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The concept of both/and was not one I was familiar with before reading the article, "A Therapist's Guide to Emotional Health in a Pandemic," by Lori Gottlieb. I had recently read Gottlieb's book, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, and found it to be smart and funny, so when this article came across my radar I thought it might provide some useful insight.
Yesterday, as I watched the briefing from the President and his coronavirus task force, part of me wanted to keep watching, so I stay aware of the most current information. The other part of me wanted to turn off the television and escape into my own virus-free thoughts and activities. I know the coronavirus pandemic has caused loss and suffering and heartache across the globe. But, I know I still want to laugh and find the joy in life. The last few days have been consumed with trying to process all the emotions that I feel regarding what is happening in the world.
Reading Gottlieb's article has helped to give me some clarity. Both/and is a mindset and allows us to acknowledge that a situation is terrible while also embracing what is positive and joyful. I can feel terrible about the loss and suffering and heartache that is occurring and also find joy in the books that I now have time to read, in the opportunity to sleep a little later, in the connections I am able to have with friends and family from a distance, and in the trivial aspects of life that just make me happy. For me, the both/and mindset is what will help me from feeling overwhelmed by it all.