By Michael Robirds, special guest blog contributor and Amada Senior Care franchise owner.

All of us have scrambled to adjust to the new COVID–19 lifestyle that has taken over every sector of our society. Certainly, we’re all hoping and praying that this virus will soon be contained and managed so that we can get back to regular life as we know it. Until that happens, we are left to embrace this “new normal.” But that might be okay, because facing this challenge and recovering from its adversities can only build our resiliency. As we push through our fears and negativity, we can perhaps gain a more profound appreciation of our life’s blessings. We might even reinstate some forgotten good habits that can only strengthen our society and fuel its continued success.

Thinking of Others Before Ourselves

Far too often our first instinct is to become consumed with our own wellbeing (as evidenced by grocery store shelves emptied of toilet paper). Moving forward as we deal with the coronavirus pandemic, try pushing back against the fight-or-flight response and become intentional about reorienting your thoughts and attitudes each day. Think not only of your needs and that of your closest loved ones and look to the needs of others. How can we do this? Do something as simple as letting a senior in line go ahead of you (while social distancing), bearing patiently with an anxious neighbor, taking a meal to a family in need or a shut-in senior, or “fill in the blank.”

Many of my fellow Amada franchise owners are participating in random acts of kindness like having pizza delivered to overwhelmed ER staff who don’t have time to eat or dropping off treats to seniors quarantined in assisted living communities. Several of them also have been on the receiving end of simple generosity, including donations of home-sewn cloth masks. This crisis can get each of us back on the path of being a selfless neighbor in spirit and act.

“Pumping the Brakes” on our Speedy Lives

Many of us have become enmeshed in a culture of hurry. Run here, run there, get to this meeting, go to that practice, go, go, go – it’s the order of our day. Certainly, as a business owner, it’s imperative that I maintain “a sense of urgency in all things” so that my Amada office achieves its goals toward enriching seniors’ lives. In fact, calls to action have been handed down through the ages long before Napoleon general Joachim Murrat proclaimed, “We must mount up, and ride toward the sounds of the guns” at the Battle of Waterloo. During my service in the Marine Corps, we learned to “hurry up and wait” and “if you’re on time, you’re late.” Obviously, there is nothing wrong with any of it – running a business, caring for our families, getting to appointments and events – all of it vies for our time and attention.

However, maybe amidst this current crisis, we can learn to appreciate the benefits of not rushing from moment to moment. Since we’re encourage to “shelter in place” and avoid unnecessary travel even locally, we have an excuse to take the time to sit and “be still.” Let’s take this pause in modern life to hit the “reset button” on hurrying and implement habits and activities that provide genuine rest to our bodies and spirits. Try to read a book, pray or meditate, make art, go for a walk, study nature, take online lessons, or “fill in the blank.” We have no better reminder than Ecclesiastes 7:8 – Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient person is better than the proud in spirit.

Returning to Civility and Kindness

It seems to me that the 24–hour news cycle, social media, reality television, and a host of other outlets have created a climate of foreboding and angst that has instilled social polarization, particularly over the last decade. We haven’t been seeing enough of the qualities that as a society we admire and should strive for, including kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Perhaps one of the positive outcomes from this pandemic will be more of us recalibrating our compassion, kindness and acceptance to higher levels. Hopefully, we can come out to the other side not so quick to make unreasonable demands or to take instant offense at everything that does not perfectly fit with our personal worldview. Let’s remember to “cut each other some slack” because after all, the best of men are just men at best.

Staying Connected with Those We Love

Humans naturally are social creatures thanks to our innate urge to communicate with each other. In fact, biologists would point to this capacity as being a survival skill. The ascension of technology hasn’t changed our deep-seated need for face-to-face interaction, although it often appears the opposite is true whenever we interrupt someone to check an incoming call, text or email! Let’s accept an “attitude of gratitude” toward sheltering in place, as it has given many of us the opportunity to reconnect in fresh and meaningful ways with our spouses, children, parents, extended family members and friends.

Employing computers, mobile devices and video apps to enjoy face time is a habit we should strive to keep after the extreme risk has passed. How wonderful is it to have technology on hand that lets you feel like you’re in the same room with a loved one, especially someone far away? It stands to reason this crisis will inspire vast numbers of meaningful conversations far outnumbering the hours spent aimlessly surfing social media or binge watching some show. You’re likely to forget both within a week, whereas real connections with loved ones and friends will help us emotionally thrive during this period of physical isolation.

Embracing Empathy and Relationships

Rather than having this time of trial keep us bound in uncertainty and anxiety, try to embrace its lessons of empathy and human connection. Empathy and relationships are what support and motivate us during difficult times. I am convinced that we as a nation, as well as the world, will come out of this pandemic stronger and more resilient. Allow yourself this time to reevaluate your own circumstances with the goal of attaining greater clarity, perspective and peace.

With God’s grace, be well and healthy.

Written by Amada Franchise Partner Michael Robirds.