Global health issues cause a lot of disruption in our lives resulting in increased anxiety, panic, and fear of the unknown. Negative talk takes centrestage quickly in these situations, as our lives suddenly crash into strange and unfamiliar territory.
Stress, distress, apprehension and defensive behaviours become the norm - a very crippling feeling for most.
However, no matter how dark any situation seems on the outside, it comes with a silver lining. Although not readily apparent, it can be seen and appreciated when the dark cloud of negativity and fear is lifted, and clarity returns to our thinking.
Everything we experience in life, all circumstances, call them what you will, are triggers and opportunities for growth – emotionally, mentally, physically and even spiritually.
Think of them as growing pains, some more painful than others, some lasting longer than others.
If we honestly reflect on our past and the many challenges we have come through and that we thought were negatives but turned out to be positives, we can easily see this as truth.
Global health crises or pandemics are not small issues, and neither are the lessons they bring. But we cannot see or appreciate them if we are lost in anxiety and fear.
Knowing this, why spend energy bemoaning what has already occurred by bringing the present down with the past?
It accomplishes nothing. One thing we can be sure of, life neither has the time nor energy to waste on unnecessary occurrences. If something taps us on the shoulder, we can be sure there is an opportunity for valuable inner growth.
On the other hand, focusing on excuses, judgments or attempting to change what has happened blocks our vision and wastes two precious commodities - time, and energy.
Since we are all allotted a measured amount of energy daily, whatever is wasted cannot be used for productive purposes.
The fact is, everything is as it should be and accepting this healthy perception allows us to live and embrace the moment and see things through proper lenses – that all things in our lives contribute to inner growth and this inner growth is what expresses outwardly in our lives and in the world around us.
As we grow inwardly, the world grows outwardly.
When challenged in life, we respond/operate one of two ways. We immediately focus on the negative and put energy into berating, bemoaning, hiding behind excuses or trying to change "water under the bridge" or we seek the silver lining - the real purpose the condition appeared in our lives in the first place.
One way is productive, the other destructive.
The health crisis is no exception. Valuable lessons are to be learned and personal growth is to be gained for those with "eyes that see and ears that hear" along with budding opportunities for positive minds.
Stuck at home? Use your time wisely - to reflect and get to know "yourself".
With so many personal, family and business responsibilities and obligations pulling us in different directions these days, life has us moving at an amazingly fast pace.
Rarely do we take time to consciously stop, pause, reflect and discover who we are, or examine how we conduct our lives and what our daily habits are.
That is, until a "life" challenge, especially one that attacks our health, stops us in our tracks. For those not mentally prepared, fear and anxiety have the upper hand.
Why not use this gift of time to learn something new, something you have always wanted to do but pushed it aside to tend to other "responsibilities?" Now you have time, be grateful, use it wisely and turn on your creative side.
Home and family
Many who used to travel to work or school are now working and schooling from home at least temporarily.
Our home becomes our haven when global health challenges hit, gifting us with lots of extra time to get reacquainted, not only with ourselves, but with our families.
It is the perfect opportunity to build deeper, lasting relationships with our family members. We might even find out some things we did not know.
Play games and challenge each other, do puzzles, create crafts and experiment with art.
Take family walks or challenge each other with an exercise routine. Plant a garden and grow your own healthy vegetables and, best of all, cook meals and create snacks together.
Health challenges scream "it is time to focus on boosting immunity", so why not make it a family project?
Include loved ones in buying and the preparing snacks and meals. The Internet is loaded with new recipes to try and you won't have to leave the house to shop.
You can easily create lists of healthy ingredients with your family's input sitting right in front of your computer. Everyone gains from this exercise. You could even incorporate some nutrition information as you build your list.
Children love to participate in the kitchen and are much more open to trying new healthier versions of foods if they have a hand in their creation. Who knows, you might just find a budding chef in the mix.
The important thing is to never give in to hopelessness when faced with challenges or when thrust outside our comfort zone. It is a temporary situation brought to our attention because it needs attention.
We cannot look at challenges as "life knocking us down". The stark reality is, life is waking us up. No matter how it seems in the moment, we must remember, "difficult times always lead to better days".
• Carolyn Hansen is co-owner of Anytime Fitness