Some people focus on the immediate present, as in today and tomorrow. Some work on a much longer time frame, with monthly and yearly projections. Most fall in between or use a combination of both extremes.  Whatever works for you, the current situation is a huge challenge because it is almost impossible to predict where we will be down the road.

Scientists offer their best facts and opinions. Will a vaccine come on the market? When? Will everyone have access to it? Maybe. Will it be effective? Perhaps 40-60%, like the flu vaccine. Does the virus mutate? How might the vaccine address that issue? What about treatments?

In the middle of all this, we have to maintain our relationships. Starting new ones present here-to-fore unexpected challenges of how meeting someone with social distancing would work. Virtual dates? When do you then get physically close?

It certainly looks like we will have to live with masks and social distancing in the near future if not for much longer than that. How do we reconcile our present and future concepts with this? An interesting byproduct of our reactions is how different industries are looking for ways to adjust. Maybe we will all find creative ways of relating to one another despite the pandemic. Who thought we would be socializing on Zoom? Enjoying travel virtually? Making up a concept called “revenge travel”?  Experiencing Zoom fatigue? The human mind can find all kinds of ways of satisfying the need for emotional connection. Any day now, I am looking for some clothing manufacturer to produce an article to facilitate hugs and physical contact that prevents infection!

To introduce a buzzword that seems appropriate:  Mindfulness focuses on the present. The pervasive reactions of anxiety and depression due to what is going on around us can be addressed by focusing on the present. Complimenting that with an optimistic outlook does a lot to bring comfort not only to ourselves but also to people around us. Negativity and pessimism guarantee sliding into depressive thoughts. We need each other to get through a challenging time. I keep reminding myself that all pandemics end and so will this one. Compassion for those around us and self-care will take us to a better place.

Wear a mask, keep your distance and wash your hands. Not a lot to do for protecting ourselves and our loved ones…  

 (Photo credit:  Waldemar Brandt – unsplash.com)  

Author Profile

Janan Broadbent, PhD
Janan Broadbent, PhD
As a psychologist in private practice since 1979, Janan Broadbent, Ph. D. offers individual, couples, group and family therapy, in addition to conducting workshops on topics such as stress management, communication skills and assertiveness. She writes about current issues relevant to relationship building and conflict resolution in LGBTQ and minority populations, with emphasis on health, fitness and education.

Born in Turkey, Dr. Broadbent earned her undergraduate degree in psychology in 1965. At that time, first as a Fulbright Scholar, then as a CENTO Fellow, she received her master's and doctorate degrees in psychology and education from the University of California at Los Angeles. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in psychology at St.Mary's College of Maryland, Mt. Vernon College in Washington, D. C., Johns Hopkins University and the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore. From 1981 to 1988, she was also the Director of Counseling at Notre Dame College.
While in graduate school, Dr. Broadbent worked for the Voice of America radio program, writing and recording materials on the cross-cultural college experience. She has been interviewed on various news programs on TV and has received media training.
Dr. Broadbent is a member of the American Psychological Association and has served as the chair for the Public Affairs Board and as a member of the Executive Council of the Maryland Psychological Association.
Dr. Broadbent's office is located at:
Village of Cross Keys, 120 West Quadrangle, 2 Hamill Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21210-1847 phone: 410-825-5577

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