Coping With COVID – Some Personal Thoughts from Richard A. Berkowitz, JD, CPA

Posted on April 17, 2020 by Richard Berkowitz

No matter where we are, who we are with, or what we are doing, we have all adapted to an environment dictated by the Coronavirus.  It is not just that our world has fundamentally shifted, it is that we do not know when it is going to be altered again nor what it will look like when we get there.

Change is always difficult, and it takes enormous energy to adapt.  This “change” is a life event for everyone, beyond anything we have ever experienced.  I am certain that what you are going through is rugged and that you miss the routine which we all used to take for granted.

It is very easy to be negative about all of the things you are no longer able to do and about losing the freedoms that you once had.  It is a struggle to watch family try to cope with the disappointments, isolation and anxiety.  Not to mention sickness.  I know everything is more difficult now.  I have talked to some folks who have fallen into a spiral of diminished activity and boredom; and others who are finding ways to prosper and to help others around them grow.  And many who are in-between.

I have suffered through my children’s disappointments with limited ability to console them.  I have struggled with social isolation intellectually understanding that the corona virus will seriously endanger my life.  On the other hand, assisting clients and non-profits with accessing emergency funding has fulfilled and motivated me, while working with The Miami Foundation to help the community has inspired me.  As much as I miss 9-10 hours a week on I-95 . .  . NOT! . . . I have used the time to shrink my Outlook inbox from nearly 1,000 to less than 200 with the goal to be at 0 by the end of April for the first time in my life.  None of this has been easy but in reflecting over the past month, I am feeling positive as I consider my goals for what I want to accomplish during this next month of quarantine.  However, I am not in a place with young children and sitting at my desk focused for long periods of time is not so bad at this point in my career.

No matter what your circumstances may be, aspire to use this time to learn new skills pursue projects and interests that you have previously been unable to find time for, and try to make a difference with your family, friends, and clients. This can and should be a season of development and growth. This can be the time of advancement towards a better tomorrow. Attitude is a choice.  Do your best to think positively and reach out to others to share good news and humor and share life stories. Spend the time to connect.  I also understand that everyone has diverse challenges that may make it more difficult for you to get through each day.

As a country we have been through more dismal disasters in the past. We will find a vaccine. We will put the economy back on track and we shall overcome. Not without substantial pain which will require lots of everyday heroes to get through this enormous challenge. But we will persevere and prevail.

So many of us have stepped up and helped clients apply for government assistance and with other issues they have faced. Like doctors, nurses, EMTs, other first responders, delivery folks, grocery store workers, entrepreneurs, employers and professionals we are figuring out ways to help people. At BPB and PWA, we have our best effort to have a positive impact on others’ lives which is why we do what we do and it is who we are.

Now that we are not running around constantly in motion, we have choices to make when considering how to allocate our time.  Do your best to use this time to figure out how to help others and yourself. Try to start thinking about how you can invest some of your free time.  Books, webinars, podcasts, research, reflection, and conversations with others are all ways of fulfilling the dream that, if you just had the time, you could do something special.

One of the silver linings of COVID-19 is that we are all more accessible and we have time to talk to one another.  Let us know how to help you and let those around you who are closest to you help you as you help them.  This is truly a time when we are all in this together.  And, if this is just a time that is just overwhelming, seek help to mitigate your anxiety or your problem.  No need to go alone.

Think about what is next.

Think about fulfilling your goals or setting new ones.

Take good care of yourself and others; look at this time as a gift and use it wisely.