What is the Coronavirus Blues?
By now most of us have the Coronavirus blues. It is that feeling of hopelessness because something outside of our control is dictating our behavior. We wake up, drink a cup of coffee or tea and turn on the TV to get an update. And guess what, before you know it the day is over and you’ve consumed way too many calories and you’ve deeply imbedded the dimensions of your backside into the couch cushion. And by the way, your backside is getting bigger. You have no control over all that is happening so you’ve given up!
Is Coronavirus Blues a real thing?
I really thought I was making something up when I started this post. Nope. Coronavirus Blues or COVID Blues or Corona Virus Blues is quickly becoming the real deal. Spotify has an entire play list dedicated to this phenomenon. Two sisters wrote and performed a song entitled, “Corona Virus Blues.” and also know as “Flatten That Curve.” We needed humor when this thing first started, now we need some serious therapy.
How do we shed the Coronavirus Blues?
First you must decide who is going to win the fight; You or the coronavirus blues. Is the pain of living with the CVB (yes I’ve shortened it because it is easier to spell) less than the pain of making a change? This principle is true with all change.
“We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing. Consequences give us the pain that motivates us to change.” Dr. Henry Cloud
We must ACT
With the help of several authors, I’ve built my coaching practice around three principles, which I refer to as ACT. Act is an acronym that stands for awareness, choice and trust.
- Awareness: We don’t see the world the way it is, we see the world the way we are (Covey)
- Choice: Our current world view is responsible for our thinking, which drives our behavior and is directly responsible for our results. One’s worldview is driven by their language and their language is driven by the voice they listen to
- Trust: We change our behavior and associated performance by using different language and listening to a positive voice
So, what are the implications of these three principles?
The first principle is about awareness. The greatest implication is if we are the only person who sees the world the way we do, everyone else sees it differently. Don’t miss this. If no one else uses my lens for interpretation, then I really need to understand myself. Secondly, and probably more importantly, I need to try and understand what others see in me. The key is to understand one’s identity. This idea has implications that on the surface seem so simple but when internalized will change how you think.
If we agree that we are different or uniquely made, our responsibility is to discover who we are; our true self. And further, our responsibility is to discover points of view that our different than our own
How to develop self awareness?
The work here is to take every action possible to understand self. This is about bringing the unconscious forward to understand it and master it.
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” Carl Jung
The associated action is to gain control of self. Covey describes this as a resolution, the first of three universal resolutions: I resolve to exercise self denial and self discipline. In doing so, we gain control of our thoughts and our actions. Or at least, this is a start. However, no amount of thinking is going to allow us to overcome our past hurts whether inflicted by others or self inflicted. The work here is forgiveness. We must feel our way through our feelings to gain clarity. We exercise the first resolution best when we understand our addictions and why we have them. They exist solely to provide a salve or a band aid for the emotional wound. Any attempt to resolve to exercise self denial and self discipline is futile until we get to the origin or the root of the problem.
The second principle is about choice. We begin by asking what language are you expressing to yourself and others? Is this language consistent with encouragement and understanding or is it demeaning? Does it lift others up or push them down? Is the voice one of self assurance or self doubt? Positive or negative? A voice of past hurts or a voice of future hopes?
In the absence of a clear compelling vision for the future we will always return to our past.
I believe this to be true in a literal and figurative form. Our entire life is but a dream and very little comes to our conscious understanding. We behave more out of instinct than intentionality. When we apply language around a thing or an idea we immediately limit its wholeness in our mind.
We cannot fully grasp and experience it without being it
If everyone on the planet sees the world differently than me how do I find common ground? And, if everyone on the planet sees the world differently than me, I have a unique perspective. So you are unique. You have talents, skills, strengths, infirmities, biases and a whole host of differences.
How do I make better choices?
After experiencing a difficult time of my life almost 30 years ago I was lost. I had some emotional trauma. I was under employed but working and lacked meaning in my life. For some reason, I felt this overwhelming need to go back to the hometown I had left 25 years earlier. I simply needed to understand where I came from. I needed a reboot. Once I did this, clarity and vision came easily for me. I use this same process in my coaching practice both with individuals and organizations. I believe it is very healthy to understand the past before committing to the future.
The work here is Covey’s second principle; I resolve to work on character and competence. Once we have identified our reality we resolve to improve our preferences, strengths, weaknesses and infirmities. No average carpenter can design a set of plans to build a high rise building. However, if you believe this is your calling your work is to develop your competency to design and build this very thing. We also determine to develop our character; our trustworthiness, integrity, maturity and so on.
The third principle is about trust and finding our voice of self assurance.
I have used therapists and coaches for personal and professional improvement for much of my life. The focus here is reality testing: the ability to properly assess what is true; to get the facts, to see things for what they truly are. Once we have an accurate description or picture of our current state we determine to move on. This is the stuff of vision. What do I really want for my future? It helps to actually paint a picture or visualize a picture of this future state.
How do I trust in myself?
The work here is to dedicate our talents and resources to noble purposes and to provide service to others, Covey’s third universal resolution. Once we have mastered our actions, identified and developed competency and character we are free to identify something greater than self and dedicate our lives to it. I write first just to internalize the information and secondly to be able to speak with a genuine understanding of the knowledge.
One final note on Covey’s Three Universal Resolutions; All of these resolutions can and should be developed concurrently, however, they do work best if we follow them in order with the greatest amount of time and understanding given to the first and once mastered moving on. In the absence of self discipline and self denial it is hard to live as a single minded person. Covering up a sin in your life definitely develops double mindedness. If you are failing at resolutions two and three perhaps you should readdress the first resolution. These are the first steps toward greater levels of happiness. For more check this out