Stop Thief! (how to take back what COVID-19 has stolen)

COVID 19 is a dirty, rotten criminal. Ironically, not even a smooth one.

It sneaked in and no one saw it coming, but it made a bunch of noise and stayed way too long. Got greedy. Got cocky. Thought it could take everything.

Got news for you COVID … you don’t get everything. Not even close.

And you’re a jerk. Nobody likes you.

Full disclosure: This post comes on the heels of weeks of self-pity and sorrow over the loss and confusion that this thief has created — head spinning and scrambling, trying to figure out what comes next. Days of feeling like all is lost.

Maybe you’re in the same boat. Like you’ve just walked in your front door and realized that your home has been ransacked.

You feel violated, vulnerable, angry, terrified.

Here are seven thoughts to help you get back what this no good, sneaky, spineless thief has taken.


1. “Less than” equals more than nothing.
It has been a painful realization, but I have to settle for less this year. Less connection. Less engagement. Less quality. Less certainty. Less of the people I love and want to be spending time with.

You feel it, too.

But less is NOT nothing.

Don’t settle for the lie of “all is lost.”

Unanticipated, unchosen, undefined, homeschool is less. But it’s not nothing.

A zoom call is less. But it’s not nothing.

Social distancing, self-isolation, and even quarantine are much, much less that what I want right now. So much less than what I am used to.

But they are not nothing.


2. List your losses.
Something magic happens when you get specific.

The pain gets real, but so does the beauty of what’s left.

It’s natural when you’ve been violated to focus entirely on the violation.

It demands your attention.

But taking the space to list the actual losses gives you the space to set those things aside and deal with them as they need to be dealt with.

What has actually been taken?

Connection with your people? Your job? Your graduation? Your retirement plan? Your dream wedding? An important funeral? Your summer plans? Your routine? Your plan? Your sanity?

Whatever it is. Call it out. Tag it. Set it apart from what hasn’t been taken.

Don’t give COVID credit for what it hasn’t accomplished.


3. Don’t play the victim.
Thieves love a victim. That’s the whole point.

Power preys on the powerless.

The victim waits helplessly for the hero to come and rescue them.

Newsflash — this thing has impacted EVERYONE. That means that everyone needs help and everyone has the potential to help someone else.

If your ONLY focus is on seeking help then you are draining the shallow pool of resources that other people need more desperately than you.

Look around. Find a need. Meet it.


4. Find your thankfuls.
Time for a full life inventory. What do you have to be thankful for? Focus your attention on that.

To be clear — finding thankuls is NOT the same as ignoring loss. It’s not looking on the bright side. It’s not simply happy-stamping this mess and pretending like nothing bad has happened.

But a thief would love nothing more than to steal your joy — and joy is all around you.

Pick three. What are you most thankful for, even in this mess? Start your days there and see what happens.


5. Box out
Sorry. Basketball reference.

Boxing out is what happens when the shot goes up and you are close to the basket. You anticipate the miss even though you have no clue what is about to happen, and you prepare yourself to grab the ball and run with it. You do everything you can to get in position for the next play.

COVID isn’t going to last forever. How are you preparing yourself for what comes next?


6. Stop with the superlatives
“COVID has changed EVERYTHING!”

“NOTHING will EVER be the same!”

Stop it. Just stop it.

Focus your attention on what hasn’t changed.

Your family. Your friendships. Your people. Your places. Your values. Your routines. Your pets. The pictures on your wall. The things that make you snortlaugh. Your addiction to Netflix.

Full disclosure: I caught myself on this one. COVID for me means a whole new chapter. New country, new work, new home, new school for my kids, new community, new friends, and a LOT of hard goodbyes. It was easy to say, “this changes everything.

But that’s a lie.

A lot has changed — but not EVERYTHING.


7. Find the gold
It may not feel like it at the moment, but there is very likely some beautiful bit that never would have been possible apart from this jacked-up tragedy.

Time with your family? When are you EVER going to get it like this again?

Life has come to a halt? Remember when your biggest frustration was “I’m too busy?”

Don’t minimize the loss — but don’t miss the gold nuggets.

There is no doubt that this virus has taken a lot from us. It has thrown the world into shock and the losses are huge.

But pause.

Just for a moment.

Gather your bearings. Take a realistic inventory. Find the help that you need. Help someone who needs you.

And go get your stuff back.

Originally appeared on The Culture Blend.

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Jerry Jones

Jerry lives in China with his beautiful blended family. He is a trainer, a speaker, an adventurer, a culture vulture and an avid people watcher. He writes about all of that at

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