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Making The Best Of Lockdown 2.0

By Barton Goldsmith Tribune News Service

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Psychotherapist Dr. Barton Goldsmith shares his thoughts on mentally coping with the pandemic.

Tribune

During the first lockdown in spring, many people got very creative with how to deal with life, work, family, and staying healthy. We adapted pretty well, so well, in fact, that many people are changing their lifestyles to get out of cities and live a cleaner and simpler life.

Now that working from home is part of the new normal, people who can are starting to migrate to more rural areas. And they are moving pretty quickly. Real estate agents in small towns, away from the metro areas, are getting a large influx of people escaping the big cities. And I can see that it makes sense for many people right now.

A return to the simple life gained momentum a few decades ago as many people in the 1960s and '70s found their work-a-day world overwhelming, and many just got tired of playing the game. This was the forerunner to what became this need to not just simplify but de-stress and live life as a human being rather than a human doing.

Don't take this the wrong way. Work is important to our well-being, physically and emotionally, but when the world has its knee on your neck, you just need to find a place of peace and some room to breathe. It does feel like leaving the city could be very life enhancing, so if you have the opportunity, that may be something to consider.

School is another big question for millions of families. If they reopen in your community, will your college-bound kid feel comfortable returning or going to a new environment? And what about sending kids back to elementary or high school? Many parents who can afford it will choose home and online schooling, just to be on the safe side. As everyone who has raised a child knows, when they go back to school, they usually will bring home a bug of some kind that makes others sick. The normal colds and flu are part of what we have learned to live with, but I don't know enough about COVID-19 to feel comfortable, and I would opt for keeping my kid at home, if given the choice.

I totally get that the socialization of the classroom is important to growth, and many parents rely on school not only to educate their children but also to take care of them during the day, so they can work. In many cases, our schools also make sure that children get proper nutrition. These things are important, and we are already adjusting and creating ways for our kids and our world to be safer. Meal and school supply deliveries are already being figured out for those in need by those in charge, and right now it's still a question but I hope it will get worked out as well as possible.

Staying around people you live with or know very well may make you feel that your friend group has shrunk, but that isn't the case. When this is over, we will reconnect, because we want to, and until then, it is wisest to follow the guidelines, use common sense, and be the caretakers of our families that we are meant to be. It is also a real good idea to check in with friends via video chat just to keep your contacts up. That too is life-enhancing.

Good things will come out of this too, but they may be a little hard to find at the moment. Remember that we have always survived disaster, and we will again, as long as we respect one another and remain careful and caring. It seems simple enough, and that simplicity will allow you to have a future. It may be a different one than what you had planned, but it will be there for you. ___ Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of "The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time."  ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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