The Other Contagions in The Age of Covid-19
Tēnā koutou friends. Gosh, what a week.
As small business owners, we have felt the waves of anxiety hit us as we imagine the year ahead of us. No doubt you have done the same. Our fears have been visually projecting our worst case scenarios. But it is important to come up for fresh air and realise that these projections aren’t true. What is true is that; we have our health. Our loved ones are safe. We live in remote New Zealand. And we have a government leading with extreme caution and support. Their $12 billion package announced yesterday is an extreme relief knowing that our jobs will be secure. We are 👏so👏 lucky to belong to (and be protected in) Aotearoa.
You might have heard that animals can smell fear, but did you know humans do the same as we release chemosignals that others can smell that register our panic? Not only that, but humans have “emotional contagion” where we mimic the feelings of those around us - that is why you can feel the heaviness in the air this week and how you can bring it back home with you. But this emotional contagion has been proved to work both negatively and positively!
With that said, we have decided that Crushes will be a safe space. If there will be an emotional contagion, we will spread our own of positivity! We promise to play good music (most likely Kylie Minogue), emit positive energy, talk about the future optimistically, and we will only engage in COVID-19 conversations if you want to bring it up. It’s not denial, but our need to protect *ourselves* right now. We also see it as a service we can give out, just like we always have, to be a cheerful space with good energy for you to enjoy and take with you.
How are you looking after yourself? As a team, we had been talking about how we can’t stop snacking on international news, consuming it in robust, constant intermittence creating a static transmission of fear. Knowing we had to break out of it, we put boundaries around ourselves: No-News-Evenings, and instead replaced it with The Great Escapes (imo): The Bachelorette NZ and TikTok©. This improved our quality of sleep so we could face the next day with more emotional stability.
Putting up verbal boundaries are incredibly helpful too. The following one-liners are good to have in your back pocket (and are from @millenial.therapist ) : “I don’t want to talk about the coronavirus right now, I’m sure you understand” // “I know that you are trying to be helpful with your suggestions but I just need some space to experience my emotions” // “I appreciate how informed you are but I don’t want to receive links and articles to media coverage”.
The best and only thing we should be spreading right now is kindness. Check in with your elders. Get in touch with your friends who you know struggle mentally. And check in with those who always seem okay too. Continue to support your local. Smile at people walking past. Refute xenophobic notions. And when people ask how you are going, take a breath to truly think about it, and if you feel safe then share it with them. Being communal is in our blood, so don’t self-isolate your emotions, but truly explore and find peace with them somehow. Ask for help. Let’s spread love, confidence and optimism. After all, our slice of the world IS doing well.
All we have is today, and after today, we have tomorrow. One day at time. You have got this.