As we talk about the topic of how our world changed because of the Covid-19, I want to let you know my heart is with you and your loved ones.

On Wednesday, April 8th, I did a Facebook Live, and I talked about how our world changed.  I intended to help others deal with all these emotions and find ways to handle this challenging situation.

So, what has happened?

When we started in 2020, we may have had high expectations.  We may have had plans we wanted to realize, or dreams to fulfill.  Suddenly, in the first trimester, all this changed. Our world changed, and we may find ourselves feeling different emotions, and do not know what to make out of this.

What has happened is that we are experiencing the loss of our assumptive world, which is the world we know, our reality.  When something happens to that world, and it drastically changes, as it has occurred with the Covid-19 pandemic, our world may shatter.

At least it gets off balance. We start wondering what we are going to do.   What is happening with your emotions?  You may be experiencing intense sadness; loss of appetite or you may not be able to sleep at night.  You are grieving, and you have not named your feelings, grief.

Grief is the natural and unique response to a loss, and at this moment, we are experiencing multiple losses.   We have lost our sense of safety, our sense of freedom, our sense of connection.

We may have lost a loved one, lost our health, or lost our job. We are experiencing a collective loss and personal losses. Furthermore, you may be going through a loss already, like the loss of your loved one, and this situation added a layer to your grief.

You ponder about the uncertain future, and you feel a knot in your stomach. You may be experiencing anticipatory grief if the future looks grim.  

Keep in mind that the only thing we have now is today.  What we can do today is to handle what is under our control. The Covid-19 happened. That is out of our control.

Still, we can control our behavior following the guidelines to take care of ourselves and others.

Something else we can do, which can change the way you feel is our thoughts.  Pay attention to your thoughts, and if these are negative or go to the future, shift them.  You can always reframe them. Based on how you think, you feel, and based on how you feel, you act.  

Always say to yourself, “I can do this.”  It’s about being empowered.  It is to avoid being defined by a situation.  To get a new perspective, I want to suggest you do this exercise:

Write on a paper the answers to these questions:

Who was I before the Covid-19?

What was important to me?

Who were the important people in my life?

After you respond to those questions, answer the following:

Who am I now at these challenging times?

How am I handling the Covid-19 situation?

What am I doing that is under my control?

What am I doing for myself?

What am I doing for others?

Lastly, ask yourself:

Who do I want to be after Covid-19?

What changes do I want to make after this is over?

Because even if we feel this will be this way forever, it will pass the way we are experiencing it now.  Nothing lasts forever.  We don’t know when, but it will.

So, who do you want to be? What type of person? How would you want to have evolved because of this?

What is going to be important to you?  Maybe you are realizing now that the life you were living was not in line with your values.

Furthermore, it could be that now you are embracing new values.

As a society, we can also do this.  Who are we going to be as a society?  It is an opportunity to reflect; to connect with your inner self.  It is an opportunity to realize the unique person you are. 

You have control over who you want to be.

Remember, your life has meaning; the lives of your loved ones have meaning; the life of every single person in the world has meaning.  Let’s live accordingly.

I wish you well. I will you health. I wish you hope.

Ligia M. Houben