Most of us run around every day, often frantically and stressed out wondering how we’re going to handle everything that is on our plate. Day after day, we worry, but we refuse to stop and figure out what our next step is. We often don’t eat right because we have so much to do. We don’t exercise because there’s just not enough time. We don’t take the time to read a good book that would just be enjoyable to read. We rush from place to place trying to solve the problems of the world.

Now, we’re faced with something we might never have heard of before called coronavirus. Not only due to presidential orders, governors’ orders, orders of local officials, CDC and other health agencies giving us directives, we’ve been forced to pause. This might be a good time to have patience since what happens next is beyond our control. We might do what Dr. Dee Carroll suggests in her book, “Emotional Emancipation.” She urges us to step into our freedom, reinvent our challenges and move beyond them. For an unknown amount of time, we’ve been forced to slow down our pace from the things we usually do. We’ve been taken away from our usual hustle and bustle routine. No matter what we do personally, we don’t have the know-how to resolve the coronavirus, so this seems like a good time to show some patience.

Maybe this is a good time to listen to the words of Dr. Homayoun Sadeghi who said, “everything that happens is a gift, how adversity can make us magnificent creatures if we let it, and how embracing it can bring about an amazing journey of emotional healing and overall health.”

During this critical period of our being forced to slow down and do things in a different way, maybe we can teach ourselves to be more patient about things that really matter. Maybe we can take the time to be more thoughtful toward others. We can take the time to call friends and family we’ve neglected to call for a very long time. Instead of sending demanding messages that require immediate responses, let’s try sending warm, encouraging ones for others who may be going through very stressful times.

Even when there’s no coronavirus concern, all of us go through something, but too often we don’t take the time to deal with it. We move on to the next challenge without dealing with the one we just went through. If your work has slowed down or become nonexistent, why not begin writing that book you’ve always thought about writing? Why not learn to meditate? Why not work some crossword puzzles? Why not just do nothing for a few days? That’s probably the hardest thing in the world for a normally busy person to do — but it may be just what you need.

Since I can’t do all the things I normally do in a day, I’ve stepped up my walking. In the early morning, there’s almost no one out there so I find myself relaxed, having clearer thoughts and feeling more energetic. I am organizing and finding things I haven’t seen for years. I’ve thrown out a lot of things that I should have thrown out years ago. I’ve also found things I wanted that have eluded me for years.

I’m learning to stop saying “I’ve got to do this” and “I’ve got to do that” all day long, knowing I can never do all the things in one day that I schedule or that just come up seemingly out of nowhere. I’m exercising patience these days and I feel great!

Williams is national president of the National Congress of Black Women.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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