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Flattening the COVID-19 fear curve

Bill Fox

Bill Fox

By Bill Fox/Columnist

Tired of hearing about flattening the curve of the coronavirus? I know many of us are in a state of anxiety and fear. My son, Brendan, a mental toughness coach, has started an online group on Facebook called, “The Coronavirus Mental Toughness Movement.” In the first two days he had well over 400 members. He has posted some handouts that might help us to cope with the restrictions we are living with. Below, with his permission, I have “borrowed” and expanded on some of his ideas. Please try to answer his questions.

Although it may be difficult to see – there is always some good to find in bad things, circumstances, and people. Like a sponge, you may need to squeeze it hard until the good stuff comes out. But in this awareness, it is easier to accept the challenges in life.

For your own mental well being it is wisest to acknowledge that nothing is inherently all bad and nothing is inherently isolated. No matter how unacceptable things seem on the surface, take comfort in the fact that it may all serve a greater good in ways that we can’t now fully understand.

Use the reflection questions below to balance your perspective, and disarm fear and its painful side effects. Stay in touch with these insights so that you may embrace the “bad stuff” in life with courage, hope, and a calm determination.

  1. What’s good about the coronavirus outbreak?
  2. Are there resources available to help me? If so, what are they?
  3. Could the situation improve? In what ways?
  4. What does this give us the opportunity for?
  5. How does this challenge us to become better?
  6. In what ways might this situation be a blessing?
  7. Do I have tools that have helped me through other challenges?
  8. Does this problem have a time limit?
  9. Do other people in the world have it worse?
  10. As much as I might not like the situation, in the end could it turn out to be a good thing for many unforeseen reasons?
  11. Why should I be grateful?

A week ago we lost all our sports programming. It was only then that I realized how much time I wasted watching things like the Leafs losing. While we all need to relax, I could have been using my time much more beneficially. This is just one of the things I have learned during this “social isolation.” How about you?

I have been making more of an effort to connect either by phone or email with friends or relatives I have been losing touch with. Present circumstances also make me much more grateful for a lot of things I have previously taken for granted.

I’ve started to unclutter my closet and our storage spaces. When we moved from our five-bedroom home, to our three-bedroom apartment, we had to get rid of a lot of things. However, we brought unopened boxes from our home into our apartment and here they remain unopened. It was time to dispose of university notes, lesson plans and handouts from courses I taught at high school etc. Also, it has been a good time to go through clothing. I have six to seven dress pants. Seeing as I’m retired, at the most I need two.

I had a wonderful experience before writing this column. The publisher of The Oshawa Express sent me a message that a lady who is not computer literate, wanted to phone me. I was given her phone number. I want to thank Carol Blankestyn for the wonderful conversation we had. Carol, on occasion, cuts out my column and mails it to relatives in Holland. Previously I would never have known how appreciative some readers are to read this column every week, and now I’m more motivated to write better columns.

I do hope, like me, you consider the questions my son proposed.  I’m at if you are really isolated, I have lots of time.