates positive emotions and helps reframe life.
On a physiological level, deep diaphragmatic breaths activate the parasympathetic or calming part of the nervous system. It helps you to feel focused and connected with yourself instead of feeling out of control.
Time for acceptance
Next, acknowledge and accept your struggles. Just like our patients, we can’t help them with their oral health needs until they accept there is a problem. Admitting life is rough right now is important and healthy. Being stoic or ignoring real problems only leads to dishonesty and dysfunction.
Once we admit our struggles, reach out and lean on those around you, which is especially important during pandemic social distancing. Even with stay-at-home orders, the use of technology like FaceTime or video conferencing helps us stay connected with friends, family and colleagues. It keeps us positive.
Think of it this way: we have all the time in the world now to re-establish the personal connections we may have been too busy to maintain before the pandemic struck. Take advantage of this extra time and make those calls you’ve been putting off.
Time for self-care
Sometimes when we have lots of time on our hands, we reflect on our lives and/or our personal issues. We might realize there are challenges that need to be taken care of or have been put off because there wasn’t enough time to address them.
But if you become overwhelmed and can’t function, or experience anxiety, depression, or both, don’t hesitate to talk with a therapist. Of course, a virtual counseling session may not be as natural as a face-to-face session, but it’s easy to do and you don’t have to leave your home to get help.
MENTAL WELLNESS IN CRISIS: Dr. Lineberry reminds us that we’re not broken if we face anxiety, depression or other mental wellness challenges - even as we all tackle the stresses of the ongoing public health crisis. Read more about how to protect yourself and find comfort in a time of chaos.
For many of us, time is what usually keeps us from working on ourselves. As tough as it can be, now is an opportunity to confront our personal problems and give ourselves more opportunity to heal.
Come out stronger
When it comes to coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, “we are in this together,” but how we confront and resolve our individual challenges determines our recovery.
- Be resilient
- Focus on life’s positives
- Ask for help and seek support
If you do, you’ll find that when this crisis ends, you’ll be in a better place with gratitude, acceptance, self-care and positivity.
Jeff Lineberry, D.D.S., F.A.G.D., F.I.C.O.I., is an accredited member of the AACD, member of Spear Visiting Faculty and a contributor to Spear Digest.