By Alison Davis, CEDIK Executive Director
For those that know me, I am an extroverted introvert. I can confidently stand in front of a large group of people and talk and talk and talk some more. But, when the presentation is over, I run for solitude. So not surprisingly, the COVID-19 social distancing has not been a terribly difficult time for me to navigate. I sit in my new makeshift office and get to work and jump on Zoom calls for several hours a day (and still get exhausted by these interactions).
What has been interesting to me is witnessing two things:
- My extroverted CEDIK family who have been deeply impacted by being constrained to their home. They are not able to maintain their daily connections with friends, family, and strangers (although extroverts know no strangers). They look lonely and lost and are desperately trying to figure out how extrovert themselves during this time.
- My introverted husband, who really only needs interaction with our dogs, has been obsessed with watching the news. If he could, I think he would watch from 7am until 8pm. And I can see him visibly getting agitated when he listens to interviews that don’t conform with his perspective.
I recently came across this data snapshot (that updates daily) highlighting global panic, hype, and media coverage by country. This was quite telling to me but it clearly illustrates why some of my staff and my husband are responding differently to COVID-19 than I am. The fact that there is a source that is measuring the amount of panic, hype, fake news, global sentiment and contagion media in an index suggests that we need to set some real boundaries and proactively plan for how we mentally respond to this pandemic.
I have asked my husband and my staff to consider the following recommendations:
- Limit your exposure to the news and other media designed to create hype about COVID-19. Pick your trusted source of information, tune in for when a daily update occurs, and then turn it off. In Kentucky, our Governor gives us one update a day at 5pm on Facebook live, where he discusses the number of new state cases and policies. This is when I tune in. I then read a trusted news source after the President speaks to see if there are any new federal policies implemented. That’s it for me each day.
- Reach out to your coworkers and friends, even if it is just a text, to see how they are doing. Pick up the phone, or Zoom/Skype, and call relatives, particularly those that are older. This is an even scarier time for them.
- Set a schedule, just as if you were at work. Checking off “to-do” items is just as meaningful (if not more) during this time.
- Be kind(er). Be patient. Be generous.
These are not overly sophisticated recommendations but I find that these have helped me navigate these challenging times. With the extension of social distancing through the end of April, we need to be deliberate about our intentions moving forward.