How to Stay Safe by Resisting Complacency During the Pandemic

In Canada, we’re almost 6 months into the global pandemic where life has turned upside down and inside out. This new reality is no longer new. Like most things in life, you start off well, then lose steam and go back to your old ways.

This is true whether you’re in a relationship, trying to lose weight, curb an addiction, or parenting your children. It is hard to keep up something you’re not good at. You want things easy, with the amount of least effort.

At the beginning of the lockdown back in mid-March, my family stayed home every day. There was no eating out, seeing friends, going out, or working at the office. We were diligent and we followed the health safety protocols. We wanted the numbers to go down, so we could return to “normal life” again.

We were excited about the extended time we had with the family. We played games and watched movies, completed projects that were on the backburner, cooked, baked, and relaxed. Sound familiar?

Being our first time in a pandemic, we thought that if we followed the safety protocols and stayed home, the crisis would be over in a few weeks, or at worst, a few months. Little did we know that this “new norm” was going to be around for the next year or longer!

Six months into this, we’re losing steam

Especially during the summer, it’s been challenging to stay diligent. We’re bored at home. All the home projects have been completed. We’re sick of playing games, baking, and cooking. To be honest, we’re a little sick of each other. We miss our friends, we miss our “regular” life, and we miss all the little luxuries that we took for granted. We want to eat at restaurants, watch movies at the theatre, and travel. Bottom line, we’re done with COVID! But we can’t be.

So how do you stay diligent and follow the rules when you’re tired of trying? Many of our friends and family have gone back to their old ways. They meet up regularly with people beyond their “bubble”, they congregate in large groups in enclosed spaces, and they no longer social distance with friends and family. They are done with COVID.

I get why this is happening. I want to do the same. My three teenage kids are sick of all the rules my husband and I are imposing on them. We are seen as the “strict” parents who don’t allow them to do what their friends, cousins, and other kids are doing. Some of my extended family who meet regularly in small enclosed spaces to share meals deem me “anal and paranoid”.

As the number of positive cases have steadily increased since stage 3 re-opening, we want to do the right thing as a family. We want to keep each other safe and be socially responsible by not contributing to the spread of the virus.

How do you stay tenacious and unwavering in the long haul, to ensure you and your loved ones don’t get sick?

When in doubt, I turn to my mentors for wisdom. One of my mentors, Dr. Brené Brown writes, “integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.”

This quote has helped me stay the course. Whenever I want to let up because I want to relax like others, or I don’t want to be seen as the strict parent or the paranoid relative, I turn to this quote.

I choose to do what is right, even if others choose otherwise. I choose integrity with my values to keep my family safe and be socially responsible, even if it means being judged as being “too much” by people who I hope would have known my heart and intention. 

The benefits of being steadfast in all your commitments

Dr. Brown’s quote is true of anything you want to change or overcome in your life. When you choose to practice your values rather than simply profess them by “choosing what is fun, fast, or easy”, you are choosing yourself. You are choosing to honour what is important to you, instead of pleasing everyone else. You are choosing to live with integrity, instead of being blown by the wind in every direction.

You learn courage by being courageous, period. There’s no other way around it. You don’t become courageous by talking about it or thinking you are courageous. Being courageous is risky. It risks being judged, misunderstood, disconnected, and alone.

The rewards of being courageous and living out your values

But the reward is life changing. You become authentic, have a sense of agency over your life, feel an inner sense of joy and peace, learn to respect and honour yourself, and live life to the fullest. You stand in your values with no regrets.

As you ponder how you want to persevere through the long haul of this pandemic, not contribute to its perpetuation and prolongation, I ask you to consider being courageous by doing the right thing, even when everyone is doing the wrong thing. Be the change you want to see. Let’s get the numbers down. Let’s get through this pandemic together, apart.    

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