Helen Lee Schifter On Promoting Wellness Through the COVID-19 Pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been a lot of thought and commentary about the need for all of us to preserve our health. There have been many different ways that the healthcare experts and tv commentators have encouraged this. Some have advised to engage in social distancing. Others have discouraged people from going outside altogether. Of course, there have been many companies that have had their employees working from home. Elle Decor, is just one example of many companies that have encouraged members of their workforce to work remotely.

Speaking of the fashion space, it is no secret that the Coronavirus pandemic has been devastating to the events and photography industries. Businesses like BFA that specialize in photography have been especially hard-hit by the lack of events taking place during this pandemic.

But among the industries that have been most adversely affected by this pandemic is the real estate industry. As the directory at RealtyHop indicates, the number of available listings have continued to dwindle as this crisis’ longevity continues to grow. This has had a truly devastating impact on the real estate industry, not only in terms of home-owners having difficulty finding buyers, but also for the livelihoods of real estate agents, brokers and salespeople.

Helen Lee Schifter at 2013 GUGGENHEIM International Gala hosted by DIOR
Helen Lee Schifter at 2013 GUGGENHEIM International Gala hosted by DIOR. BFA image.

The importance of wellness is important to consider as well, while we reflect on this pandemic and the impact it has had. Helen has written about this on her Medium account. The reality is that too many take health for granted. And in some cases, as we’ve seen with this pandemic, the consequences of such negligence can truly be damaging, and even fatal. Without politicizing this unmitigated human tragedy so as not to add further fuel to the fire that already is percolating in our polarizing political system, let us instead focus on what all members of human kind could and should have been doing in the lead-up to this pandemic.

There is too much of a fixation in our society on commercial endeavors. It’s only human for us to be motivated by the pursuit of wealth and prosperity. In some cases, even fame. But the sad reality of this is that none of us can take a single dollar with us to our graves. And beyond that of course, it is during the pursuit of wealth or stardom that many lose sight of what truly matters in life. The chaos of commercial industry does not allow one the opportunity to reflect on one’s priorities in life; and to ensure that they are straight and in proper order.

How many of us focus on making money at the expense of our sleep and therefore our health? Think about it for a moment. It is a truly jarring indictment of our human nature and what society seems to focus on way too often. Instead of these concentrations, we should all be appreciating our good health and focusing intently on improving it, where that may be applicable.

Too many of us are busy using technology at the expense of spending time with our family members and having real and raw conversations with one another, that allow us to be vulnerable. Even social media platforms that might have utility for our professional pursuits such as Linkedin cannot be overused excessively. Consider how much time each of us spend in front of a screen over the course of any given day. Not only in front of our computer screens, but also in front of our mobile phones. It needs to stop. We need to engage in more inter-personal conversations.

Societal norms have dictated that somehow this is normal. But it is anything but normal. There needs to be a movement that is spurred that focuses on discouraging members of society from excessively using all the technology gadgets at our disposal. A movement to allow us all to “unplug.” Wouldn’t that be refreshing? Why not dedicate one or two days a week to not turning on the television. Not turning on the phone. Not turning on the computer; or any of the other devices we may have. Whether that be an iPad, iPhone or any other technological product.

The focus should instead be on improving ourselves emotionally, socially and mentally. Wellness is not only about good health. Although that of course is also important. Wellness is also about leading a normal life free of constant exposure to screen-time and technology. A life that allows for normal human to human interaction and social engagement. Let us take this opportunity to reflect on the absolute obsession that so many of us may have had with technology. Let’s divorce our phones. Divorce our computers. And liberate each-other from this form of servitude that too many of us suffer from.

This will have enormous societal benefits; not to mention all of the personal real-time benefits it will inevitably have on family-life; our social lives and of course our mental and emotional health. With every crisis there are some lessons that can be extrapolated and learned. With this crisis, I believe a good beginning would be reflecting on the appreciation we all ought to have for the ability to interact with our fellow human beings.

Helen Lee Schifter’s writings in Thrive Global and other outlets have been illustrative of this point. But it is worthwhile sharing it once again, so that it is emphasized properly. Because the point is such an important one that it can’t possibly be said enough. While utilizing platforms like Crunchbase certainly have value and utility, there needs to be a renewed focus on our human to human engagement.

As this crisis hopefully continues dwindling away in the United States, and the curve continues to flatten, let’s take the opportunity to both appreciate the preservation of human life; but also to focus on the lessons that we should be extrapolating from this horrid experience. The aforementioned lessons should be at the forefront of all of our minds, collectively speaking.

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Alfred Nolan
Alfred Nolan is passionate about politics and shedding a light on the way bridges can be built between disparate cultures. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his nephew or playing golf, and is an avid wine connoisseur.