Who would have ever thought that the idea of physically connecting with people—to give or receive a hug, a handshake, a gesture of affection or comfort—could create so much stress and so much division!

Human beings are wired up for connection and closeness (think survival of the species for the basic biology). It fills our tanks emotionally and, after all, emotions are what drive every single one of us.

From this starting point—the need for connection—how does one navigate daily life in deciding who to spend time with? Mask or no mask? 6 feet apart or within our bubble where we allow only close people to enter? Inside or outside only? Drive your own cars or drive together?

From the beginning of the COVID crisis, I have observed clients, family, friends, and myself, at different paces certainly, but eventually finding themselves taking some level of risk of the physically connecting as the physical isolation and distancing drained them mentally and emotionally. I witnessed short tempers, intolerance, depression, and anxiety the longer the distancing continued. The only thing that turned the tide was when, ultimately, a decision was made to take a risk and find ways to close the physical gap. Even high risk individuals chose to take their conclusion of a “reasonable” risk. The toll on their mental and emotional state was no longer worth the gap.

Unfortunately, the mental/emotional toll doesn’t always end there. Just because a decision is made, doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with regrets or anxiety about whether you’ve become part of the spread. It can be a constant back and forth of how to balance, and a decision in any given time is based on one’s emotional state in that moment.

It would seem that given these circumstances, one would more or less be in a constant state of stress or anxiety unless you have thrown your hands up in the air and thrown caution to the wind. How can you be a responsible citizen and at the same time live and enjoy life?

I can only share the path that I have chosen to take with the hopes that this will help you. First of all, since I believe in the Universe and that things work out the way they need to, I trust that whatever happens is what needs to happen. This does NOT mean in any way, that I relieve myself of being a responsible citizen. What it DOES mean is that I do my best to take what I consider to be reasonable precautions—masking some times, getting physically close to another some times (depending on my trust level with them), avoiding crowded places whether indoor or outdoor, going to the grocery store rather than using Instacart, and always respecting what the people around me would prefer I do for them to feel safe. The rest I leave up to the Universe.

I ask regularly for guidance and intuition. Given that, I will “feel” (the intuition) that I should wear a mask in any given moment (and I do). I will “feel” the need to step back from someone (and I do). I will “feel” suddenly to not go into a particular grocery store though I’m already on the way there (and I don’t).

The other thing I do is to respect the choices that other people make. Sometimes, it is very difficult when I read about (or see) reckless behavior, and yet, I also understand that some people don’t believe COVID is even a thing. I understand why there is a lack of trust and faith in what we hear so I get why some people seem “reckless.”

At the end of the day, I can find my stress free space when I remind myself that the Universe has a hand in everything. I hope this helps you find yours, too.