Clearly there have been several drastic changes we have all had to make in the past 2 months so that life now feels upside down in many ways. Quarantine, homeschooling, mask fashion— not to mention decreased or absent income, fear of illness and hospitalization, etc etc. We are all in this together, although our personal struggles may be quite different.
I’m not going to lie— everything about this current situation has sucked the momentum out of my oligo-action items. After such success up through February, it’s been hard to re-frame my expectations and try to figure out how to proceed. I know that many of the research labs doing brain cancer or oligo focused projects have put things on hold for the time being…. Yet another crap downstream effect of COVID-19.
And, on top of that— it is (if we are still paying attention to the calendar…) MAY, which is Brain Tumor Awareness Month . Instead of rallying around this milestone, which is occurring as I hit the 1 year milestone of having this disease, I’ve been largely ignoring it. It doesn’t feel right to push for oligo research funding at this moment when so many people are suffering and struggling with COVID-19, another terrible invisible monster.
But, I DO want to continue, I want to keep pushing and moving so that I can see progress happen in this field. I know I’m not the only one who wants to keep something moving that seems to be on hold. So… I’ve been thinking— HOW can we balance this? How can we keep caring about other things when everything has been altered by a devastating pandemic?
1. Be Flexible. Things are not the same AT ALL, anywhere. It is unreasonable to expect the same strategies that worked before to definitely keep working when everything else has changed.
2. Be Patient. Everything takes longer these days as the systems we used to rely on are stressed, and as we have had to pick up homeschooling, working from home, etc. etc. The time-lines we used to use may just not work anymore, and that’s OK. Things can still get done. Just maybe not as fast.
3. Be Imaginative. This might be a little tricky — it’s hard to decide to imagine or invent something that will be useful or fulfill a need on the spot. But it can’t hurt and may help. How could you use art, or humor or social media in a new way? Consider going virtual, or networking online. Create your own hashtag— something like that.
4. And, MOST IMPORTANTLY– (I cannot stress this point enough) the best way to be able to care about something (else) during the time of COVID is to take care of yourself and minimize the risk of getting sick. Take care of both your physical and mental health. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you won’t be able to care about anything else either.
That’s pretty much my list. I know the way we navigate this will be different depending on what we are working on, and how personally we have been effected by COVID-19. We will all have days that are more difficult to navigate these things. And some days will be better.
What have you been doing to keep up with your pre-COVID goals?