Pandemic Preparation and Positive Steps To Take

  1. Stay at home and cancel all social engagements and travel.
  2. Greet with elbow bumps, bows, or namastes if you do see people.
  3. Avoid all small, medium, or large groups and areas where people congregate.
  4. Stay completely isolated if you have symptoms of any sickness at all.
  5. Apply the hygiene and social isolation principles recommended by the CDC.
  1. A 14-day minimum supply of non-perishable foods.
  2. Bulk medicines for anything you need over the next six months if possible.
  3. Stocks of everything from propane canisters to critical supplies.
  4. As much cash reserve as possible for the potential economic shocks. If you don’t have any reserves, see if you have allies who might backstop you. Get on Venmo or Paypal so you can pay people virtually for services vs. cash.
  5. NOTE: It’s imperative you do not hoard medical supplies (like N95 masks) that will be needed by the system. Most of the interventions we need individually are low-tech.
  1. Talk with your family and get everyone on the same page, discuss roles, opportunities, and needs as this unfolds.
  2. Get to know your neighbors and convene conference calls to discuss where there are resources that can be shared or optimized, especially if critical pieces of your own infrastructure break. Make sure to have phone and email contacts for people.
  3. Families with children may need to either isolate or create shared clusters of a few families that share the load of parenting and homeschooling. Small clusters of 2–3 families will be easier to minimize the viral exposure and collaborate on strong self-protection protocols.
  4. Elderly or sick people will need to identify people, ideally young adults, who can shop for them, run errands, and handle things that might bring them into contact with infected people. Think of this as a kind of buddy system that can also provide some social exchange and some employment for the youth who are likely going to face financial hardship.
  5. Determine who is going to feel the most isolated in your network and make a plan for regular Skype or Facetime calls to check up on them.
  6. Identify people who are most likely to be most at risk from the economic impacts and see what you can do to help them weather what is coming. Seattle offers a great example of pooling resources for those most in need.
  7. Get on social platforms that connect you with neighbors, allies, and good information and resource sharing (Zoom, Facebook, Time Banking, etc.)
  1. Sleep at least 8 hours every night. More if you can.
  2. Get regular exercise in your house or outdoors.
  3. Eat a balanced and healthy diet with good hydration.
  4. Meditate or pray daily to focus your mind and uplift your consciousness. Double down on spiritual practices.
  5. Work with fears as they arise but don’t let them overwhelm you.
  6. Focus on opportunities, not doomsday scenarios: how can this situation cause positive changes that we and the world need anyway? This keeps us out of the more hopeless victim mentality, which is bad for our health.
  1. Take up a hobby you have long wanted to do or projects around the house
  2. Gardening has the benefit of providing fresh vegetables for the family and creating more local resilience the deeper into this we get.
  3. Have you wanted to write a book? Start a blog? A podcast? This will be a good time to express your creativity.
  4. Take your cooking abilities to the next level.
  5. Take more online courses. Work on a virtual degree.
  6. Think of ways that you can monetize your skills, like coaching others via Zoom or Skype. Get entrepreneurial as there may be new opportunities to serve real needs in a way that generates income for your family as well.
  7. Learn new computer programs and skills, from video editing to website design.
  8. Create a book club online with friends and do a video call every week to share what you’re reading. Create a reading list that will grow you in the months ahead — and you’ll actually have time to do it.
  9. Get recommendations from all the friends you trust for the “hidden gem” movies that you might have missed.
  10. Take time in more contemplative retreat if your commitments allow.
  11. Have deeper, longer conversations with people you have let drop away in your life. Renew your social connections virtually.
  12. Deepen your relationships with your loved ones.
  1. Creation of stronger and more resilient local networks, which prepare us for other disasters as well as giving us more connections in our community.
  2. Virtualization of work. Telecommuting will force more people to get creative in how we engage our work so we can spend less of our time commuting in the future. This will help to reduce our carbon footprint, an important factor in addressing climate change.
  3. Source more food and energy locally.
  4. Reduce dependency on the global supply chain so we don’t buy nearly as many goods that are made on the other side of the planet.
  5. Shift from over-consumption to a more experiential and relational life.
  6. Deepen your growth practices and your ability to be calm in a tempest. This cultivates your capacity for more conscious leadership.
  7. Identify emerging leaders in the community who can be nominated or recruited into future political roles, raising the caliber of our political leadership on the other side.
  8. Focus on what unites us rather than what divides us, even in a contentious election season (which will move online). The pandemic can help us to cross political divides as we work on shared solutions to community challenges.
  9. Cross-generational collaboration: Since this will strike elderly populations hardest and the youth the least, it can activate more cross-generational relationships, which can prepare us to address other societal issues as well.
  10. New kinds of entrepreneurial ideas and visionary solutions will emerge. New businesses will be born. Necessity is the Mother of Invention and crises force innovative thinking. What could you incubate in this time of crisis that will demonstrate lasting value in the time after?
  11. A shift into the recognition that we truly are one interconnected human family now and that we can only solve our challenges when we work together. In essence, this crisis can propel us into more global solidarity. Our collective grief for those we lose will also bind us together.

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Founder & CEO of The Shift Network, member of the Transformational Leadership Council, speaker, author of Sacred America, Sacred World

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Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

Founder & CEO of The Shift Network, member of the Transformational Leadership Council, speaker, author of Sacred America, Sacred World