by Ines Quandel
The news articles have started popping up, telling us that as other countries have opened up there have been resurgence of COVID-19 cases. It’s reasonable to assume the same will happen here in Canada.
The Master Plan
Today a totally different headline in my news app got my full attention, “How to put your life back together as the lockdown lifts”. According to the brief summary this article will let you prepare the master plan for solving everything from heading back to work to fixing your relationships. Thank you, Cosmopolitan magazine!
I didn’t read the article, as I have limited faith in things that promise to fix everything. It was really tempting though. Who doesn’t want an answer to most of life’s problems in one easy article?
Admittedly I have fewer problems that need solving than most. I decided pre-pandemic to take a year off work so I could travel the world with my retired spouse. As they say, timing is everything. But while returning to work has been put off for a while, the uncertainty of what the future holds hasn’t.
I’m not a big fan of uncertainty, even if it is as benign as wondering whether any of our travel plans will work. Cancelling our main summer trip was less stressful then waiting to see if we can salvage the week planned in Iceland in the fall. There’s that cycle of hopeful optimism whenever I read articles about Iceland having contained the pandemic and opening up again. Then there are the stark warnings that by fall be would be into a second or even third wave of lockdowns.
The ‘rolling wave’ as politicians and the media call it looks to me like a rollercoaster, except a lot less fun and exciting. How long will each wave last? What changes in rules and restrictions will each wave bring? I wonder if that article in Cosmopolitan has a plan for all those ups and downs. My biggest worry with a resurgence is that there won’t be just one and that the uncertainty will wear us all down.
The best way I can think of to deal with this uncertainty leads me to fall back on my risk management experience. Identify the a few possible paths the future can take and come up with some good back up plans. Flexibility is key, as plans may have to be adjusted on the fly. We may also be jumping back and forth between locked down and not so locked down and should have a plan for those two contingencies.
One thing that always helps is having a great network and support group. Staying in touch with friends and family lets us share the burdens, but also share some great ideas for how to deal with all of these new challenges. There are also a lot of community groups that have been providing amazing support even or especially in these last few months. Maybe part of your go-forward plan could be to join a few of these communities online. There is a lot of good and timely advice out there. In these changing times I know I will take full advantage of learning how to cope by listening to those with a lot more knowledge than what I possess. No need to reinvent the wheel after all.
Uncertainty about our path ahead gives us the choice of constant worrying, or living in the present. I can stress out about whether I get to travel in the fall, or I get to take advantage of what is available to me today. A rainy and cool walk outside in the mountains to try and capture some shots of Grotto mountain hiding in a cloud bank. I’m being forced to live in the present instead of constantly scanning ahead. It’s a hard lesson for a professional worrywart, but I expect it will be a good lesson for all of us to take to heart.