3 Tips to Help Cope during COVID-19 and Racism in America

By: Jimmy Davis

As we deal with the issues of systemic racism and unjust deaths by police officers during a pandemic (as if COVID-19 all of sudden took a break), there are some things to be mindful of to help cope during these times.

Acknowledge Its Existence

We have to stop behaving as if this isn’t happening or it is just a moment in time (as much as many of us want to). There is complexity to our current environment that is specific to us, regardless of our profession—be it doctor, lawyer, professor, teacher, social worker, bus driver, or even furloughed or unemployed. There are stipulations put on you that require both acceptance and acknowledgement. I have always termed it “the game.” Dianne Feinstein did too. She said: “Learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play it better than everyone else.” You must acknowledge where you are today and what is going on. And do it everywhere: acknowledge what is going on in all the circles you exist in, not just the ones at home. Your work circles, prayer circles, friends, family—all should be aware of what is going on with you and in your world these days. Acknowledge your own situation, make sure you are clear on how you are feeling today, and accept that you will continue to need to learn and adjust.

Do Something Healthy

Being relegated to staying at home for the last few months has its issues. Many of us have gotten into a pattern of getting up, working, eating, watching TV, then repeating the process the next day. Whether you are home alone or with a full family, we still need to monitor our health during these times. COVID-19 and racism in America are not the reason you gained 15 pounds. Find a healthy behavior. Go for socially distanced walks, dust off that workout equipment you bought years ago, meditate (there are apps for that), change your eating habits, or read a book. In stressful times, we need healthy habits in order to break the monotony and help us recharge our energy. 

Check on Your Friends

Many are struggling during these times with stressors that go far beyond what some of us can imagine. Some have been furloughed, others are just waiting for the announcement to happen at their place of employment, while others have lost family members and could not attend a funeral to start the grieving and healing process. Be reminded that some have responsibilities beyond just taking care of themselves—they might be in charge of aging parents, have children, or be the key financial source for multiple family members. We depended on many of the services that are no longer available during this time. We are now parent, teachers, and caretakers while also being spouses, psychologists, pastors, and friends (not to mention whatever profession we’re in). Check on the important people in your life and get a real update. Send a text or make a phone call to those in your circle. Zoom meetings and other online forums are perfect for this. Celebrate a birthday, have a happy hour, or watch your guilty pleasure reality TV show together. Make sure others know you are there for them just as much as you also need those interactions to stay sane.

In the end, this is really just the beginning for many. Know that your health is important. Know that you are not alone and that we can all come out of this healthy and better. See you on a Zoom call soon. 

 

Jimmy Davis is an Executive Bench® services consultant in RHR International’s Atlanta office. He can be reached at jdavis@rhrinternational.com 

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