We're in This Together: Thoughts on COVID-19

By Alexis Winter - Director of Nursing at Homewood Ravensview

While there is a lot of negativity, fear mongering, and general panic being widely broadcast during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a lot of positivity that has come out of it as well. While some people are hoarding goods and looking out only for themselves, others are lending a helping hand, sharing with their neighbours, and generally looking out for one another. Daily we are inundated with statistics of new cases and new deaths and it is easy to get overwhelmed and start to believe that everything is bleak; but sometimes focusing on the positives can change our outlook and help us feel better about our fellow humans. Focusing on problems and deficits and trying to find solutions can sometimes be counterproductive and hinder social constructivism (Cooperrider & Srivstva, 1987). For those of us that are problem solvers, trying to solve the unsolvable can be very detrimental for our mental health. What we pay attention to becomes our reality and grows in our consciousness, while what we pay less attention to becomes less powerful. In other words, focusing on strengths begets strengths (Bushe, 2011). So in this time of the unknown, it can help to honor those that are working hard to help one another. There are many examples of people stepping up in selfless ways to help those that are unable to do for themselves.

Thousands of people have come forward to volunteer to do things like pick up and deliver groceries to those that cannot leave their homes. Some grocery stores have changed their hours to ensure vulnerable members of society are able to get what they need during less crowded times. Grass roots Facebook and other social media groups have been set up to connect those that need help with those that are willing to give help and many people are offering their time, resources, and money. We have seen videos of musicians in Spain and Italy, as well as China, Lebanon, and Israel playing and singing from their balconies to give the gift of music to those stuck in their homes. Computer experts are remotely lending a helping hand to those that suddenly find themselves in need of a home office and don’t have the skill or expertise to set it up themselves.

Addiction workers, therapists, and physicians have set up remote access applications so they can still see their patients and clients without the fear of spreading the virus. Local distilleries have focused their energy and resources on creating hand sanitizer rather than producing their regular products and making them available to disenfranchised people and health care workers. Restaurants that have had to close their doors are offering free food to employees that no longer have an income.  Radio stations have set up virtual sing-alongs and dance parties for those cooped up at home. NBA players have donated money to help arena workers who suddenly find themselves out of work. Large companies are donating money to support people in their communities that do not have the means to see them through a period of unemployment.

As the virus passes through China and on to other countries, Chinese officials are donating medical supplies and other goods to countries in need, while sharing their knowledge, expertise, and scientific discoveries with the world in an effortto help the rest of us prepare. Police officers continue to work in order to serve and protect. And closest to home for me, nurses, doctors, and medical support staff are taking a very big step forward as the rest of the world takes a step back in order to ensure people continue to get the care they need.

This global pandemic has caused a lot of stress for a lot of people. We feel stress in direct relation to our coping strategies and our belief about our ability to affect outcome (Lazarus, 1991). While a lot of what is going on is outside of our control and therefore, very stressful, some is within our control such as our attitude and our response. So as we are inundated with scary statistics and bad news, don’t forget that the world continues to be a place full of altruism and kindness. People continue to help each other and pull through a crisis together with an attitude of caring and cooperation.



Bushe, G.R. (2011). Appreciative Inquiry: Theory and Critique. In Boje, D., Burnes, B., & Hassard, J. (eds.) The Routldedge companion to organization change (pp. 87-103). Oxford, UK: Routledge.

Cooperrider, D., & Srivastva, S. (1987). Appreciative inquiry in organizational life. In Woodman, R.W. & Passmore, W.A. (eds). Research in Organizational Change and Development, Vol. 1 (129-169). Stamford, CT: JAI Press.

Lazarus, R.S. (1991). Emotion and adaption. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.