Dr. Dan Michael
Dr. Dan Michael

From March to December 2020, this year will be remembered — and it isn’t over yet. The global pandemic has reached into every aspect of all our lives and taken away our sense of predictability and security, but not without glimmers of hope on the horizon.

Until those glimmers become bright and shining beacons of light, however, we must continue to focus on what we can control in our own lives, homes and communities. As we head into the Christmas period, it is my hope that we all take the time to focus on what matters most during the global war against COVID-19: the health and well-being of ourselves, our families and our communities.

What can you do right now? The most important thing that you can do is focus on what you can control: your health, your actions and on your home and work environment.

In terms of your health, we all need to be creative in terms of how we stay active and fit and find ways to move well. But most importantly, we need to address all health concerns when they arise because neglecting your health right now will ultimately put more strain on your health and support system in the long term. Indeed, being in the best health condition that you can possibly be is what we need from everyone right now more than ever.

Finally, for the safety of our loved ones and our communities, we must find a way to abide by all government-issued public health directives, especially with our family, friends and loved ones. If you are missing your loved ones this holiday season and are considering making an exception to the rule of mask wearing, distancing and attending large gatherings, please reconsider.

Consider the front-line health workers who have been working tirelessly since March to save the lives of those infected and who are struggling to cope.

Many of them may well be asked to give up their holiday altogether if infections and hospital admissions continue to rise. Consider your personal safety and the safety of your loved ones.

Consider that COVID-19 can cause long-standing chronic health conditions for both the young and the old.

And consider that these events could be caused unknowingly by you or by someone you love and trust.

During this holiday period, use technology to help you connect virtually and safely instead, and if that may be too challenging, can you ask for help? With some hard work and creativity, we can all have safe holiday celebrations with the help of technology.

During these uncertain times, we need leaders like you. We need global leaders, regional leaders, but most of all, we need leaders in our communities and leaders in our homes.

Leaders come in all shapes and sizes; they can reach the unreachable, inspire and guide those around them, and they often lead by example.

They can be vocal, or they can be silent; they can work with others or they can work alone.

When uncertainty threatens our lives at a global level, we look to people around us to help restore order and safety.

In these times, our leaders are our parents, our children, our teachers, our doctors, our closest friends and our neighbors, too. They come from all walks of life, and while it might seem like we all pay the most attention to whatever makes headline news, the reality is, we act more often based on the lives of our family, our friends and our neighbors in our communities because it is the actions of those we know and trust that we are influenced by the most.

The primitive communities occupied by our ancestors relied on signals from other humans in close proximity to them, to learn about imminent and visible threats. These signals came in the form of both verbal and non-verbal cues that shaped what we know now as the modern-day community.

Furthermore, humans have relied on technological advancement to survive, from the invention of the wheel to the lightbulb, to modern day science. It is because of these technological advancements and our ability to effectively communicate and organize around environmental threats that we have managed to survive throughout the centuries.

In the face of this invisible threat, we can win this war, but we have to do it together, and we need your help.

— Dr. Dan Michael is a chiropractic physician at NW Sports Rehab in Seattle.