During this part of the cycle, many of us have experienced some fairly extreme isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless of how serious you believe the disease is, the isolation, fear, and paranoia it has caused have led to some major consequences to the psyche and overall well-being of billions of people worldwide.
The first nine months of the pandemic, I spent hunkered down on our property in the mountains of North Carolina. We stopped going to major stores, including grocery stores, on January 31, and we have not been back. Part of the reason for this was that after nine months of isolation on our mountain, I became pregnant with our first child. At this point, we thought adoption many years down the road was the only way children would play a part in our lives.
All of a sudden, I was deemed as being in a high-risk group. Going to prenatal appointments and ultrasounds had to be done alone. It was 20 weeks before my husband even saw a picture, and that was only because they print them out for you. I have to admit I was a little scared of pregnancy during COVID-19. Pregnant women are four times more likely to need hospitalization and a ventilator, for example. The long-term effects on a fetus are unknown.
That is my story. I think I have handled it better than average because even before lockdown, we tended to keep busy at home and didn’t enjoy going out to shop. Most people are not like that. It is probably not good for anyone to stay at home for months at a time without going anywhere at all or seeing people besides immediate family.
Crime In 2020
Murder rates went up drastically in many major cities. NYC saw a 40% increase, Chicago murders increased 50%. Los Angeles saw a 40% rise. Practically any major city saw at least a 30% increase. Nationally murder rates went up 37.5% Source: NPR
According to the CDC, there were 81,000 overdose deaths in 2020. This is the highest number ever recorded in the USA. Compare this to 70,980 in 2019. Source: CDC
Homelessness increased dramatically due to increased substance abuse.
So how does the average person deal with this while staying strong for those that depend on them?
Take charge of your food security.
It is a good idea to have some extra food put back so you can be prepared for shortages, higher prices, and even civil unrest. Being prepared with some extra food can ease some of the stress and anxiety during uncertain times. Eating well helps boost morale during difficult times.
Growing some of your food can help take the bite out of rising food costs. With signs indicating that hyperinflation is upon us, anything you can do to produce some of what you eat is going to help. Gardening and outdoor activities can help with your mood and encourages exercise that can help you sleep better.
Find enjoyable activities to take your mind off what seems like an overwhelming situation.
Everyone needs something that they do that is enjoyable and helps relieve stress. At the beginning of the pandemic, I took a little time and money and created a more prolific home library. I keep around 100 books on hand and rotate them out. Some I sell back online while others I donate. I buy a lot of used books online. Local libraries usually have a system where you can check out ebooks and read them remotely. Amazon has a program called Kindle Unlimited is an affordable way to have unlimited ebooks on hand.
Kids and teens need something to keep them occupied. It is a good idea to start a “morale box” for them. Take a simple storage tote and start putting items in it that are engaging and thoughtful. This is something you can do overtime as you can afford it.
Try to stay strong for those that depend on you.
Times are tough for a lot of people. It can be incredibly challenging to put on your game face and be strong. Those that have dependents need to try as hard as they can. Negative emotions and letting yourself get too low will harm those around you. If you notice yourself slipping into the blues, the sooner you deal with it, the better. Don’t ignore your mental state. Try to work through it by finding solutions before it causes more trouble for you and those close to you.
Remember that a lot of people have been through some rough 4th turnings. While it may take some time, there are usually better times ahead.
Responsible use of vices can be helpful.
Everyone has a vice. While indulging too much can cause trouble or damage your health, responsible use of vices can be a fantastic morale booster. Plenty of people enjoy a glass of wine or have a cigar once in a while to relax.
Some vices can be harder to get during uncertain times, so it is wise to have a few put back. Here are a few common ones to consider.
- Alcoholic Beverages
- Specialty foods and beverages
Your vice might be something that doesn’t fit in those categories. Some people like to knit like crazy or write in a journal.
Enjoy making or listening to some music.
Music can help get you through some hard times. Who hasn’t listened to music to encourage relaxation, physical activity, or to remember good times and fond memories?
I keep an emergency radio on hand that can read and playback music and audiobooks. A Kaito emergency radio will work when other devices will not, and the speaker is big enough so that the sound will fill a room rather well.
If you don’t want to pay for music, you can find some free music that is not copyright protected online.
Video calls can help people stay in contact during times of isolation.
While nothing can replace being in the same room with someone, it is far better than nothing. Video calls are a great way to stay connected with relatives you want to support and check-in but live too far away for regular visits. Be sure to call and check in on relatives that live alone, especially those that are older. An occasional call from you likely brightens their day more than you realize. If they have a cell phone, you can help them learn how to do video calls if they don’t already know how to.
Online Counseling Services
I have read mixed reviews of online counseling services. I think that part of the reason reviews are mixed is that some people have a harder time working through their issues than others. Some may also do better with a real physical presence to help guide them through their troubles. Do remember that online or virtual counseling is an option for you if you are suffering from any type of mental illness or hard times. Costs vary, of course, by the company and session length.
Try to stay busy.
While some people have difficulty stopping and relaxing, others have difficulty not being bored or inactive. Keeping busy helps time pass and makes it harder to dwell on dark things. A sense of purpose and achievement is essential to the human psyche. If some people in your household are not doing much, try to give them something to do.
Take steps to improve your home defense. Feeling safe and like you have some control of your situation improves morale and mood.
With crime on the rise throughout the United States and civil unrest erupting at the drop of a hat, you need to consider how good your home defenses are. Here is a shortlist of home defense measures you can take.
- Fences and fence spikes
- Driveway alarms
- Window security film
- Window locks and alarms
- Become proficient with whatever weapons you choose.
For more advice on home security and defense, check out my article “Home Defense Methods and Strategies”.
What news sites are you reading? How much time are you spending on them?
I find it hard to look away from the news at times. While I favor alternative media sources like Citizen Free Press and ZeroHedge, I also check in on the mainstream sites to see the current stories and the propaganda of the day.
I think we can all agree that 2020 and 2021 have been one strange event after another. It is important to tune out and not dwell on it more than you should. Checking the news a few times a day is one thing but spending a ton of time staring at one outrageous and upsetting thing after another is not good for your mental health. Consider that you could be spending that time on something more productive or even just relaxing?
Remember that good news rarely gets reported. There are plenty of positive events occurring in daily life that you won’t hear about. Think about what is good in your own life. What are you grateful for?
Stop living in the past. Look to the future.
I hear many people saying “when things go back to normal” and dwelling on a way of life that we can never truly go back to. Things have changed. We have to consider what we can do to make things better in the future using the resources and abilities we have. To be successful at anything, we have to be somewhat realistic. We cannot rely on too much magic to solve our problems for us.
In “The Fourth Turning,” Strauss and Howe state, “Avoid post seasonal behavior, by terminating habits that were appropriate for the prior turning but are not for the current one.”
This is excellent advice. Continuing the habits of the prior Turning will result in increased stress and possible hardship for you and your family.
Don’t try to take on the problems of the world. Ask yourself what you can do to help solve issues within your community.
The Fourth Turning was written in 1997 during the unraveling 3rd Turning. Strauss and Howe were right when they wrote, “Come the Fourth Turning, national survival will require a level of public teamwork and self-sacrifice far higher than American’s now provide.” They also advise not to attempt to use community teamwork to solve national problems.
In short, taking on too much results in failure all too often. Organizing and making improvements on a small scale is much more feasible. Plus, if many communities do this, then suddenly, you have large portions of the country that have improved.
Try to be kind. During COVID-19, behavior in general society and politeness were kicked to the curb. Make an effort not to turn into that person.
When people are stressed, their actions and politeness can quickly deteriorate. Consider Asheville, NC, during the pandemic. Before the pandemic, it was a thriving small city that relied heavily on tourism and a vibrant downtown nightlife. A lot of people made their living in the food and service industries. When restaurants were forced to serve outside, take-out only, and enforce state regulations regarding masks during lockdown, many staff decided that they would never work in the industry again.
Because customers became abusive over minor things. Suddenly due to the new rules, people were looking for an excuse to complain or refuse to follow guidelines that restaurants were forced to enact or risk losing the ability to make a dime. Customers walked out on bills, became violent, etc. Then the protests started downtown. Protesters targeted hotels and restaurants. This led to more abuse towards staff trying to serve customers and provide them with the best experience while following current rules and regulations.
It has become widely accepted to get offended whenever one chooses, or at least people are walking around in battle mode, just knowing that they will inevitably offend someone. The reaction is likely to be over the top.
If someone boils over, try to get away from them. Don’t fuel the ridiculous lack of decency and manners that is all too common in the 4th Turning.
Realize that you can only help someone so much. The other person has to want to improve.
I have lost count of how many people over the years the people I had to give up on. That sounds awful, but the fact is that people have to want to make improvements. You cannot do all the work for them. Let’s examine the drug crisis in the USA to offer an example. Many of us know someone or know of someone that has become an addict. If not, we at least see people on the street that have a problem. The sad thing is that some of them have no authentic desire to change. Some people have chosen to live that way. Some people prefer living a nomadic or homeless lifestyle too. Helping people and giving them a chance to pull themselves up is great, but there reaches a point when it is wise to admit that your efforts are not effective and that you are likely being used.
The drug and homeless situation is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. You need to be prepared to make wise choices for your family’s safety, security, and overall well-being. Try to help people when you can, but set some limits.
What strategies have you found most useful for weathering this Fourth Turning?