Life Lessons from COVID-19…What’s Next?

Woman looking at lightbulb on a blackboard

Life Lessons from COVID-19…What’s Next?

Have you ever thought you lost someone you loved… and then later discovered you were wrong?


If you answered “yes,” then it’s very likely that you found yourself in an interim state of “emotional limbo” in which you experienced the five classic stages of grieving:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Depression
  4. Bargaining
  5. Acceptance


Fortunately, when you finally learned that this important person was not gone forever from your life, it probably helped you to fully appreciate what that person meant to you…and inspired you to count your blessings.


If you went through this, I’m sure that it was a hard lesson learned. A lesson that should make all of us step back and think:  How often do we take others for granted whom we treasure the most?


That said, it’s important to appreciate today that the five stages of grieving can’t fully explain what different societies around the world are suffering from right now—beyond their own and loved ones’ physical illnesses and deaths?


Why are so many people feeling so much more isolated and confused than ever before in their lives?  Why are total strangers singing together from their balconies and windows and watching others’ TikTok videos online?


Watching this happen has made me recall something I learned more than 30 years ago:  People tend to want to affiliate with others during times of stress.  What makes the special challenges imposed by COVID-19 unique is that we are now forced to SOCIAL DISTANCE ourselves from others.  We are literally and figuratively cut off from our normal physical contact and interactions, and we’re feeling isolated and depressed by our extraordinary circumstances.  Now we are experiencing the COVID-19 version of solitary confinement in our own homes.


There is no doubt that it is truly terrible out there. Thousands have died. Millions are now unemployed. Businesses are shuttered. And we’re all locked down and being denied basic human contact.


Which means, from my training and practical experiences as a psychologist, that now is the perfect time to take stock.


The vast majority of us still have what matters most—those we care about. Even if we can’t get any closer to them than six feet.


So, let’s step back for a few minutes each day, reflect, and learn from what’s happening. And let’s focus about what we CAN control, not what we CAN’T.


In the heat of the moment, people often make quick but inaccurate and costly decisions about what’s important to them. And, then because they haven’t taken the time to think things through, they find themselves looking in the rear-view mirror and trying to “figure out what happened” after the fact.


Wouldn’t we be better served by slowing down now…in order to speed up later?


I believe that those who plan now for the New Normal will eventually come back stronger than ever. Those who don’t, I fear, will be listed among the victims of the Pandemic of 2020.


Which list will you be on? It’s your choice.


I welcome your reactions to these thoughts. And, as always, please feel free to reach out to me personally if I can be of help to you in any way.

In the meantime, stay well and safe.

Best wishes,

Kenneth R. Cohen, PhD
Founder & Chief Executive Officer
The Synergy Organization
(267) 983-6503 Direct ∙ 866-HIRE-123