As we begin Week 5 of shelter in place, after celebrating holidays with our loved ones from a safe social distance, knowing that over 22,000 Americans have died because of COVID-19, it’s easy to slip into a mind-frame full of sorrow and regret. And while those feelings are completely valid and justified, we have to find a way to redirect our thoughts to a more positive mind-set.

It’s not easy to break a negative loop, but you have to will yourself to do it. Make a commitment to not allow dark thoughts to linger. I know it’s not easy, but it can be done. Here are some examples of how I’ve re-framed major disappointments recently:

This week, I had plans to take my partner out to a lovely birthday dinner followed by a show that I booked back in 2019. Instead, we’ll have to get a bit more creative and make the day special ourselves.

Next month, I was planning to attend my brother’s wedding in Spain. Obviously that is no longer happening, but hopefully next year we can all come together and celebrate their one year anniversary.

In June, I was supposed to attend my 30th high school reunion in New England. That event has now been canceled, but some of my classmates have been connecting via Zoom, and we have been invited to crash next year’s reunion festivities, which actually will allow me to catch up with some friends from the year below me that I have not seen in ages.

All of these are minor issues, and I started with these on purpose– because it is easier to start with something like this and work your way up to harder issues like what will you do about paying your bills if things don’t improve in a few weeks? Rather than just panic, focus on the opportunities available for grants, loans or how you can cut expenses. Talk to your providers and try to work out deals.

Now is not the time to bury your head in the sand, praying that this will all blow over. This is the time to be pro-active, figure out what you can control and implement changes to minimize the damages.

This coronavirus crisis has thrown everyone’s 2020 plans out the window, and it is challenging us to adapt quickly, not just in our behaviors but the entire way we think. So much of what we once took for granted, we now treasure. Rather than dwell on the losses, find a way to (1) show gratitude for those past experiences that brought you joy, (2) appreciate your current opportunities, and (3) develop a new plan for getting through this year.

We will get through this together!

By Regina A. DeMeo