Keeping Things in Perspective

Thanksgiving is now behind us, and we can all agree that it was very different this year.  We are able to identify many things (and people) in which we are thankful, but many people are spending this holiday without loved ones.  Some are simply unable to travel or cannot risk being in large groups of people.  Other relatives and friends may have passed away or are struggling with symptoms of COVID19 (or other health conditions). We are heading into the holiday season, and the new year, and this pandemic continues to rage on.

Most of us are suffering from “lock down fatigue” and many are hurting financially – due to layoffs or severe drops in business revenues.  Knowing that we are not alone helps (a little), but it still doesn’t remove the stress and anxiety that is caused by the fears and unknowns that lie ahead.  Depression is real, it touches all of us, and it can be very disabling – even if it is a temporary condition. And this is when it is important that we think beyond ourselves, and try to put things in perspective. The following is my personal realization from a stressful moment that occurred last week.

Like many others, I was feeling down about this virus and the unknowns. The holiday season simply does not feel very jolly. When we will get the vaccine? When will businesses turn the corner? Will there be another stimulus package to help people who are unemployed? When will my luck run out and someone in my family contracts the virus?  Fortunately for me, I was forced to avert my attention back to work. However, as soon as my focus shifted, I discovered some of our clients who were going through some very rough times.  One person is struggling with severe depression and suicidal thoughts.  Another lost their job due to situations within their family, which is now exacerbating their family’s hardships.  I immediately realized that my problems were only “Issues or Concerns”.  It is difficult to complain or cry when you are confronted by people who are going through much harder times and situations. I remember having a conscious moment when I thought to myself “I am actually very lucky, and I need to pull myself up and exhibit a more positive outlook on life and the world around me”.

It is easy to look at the pandemic information and not really pay attention to the rising numbers of cases and deaths.  That information is on every channel and is prominent throughout all social media platforms.  Sometimes we get desensitized and overwhelmed, pushing it aside as if it is not real anymore.  How can it be? How can I think about that reality without freaking out every day?  But I want to share a suggestion that came to me, last week, through my work.  When you are feeling down, take a moment to think about someone you know who is suffering more than you are.  It could be a family member you lost, or one that is ill.  It could be a friend who lost their job and is hurting financially.  It could be someone in your orbit who is having a more difficult time with this situation, and their anxiety and depression is pushing them to thoughts of giving up.  Pray for them, maybe try to help them in some way, if you can.  Then pray for yourself, and try to help yourself by keeping things in perspective.

There is light at the end of this very dark tunnel.  And we will get there by leaning on our personal and professional partners.  And we should all be grateful to have them in our lives.  Take care, wear a mask, and stay safe out there.

by John Ficca