Lockdown Might Lead to a Drop in STI Rates, But It Could Also Spark an Increase in STI Stigma

Fear of coronavirus infection could spark renewed fear of sexually transmitted infections

Bad news: Pandemic lockdowns are putting hookups on hold all over the world. Better news: Pressing pause on hookups might also halt the spread of sexually transmitted infections and give more people a chance to get tested before potentially passing on an infection to a new partner. Worse news: Global panic surrounding the viral coronavirus pandemic could prove as contagious as the virus itself, possibly sparking a regressive resurgence of STI shame and stigma.

Going back to the silver lining for a moment, doctors in the U.K. posit that lockdown conditions could greatly improve the nation’s sexual health, with Dr. John McSorley calling this period of relative sexlessness a “game changer” and urging people to get tested before lockdowns end and everyone returns to their regularly scheduled sleeping around.

“If we could test and treat everybody for their infections now, that would be a game-changer going forward as people slowly move towards normality,” McSorley, a sexual health doctor and president of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, told BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat.

Justin Harbottle, of sexual health testing organization SH:24, echoed McSorley, calling this period of pandemic-imposed abstinence a “once-in-a-lifetime event” for the future of sexual health. “Even at the start of the HIV epidemic, I don’t think you had such a clean-cut period where collectively – as a population – people stopped having sex with new partners,” said Harbottle.

Unfortunately, one thing we definitely did have during the HIV epidemic was plenty of shame, stigma and moral panic surrounding sex, sexually transmitted infections, and the people who contracted (or were presumed likely to contract) them. And as STI anti-stigma activists have pointed out, our current panic surrounding the coronavirus pandemic could cause those attitudes to crop up again.

ella dawson

@brosandprose

Now that we’re all talking about how important it is to get rapid COVID-19 testing to slow down the pandemic…

| ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ |
| When were |
| you last |
| tested for |
| STIs? |
| _______|
(\__/) ||
(•ㅅ•) ||
/ づ

ella dawson

@brosandprose

I’m worried that the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic is going to lead to even more ignorant, knee-jerk fear of common viruses like herpes and HPV, and a strengthening of STI stigma in general. People are scared of infection right now and that attitude will ripple.

“I’m worried that the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic is going to lead to even more ignorant, knee-jerk fear of common viruses like herpes and HPV, and a strengthening of STI stigma in general,” writer Ella Dawson wrote in a tweet last month. “People are scared of infection right now and that attitude will ripple.”

More recently, Dawson has noted other similarities between flawed responses to the pandemic and misconceptions surrounding sexual health. “The people who are pushing to re-open society because they think the COVID-19 pandemic is exaggerated are the same people who think I’m an immoral disease vector because I have herpes,” Dawson wrote in a Twitter thread Monday. “Some people think they’re not at risk of COVID-19 because they’re too good for it, they’re the exception. They ascribe morality and inherent worth to whether or not they’re at risk of contracting a virus,” she continued, comparing the coronavirus response to an all too common line of thought that casts STIs as a kind of punishment for sexual wrongdoing or inherent moral failure.

“‘I don’t need to wear a mask, I’m not at risk of COVID-19’ is the new ‘I don’t need to wear a condom, the girls I have sex with aren’t dirty sluts,’” Dawson concluded.

ella dawson

@brosandprose

Replying to @brosandprose

It makes sense, honestly. Some people think they’re not at risk of COVID-19 because they’re too good for it, they’re the exception. They ascribe morality and inherent worth to whether or not they’re at risk of contracting a virus.

Guess what, Karen! Viruses don’t discriminate.

ella dawson

@brosandprose

“I don’t need to wear a mask, I’m not at risk of COVID-19” is the new “I don’t need to wear a condom, the girls I have sex with aren’t dirty sluts.”

None of this is to say that the doctors urging people to take this time to prioritize their sexual health are promoting stigma. People should absolutely get tested before hooking up with any new partners post-lockdown (though that’s always the case, lockdown or no lockdown). But as discussions of STIs inevitably get pulled into the coronavirus conversation, it’s important to avoid transposing fears about coronavirus onto other infections, especially those with a history of stigma.

Illness of any kind is never a punishment for wrongdoing, nor is it a reflection of someone’s worth or standing, moral or otherwise.

 

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Breaking Up With Your Partner While Social Distancing Might Be Your Only Option

Adversity has a way of making or breaking relationships, highlighting problems, and pushing couples to their limits. Now, imagine adding the pressure of being unable to walk away from someone while your relationship is under duress, or taking the space you need to think through your conflict. If you’re considering breaking up with your partner while social distancing, isolation may have lead to the realization that you and your SO are not in it for the long-haul. And you’d rather end the relationship than spend one more second listening to each other chew, even if you’re currently stuck together.

Karla, 26, tells phicklephilly that social distancing took her relationship from casual to serious overnight, and it ended up being a dealbreaker. “Everything was great — we were going on day trips and playing board games and meeting each other’s friends,” she says. “Then, all of a sudden, coronavirus anxiety began, and we went from getting to know each other to date.”

After a couple days of cohabitation, I couldn’t stand him.

While self-isolating as a unit sounded like a good idea at first, Karla quickly realized she wasn’t ready for a live-in partner. Instead of enjoying their company, she felt overwhelmed and annoyed, craving privacy. “It was so much so fast,” she says, “and after a couple days of cohabitation, I couldn’t stand him.”

Eventually, she decided to call things off, and the two parted ways. “Had this not happened, we would’ve still been getting to know each other and having our distance while still enjoying each other’s company,” Karla says. “There’s a time and place for everything, and this just came far too soon for such a young relationship.”

Outside of a global pandemic, any number of drastic changes to your everyday routine has the potential to become a relationship stressor — starting a new job, moving to a new place, adjusting to a new schedule. When you’re already negotiating the chaos of an overwhelming shift in your day-to-day life, small problems can feel like big ones.

“As people #flattenthecurve, we may be forced to spend considerably more time with each other,” Danni Zhang, psychologist and managing director of New Vision Psychology, previously told phicklephilly. “It’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to start thinking of getting out of said relationship.” Zhang emphasizes the importance of weighing whether you’re experiencing a dead-end or weathering temporary stress.

“Coronavirus has run the gamut of emotions in our relationship over the last couple of weeks,” Danielle, 33, tells Bustle. She and her husband of five years made it halfway through the second week of social distancing together, before they needed to establish a few quarantine rules in order to keep the peace.

The two made an agreement that, at least once a week, they’d part ways and enjoy a little alone time — relaxing in separate rooms, going for solo walks, and cooking alone for a much-needed respite. “Communicating how we are feeling without judgment has also been very important,” Danielle says. “Even though we are together, having time and space of our own is necessary, and allows that time together to be more valued.”

For couples on edge, Zhang suggests listing out the reasons why you love your partner in order to shift attention away from their habits that have got you on edge. But not all couples feel the investment is worth digging in their heels. Once they got a glimpse into their future together, they were ready to jump ship — even if that only meant moving from the bedroom to the couch.

“I’m fairly certain living together too soon was what pushed us to break up,” Karla says.

 

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Lovers in a dangerous time: Dating during a pandemic comes with baggage

The COVID-19 pandemic might be forcing weeks of physical distancing but it’s also driving many people to seek out emotional closeness during this period of isolation.

Multiple dating apps are reporting surges in membership as singles search for ways to make connections, pursue new relationships without one-on-one visits and in some cases, re-evaluate their personal lives as a whole.

“It really put my head in this space, ‘Gosh, look at you, you need to take your dating life more seriously,'” said Raquel Russell, 26. “In the back of my head, I was like, ‘I don’t want to be stuck in this situation again where I’m isolating by myself.'”

Russell, a content creator, is currently hunkering down with her parents in Halton Hills, Ont. She says soon after quarantining began, she turned to Bumble and other popular online dating sites to fill what was becoming an emotional void — even after swearing off the apps out of frustration just months earlier.

And she’s not alone, even though she says she certainly feels it sometimes.

Bumble Canada, part of the global social networking app, reported a 56 per cent increase in video calls during the week ending March 27 compared to the previous week — after most of North America had implemented strict physical distancing and isolation protocols.

Raquel Russell, Alex Palov and Catherine Aquilina explain what dating is like at a time of physical distancing:

“We’re actually hearing from users that they feel more relaxed when dating right now because the pressure of connecting in person is off,” said Bumble Canada marketing manager Meredith Gillies. “People are being slower and more thoughtful with their dating.”

Bumble has also seen the length of in-app video calls, which resemble Facetime without the need to exchange phone numbers, nearly double since the pandemic began.

“It’s a way of coping with the anxiety, a way of coping with the fear of the unknown,” said Canadian sex and relationship educator Shan Boodram, who hosts Sexology on the new mobile streaming service Quibi. “You realize how much you need people.”

The San Francisco-based dating app Coffee Meets Bagel is reporting similar spikes in usage. Co-founder Dawoon Kang says the company noticed an approximate 40 per cent increase in the U.S. when it came to the use of video dating — something she says was not utilized as much pre-pandemic.

“If you’re on a virtual date, you’re doing it from your home. You can actually see the place the other person is living in. You get to have a conversation about their living space. You get to see their dog,” said Kang. “During a first date, it’s so easy to just fall into the trap of sticking with the small talk.”

Virtual dates in separate living spaces can include cooking a recipe together, having drinks on video chat or pressing play on a movie at the same time.

Sexology host Shan Boodram explains how to virtual date and cope with isolation

Virtual dating has its limits

Toronto-based hairstylist Alex Palov, 22, is experiencing virtual dating first hand.

He met someone just before the rules around physical distancing tightened. So he’s had to rely on video chatting to help push the new relationship forward.

“The conversations start changing and you start maybe knowing more about the person and asking them more personal questions,” said Palov. “You almost just got to wait it out. There’s not much you could do. It’s either that, or you have to break the rules.”

This is really helping you find the people who are willing to stick it out. – Raquel Russell, 26, about dating online during a pandemic

While the average age of users for apps like Coffee Meets Bagel is 29, those in their 30s and 40s carry different responsibilities that make dating difficult at the best of times.

Single mother of two Catherine Aquilina says, once you add in a global pandemic, trying to find a connection that goes beyond a few texts can become near impossible.

“In our age bracket, somebody might be struggling with their job, with having to make mortgage payments, support payments, homeschooling their kids,” said Aquilina, 44. “And dating is probably the last thing on their mind.”

Aquilina says she’s had to put dating on hold because others in her age group aren’t available.

‘Emotional crutch’ or meaningful connection?

For those still putting themselves out there, physical distance can also be beneficial, according to Canadian relationship expert Wendy Walsh.

“People are forced to not get together and move too quickly into the bed,” said Walsh, a psychology professor and host of the L.A radio program, the Dr. Wendy Walsh Show. “They instead are spending time getting to know each other.”

Walsh says pandemic dating can be an “emotional crutch” for some and in those cases, “you might be ghosted by the end of this.” But it can also blossom into real relationships when people are willing to share their vulnerabilities, she said.

Russell said she is looking for that more genuine connection.

“It’s really showing you who’s willing to engage in actual meaningful long-term conversations. Not just, ‘What are you doing? Hi. Goodbye,'” she said. “This is really helping you find the people who are willing to stick it out.”

Having now progressed recently with some matches from texting to voice notes, she says if things get serious enough, she might be willing to take it to the next level of intimacy in these times: The phone call.

 

 

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Don’t Be A “Covidiot”

Really? Really?

Don’t be a covidiot. That’s what we’re calling these folks who have been highlighted by their stupidity during this pandemic. It is insane to me that in this age of information there are still so many dumb people. It’s terrifying.

Educate yourselves, or you’re endangering yourself and others, and probably end up in one of these posts. Don’t be a covidiot!

1.

Emily Annette@EmilyAnnette6

At the grocery. Wearing my mask. Lady behind me, snarky & loud enough to make sure I heard, “don’t guess she realizes that stupid mask won’t do any good.” Me: “Honey, I’m an off duty nurse, I’m wearing it to protect YOU. But, I can take it off if you’d like.” She practically ran.

2. So, viruses can’t move sideways?

corona, virus, stupid people

3. All The Beans At My Local Grocery Store Are Out Except This One

corona, virus, stupid people

4.

Maria@kalltvatten

Someone’s rooftop party is about to get raided.

View image on Twitter

5. Just Your Typical Walmart Shopper

corona, virus, stupid people

6. Someone Tell Snorkel Lady That It Won’t Work

corona, virus, stupid people

7. If You Can’t Smell It, You Can’t Get It

corona, virus, stupid people

8. 5G —> Death = Science

9. This Guy Was Eating His Food Wearing The Same Gloves He’s Been Wearing Since He Walked In

corona, virus, stupid people

10. So, My Work Had A Meeting About The Importance Of Social Distancing Today

corona, virus, stupid people

11.

Ken Webster jr🇺🇸🌎@KenWebsterII

This woman is the Chair of the Congressional Coronavirus taskforce & this is how she wears her medical mask.

View image on Twitter

12. How To Put Your Mask Correctly

13. Social Gathering At St Kilda Beach Today

corona, virus, stupid people

14. How To Protect Yourself From Coronavirus

corona, virus, stupid people

15. To Shield The Face

corona, virus, stupid people

16.

Alex Fuller@boberfly

“Don’t worry those elevator buttons are fully protected from

View image on Twitter

17. I Don’t Think She Knows What “Quarantining” Means

corona, virus, stupid people

18. She’s Wearing A Mesh Bee Keeper Type Helmet. I’m Not Sure She Gets The Point

19. Ladies And Gentlemen, The President Of Our Meatpacking Plant While Talking About The Plant’s Safety Procedures During The Virus

corona, virus, stupid people

20. To Protect Against COVID-19

corona, virus, stupid people

21. It Was Painful Watching This Happen

22. Someone Brought These Bills To The Bank They Tried To Sanitize In The Oven

23. I Don’t Believe This Is Proper Glove-Wearing Protocol

corona, virus, stupid people

24. Wife Said To Wear A Mask In Public Areas?

25. There Was An Attempt To Use A Mask

corona, virus, stupid people

26. He’s A Little Confused But He Got The Spirit

27. Protesters Against Quarantine Back Again At The Ohio Statehouse

corona, virus, stupid people

28. Seen Today In The Atlanta Airport – Babies In Comforter Bags

corona, virus, stupid people

29. Wrong Type Of Napkin

30. A Group Of Friends Still Getting Together And Partying Regardless Of The Quarantine Rules. Obviously Standing Less Than 6 Feet Apart But It’s Okay Because They’re All Wearing Face Masks

31. You Touch 4 Doors Before The Time Clock. This Is How Management Is Protecting And Caring For Us

corona, virus, stupid people

32. My Local Albertsons Trying To Keep The Buttons Clean… I Don’t Think They Get It

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Life Before Quarantine – Part 10

During quarantine I’ve been fairly productive. I get my energy from people but I really enjoy my alone time. My daughter agrees. We’re both perfectly happy being on our own. I was looking through some photos the other day and I got some great memories of when we were all allowed to come out and play. I thought I’d share some of them with you. I’ll run this series every week until I run out of photos! If you see yourself, hit me up!

I’m very fortunate to have met you all and enjoyed the times we had together. Thank you!

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Exhausted from too much intercourse, Ghanaian women demand end of Coronavirus lockdown

The African country Ghana imposed lockdown in the first week of April; 566 positive cases and 8 deaths

Perturbed over the never-ending demand for sex from their partners during the lockdown, women in Ghana are requesting their president Nana Addo to either end the lockdown or allow men to go out for work.

Ghana has so far reported 566 positive cases and eight deaths due to global pandemic coronavirus. To curb the spread of virus, Ghana entered the down in the first week of April.

In an undated video which has now become viral on social media sites including Twitter, WhatsApp, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook, an unnamed woman has expressed her helpless to meet her husband’s sexual demands during the lockdown.

The story was first published on April 11 by Ghana MMA, a website dealing with news from Ghana. The publication reported that the woman, speaking in the local language, said she represented all the Ghanaian women suffering a similar fate.

Expressive Info said that according to the woman in the video, her husband is killing her with too much sex. She complained that after satisfying him sexually, she still has to go and cook for him.

The woman had to run away from her house to reach her workplace and record her plight on a video. In the video, shelves lined with assorted products are visible. The Ghanaian woman said that even though she had defied the lockdown, she was sure that the security officers would understand her dilemma.

“You wake up to see an erect dick waiting for you, after cooking and the man eats and watch TV for some time only to be asked for sex again and again. We did not enter lockdown because of Dick but because of our health,” Expressive Info quoted the woman.

Saying that “Our men are fucking us too much,” the woman in the video pleaded the President to allow their men to venture of the homes for work, or end the lockdown so that the women can move out of their homes unrestricted.

Netizens react to the woman’s dilemma

BimBikini@Girl6Sd

If it wasnt for women’s rights, we would all just be a hole for somebody’s pleasure. You can imagine during a lock down Ghanaian women pleading because their men demanding sex all the time during the day/night?
Tf…

The video which soon went viral on Twitter had some amazing responses from the Twitterati. “So those women want to be quarantined or,” wrote one user. “And in Malaysia the men can’t keep up. Keep seeing comments from young blokes that their girlfriends are wearing them out,” wrote a user on Facebook. “I dont want to laugh at this because it sounds like rapey combined with domestic abuse,” mentioned another.

Lesh@lesh_nongxa

”Our Men Are Fvcking Us Too Much” – Ghanaian Women Plead With Nana Addo To End The Lockdown while here woman and man are crying for help.

Embedded video

Salube Andrew🌚@salubewynn

Ghanaian women crying for government help against too much sex, South Africans brutally forced to stay indoors, Tanzanian president insists the pandemic can be cured through prayers, Ugandan youth’s mind on sex. Issues in Africa are not for the light hearted.

 

 

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LOCKDOWN LOVE GUIDE From Sending Sexts to Webcam Dating… Here’s How to Find Love in Coronavirus Lockdown

WHEN the country went into lockdown, single people were left wishing they’d squeezed just one last date in – and I was among them.

I’ve been single on and off for seven years until I decided to start a six-month dating sabbatical last September.

 From sexting to webcam dating… here's how to find love in lockdown
From sexting to webcam dating… here’s how to find love in lockdown

I wasn’t to know then that when I’d reload the dating apps at the start of March, I wouldn’t make it on a date IRL for who knows how long. As the realisation sunk in, I felt deflated.

Living alone during Covid-19 lockdown was going to be lonely enough, so I decided I didn’t have to avoid dating altogether; I just had to change how I did it.

And while I can’t meet anyone in person for a while, I can line up some dates for when life returns to normal. I’m not alone in my thinking, either.

Dating app Bumble has seen a 35% increase in messages sent since social-distancing was introduced, with love app Hinge revealing 70% of its users are open to having a virtual date.

Here’s what you need to know about the new normal when it comes to finding love.

Lockdown do’s

UPDATE YOUR PROFILE: Now I have the time, I’m planning a refresh, complete with new selfies.

Research from Hinge says the profiles that get the most right swipes show people exercising, with friends or smiling, while sunglasses, beach photos and using filters are no-nos. Time to start sorting through your albums.

 Now's a better time than ever to update your dating profiles
Now’s a better time than ever to update your dating profilesCredit: Getty – Contributor

TRY A VIRTUAL DATE: It might feel a bit weird at first, but now’s the time to try video dating.

Reena, 35, from London, has had four virtual dates with a new man she thinks she’ll meet up with post-lockdown.

She says: “Video dates have been great and feel less pressured than real-life first dates. It’s been good to test the water via FaceTime before committing to an evening together.”

PLAN THE PERFECT (VIDEO) DATE OUTFIT: I’m the type of person who will plan a date look three days in advance, but how does this translate now?

Relationship expert Laura Yates says: “Even though you’re meeting online and your choice of outfit might now be more house-chic, it’s still important to feel good.

Approach a video date as you would a regular date and have fun planning an outfit you feel confident in.”

 Sexting's a great way to improve a bond with a new, or existing, partner
Sexting’s a great way to improve a bond with a new, or existing, partnerCredit: Alamy

SEND THAT SEXT: Sexting is perfect if you’ve met someone but won’t be meeting up with them for a while.

Harriet*, 29, from London, says sexting has helped her bond with her new partner.

“I started dating someone before lockdown,” she says. “But it was too soon to isolate together, so instead we’ve been sexting.

“It makes me feel more excited to see him in the future and it gives us something to do together as we don’t have busy lives to talk about right now.”

Lockdown don’ts

MESS PEOPLE AROUND: I’ve never ghosted anyone – and I’m not about to start.

As Laura explains: “We’re all feeling more vulnerable and anxious, so we need to be more conscious of one another’s feelings.

“Don’t date to curb boredom. See it through or hold off until you’re ready.”

 Messing people around is not a good way to go about this lockdown
Messing people around is not a good way to go about this lockdownCredit: Getty – Contributor

TEXT YOUR EX: Though it might be tempting, it’s not a good idea. “Regardless of what’s happening, it doesn’t change what caused your break-up.

“Your ex won’t have changed either,” Laura explains. “If they react in a way that causes you stress or anxiety, being on your own 24/7 will only exacerbate it.”

 

Should Single People Be Using Quarantine To Date?

As the majority of social distancing measures remain in place in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus, dating apps have reported an increase in messages sent and matches made.

After all, for single people quarantining at home, lockdown may seem like the perfect opportunity to finally dedicate time to finding a significant other – or at least dating.

However, while dating apps may provide companionship and comfort – through virtual relationships built during this period – relationship experts warn that not everyone should be using the platforms amid the pandemic.

According to Dr Jennifer B Rhodes, a licensed clinical psychologist, dating/relationship coach and founder of Rapport Relationships, the only people that should be using dating apps right now are those who are in a good place mentally and emotionally, and who were in a good place before the pandemic began.

Speaking to The Independent, Rhodes said: “If you have been actively working on yourself and you’re in a good place, and you go on Bumble or Tinder and you meet someone, you’re going to treat Zoom as a coffee date.”

But, if you’re swiping out of “boredom rather than the mindful intent of developing a relationship,” the behaviour is likely an avoidance tactic.

Explaining that it’s “normal human nature to become avoidant,” Rhodes said: “Right now most of us are fearful, and to cope we usually distract ourselves. So it’s using online dating so you don’t think about how scared you are.”

According to Rhodes, this is especially true if you were “super stressed” before the pandemic began, in which case this time should be dedicated to focusing on self-care.

“If you were super stressed, this is not the time to be online dating. You should be taking care of yourself and this is a time to rest,” Rhodes said.

She recommends using this time to find out what actually makes you happy.

“And then you are in a good place to date after,” Rhodes added.

Rachel A Sussman, LCSW, a licensed psychotherapist, relationship expert, and founder of Sussman Counselling, agreed.

“For singles, it’s complicated,” she told us, explaining that “if an individual has had dating fatigue or dating burnout,” quarantine should be used to recharge and not think about dating.

“If you were sick of dating, this is a good time to focus on yourself,” she said.

However, she stressed that those who do take a break during this time to prioritize themselves should “get back out there post-corona”.

While quarantine may not be the best time for some people to online date, Rhodes acknowledged that for those who are “doing it mindfully,” it’s a “great time because you can explore”.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Life Before Quarantine – Part 9

During quarantine I’ve been fairly productive. I get my energy from people but I really enjoy my alone time. My daughter agrees. We’re both perfectly happy being on our own. I was looking through some photos the other day and I got some great memories of when we were all allowed to come out and play. I thought I’d share some of them with you. I’ll run this series every week until I run out of photos! If you see yourself, hit me up!

I’m very fortunate to have met you all and enjoyed the times we had together. Thank you!

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy Phicklephilly THE BOOK now available on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

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Why We Need To Stop Approaching This Pandemic From A Place Of Fear

It’s ultimately up to you how you approach the pandemic.

We all started this year hoping we would make it a better one than the last. We made a list of goals that we wanted to accomplish, and we were excited to see what surprises 2020 would bring.

However, what we never expected was for the whole world to stop due to a pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). While the outbreak started in China, the virus has now spread internationally.

Everyone around the world is experiencing fear, worry, anxiety, and instability. Every day, more people are getting infected and others are dying.

Every time I go to the grocery store, I see empty shelves and I worry that one day, we might run out of food. Parks, schools, gyms, restaurants and all the places we would often go to are now closed. The streets are empty and our towns are starting to look like ghost towns.

Humans are losing their s*** and going into panic mode. People are being greedy and only thinking about themselves — they are buying everything in bulk, while others don’t know when their next paycheck will come or if they will be able to have enough food for their family.

I have seen many bad things, but for the first time in my adult life, I can honestly say I am scared of the future.

None of us were prepared for this. It arrived without warning, filling our days with confusion and chaos.

There is a lot of crazy s*** happening right now. These are scary and uncertain times for all of us, but there is a major decision to be made — and it’s how you will react to this situation.

This crisis can bring out both the worst and the best in human nature. Are you going to curl in a ball and panic? Or, are you going to make the best out of this situation?

The truth is: You can approach this crisis from either a place of fear or a place of possibility.

Yes, I know it’s hard to be positive when it seems like the world is taking a turn for the worst. But, I encourage you to look at the bigger picture.

You can do something great during this crisis. Some of the most iconic people that ever lived used crisis as an opportunity to make a difference in the world.

Let’s take a look back at our history.

In 1606, deaths from black death led to the closure of theaters in London. Shakespeare isolated himself to avoid getting infected by the deadly virus, and during that time, he wrote three plays: King Lear, Macbeth, and Anthony and Cleopatra.

In 1665, there was a major outbreak of the bubonic plague in the UK. During this time, Isaac Newton discovered Calculus when his Cambridge University classes were canceled due to the pandemic.

In 1918, the Great Influenza Pandemic reached just about every continent around the globe. Walt Disney was 17 years old at that time. Walt wanted to help, so he joined the Red Cross, and, weeks later, Disney came down with the flu. He returned home and recovered from the Influenza — 10 years later, he created Mickey Mouse.

I could go on and list more examples, but I think I proved my point. This is not the first pandemic and, unfortunately, it won’t be the last one.

You could get through all of this by doing nothing, or you can see the opportunity in the crisis and make the difference you were born to make.

Use this time to reflect on all the things you took for granted when everything was normal. Use this time to fix a broken relationship or leave a toxic one.

What’s more, use this time to work on yourself. Use this time to work on the foundation of your legacy.

We cannot control this virus, the government, or even the people around us. But, we can control our thoughts and our actions. We can make conscious choices and have a better response to the current situation.

How you act during this time of crisis will forever change the way you view your life.

Focus your energy on the present moment and figure out what you can do today, so you can have a better tomorrow.

Every dark cloud has a silver lining and this is your chance to take charge of your life so that you come out of this experience stronger.

You can use this time to lead and create a better future, or you can use this time to panic. What will you do?

 

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