Other Thoughts

Thoughtworthy (Wuhan Virus of Course, Plus Anxiety Solutions & More!)

March 13, 2020 by Brandy Vencel

:: 1 ::

So let’s talk about what EVERYONE is talking about: the dreaded Wuhan Virus aka Coronavirus. I am not panicked, but of course it’s easy for me to be cool about it because as far as I know we have zero cases in our county (and our county is bigger than some states, folks). The closest cases are over the mountains to the south or many hours to the north.

With that said, I told my children a couple days ago that this might be big. It might be the kind of thing they grow up and tell stories about when they are old. And so, I encouraged them to keep a journal. Even if it’s mostly about how they are bored because they can’t go to karate or choir (canceled), it’d still be an accurate record.

So far, only one of them has started. “I can’t believe we’re living through history,” she said. The secret is that we always are. We just don’t always feel it so palpably.

:: 2 ::

It’s normal to feel anxiety when the world seems all topsy-turvy. I don’t pretend to have a solution for clinical anxiety. That is a whole different ballgame. But for those of us who are experiencing a normal response to events — inactive ports and closed schools and businesses and plummeting stock markets are unsettling — I want to remind you of what Charlotte Mason said: our anxiety is contagious if we’re not careful. When we’re fretting, our children can catch it.

One thing she recommended when having trouble controlling your thoughts is to self-distract. Yes, it is good to preach the gospel to yourself, to pray and commend your soul and situation to God. But the will is worn down by constant effort. There is also a time to turn our minds to good things that are comforting to think about. Do you suddenly have extra time on your hands because all your events are cancelled? Here are some ideas:

  • Start a new read aloud. This will get your mind off things and comfort your children at the same time.
  • Read a book on your own. Sort of like the above, but by yourself.
  • Remember your hobbies, or start a new one. Maybe you bought supplies and haven’t had time to use them since Christmas break? Do something with your hands.
  • Play a game. Pandemic, if you have a sense of humor.
  • Listen to a podcast that is not about health. Might I suggest Scholé Sisters? Ha. But seriously: if you haven’t been listening, there’s over 50 hours of fruitful distraction available there.
  • Take a class. Study something. For example, it’s not too late to join the Shakespeare mentorship inside Sistership Premier that is led by Kelly Cumbee. She’ll hold your hand as you read through As You Like It together. And the live chats are online, so totally germ-free! I(f you have more time that that, you can also work your way through my Plutarch course at no extra cost.) Click here to join.
  • Watch a fun movie. I recommend something that makes you laugh.

:: 3 ::

For the record, I think Trump is doing a great job managing all of this.

:: 4 ::

This month in 2019:

I wrote about lessons I learned from Plutarch for a while. This post is one of them. I taught Plutarch to my little class again yesterday and we found the Silent Majority in his Life of Nicias (though of course he didn’t call them that). It certainly pays to read and discover that most things aren’t new; they’re just iterations.

:: 5 ::

Podcast episode of the week:

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This week’s links collection:

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15 Comments

  • Reply Katrina March 30, 2020 at 6:26 pm

    I just learned to play Pandemic yesterday~ 🙂

  • Reply tess March 17, 2020 at 3:48 pm

    Unrelated question, Brandy— I seem to remember you starting some star journals with your kids with black paper. I’ve been poking around for the resource links and can’t seem to find that post! Was that indeed you, or am I remembering it wrong?

  • Reply Brenda Faust March 14, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    You know what’s been sad about all the coronavirus news/articles I’ve seen? How greatly people think the government should ‘save’ them and provide comfort and help. Many seem to be genuinely fearful and have nothing to rely on.
    Also, as so many schools are closing and doing ‘school at home’ for weeks (at least, in New England where I live), I told my kids they are finally “normal!”

  • Reply Brittany L March 13, 2020 at 11:04 am

    Pandemic 😂😂😂 I love it!

    Also we have a confirmed case in our county as of yesterday, I think it was? I need to go to Costco and I’m dreading it. 😫😫😫

    • Reply Brandy Vencel March 13, 2020 at 2:33 pm

      Do you really? I’m sorry. I actually have to go again on Monday. I don’t have an extra freezer so stocking up on frozen foods is not exactly a Thing for me.

      My dad called me from Vons this morning. He said they had ordered two thousand units of toilet paper and only received one thousand. It had just been delivered and there were only about 10 left. So I had him get me some! Crazy to me since this isn’t a stomach virus. Should have bought stock in Charmin!

      • Reply Brittany March 13, 2020 at 6:22 pm

        It’s just so odd… I don’t understand it either! And I’m sorry you have to go Monday! 😩

      • Reply Jody S. March 14, 2020 at 2:51 am

        We went to Walmart last night for some milk, carrots, and celery. I got the last celery. There were few carrots, and the milk was running low. The yogurt was wiped out with just a few odd cups remaining. Entire aisles of Walmart were wiped out (no toilet paper). It was crazy.

        • Reply Brandy Vencel March 14, 2020 at 7:00 am

          That seems extra weird, Jody! I guess people could be cooking at home more, but it’s hard for me to believe they are going to benefit from buying extra perishables!

  • Reply Bethany March 13, 2020 at 10:54 am

    Okay, I love Pandemic. And that made my laugh out loud 😀

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