Jamie Biesiada
Jamie Biesiada

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, Travel Leaders Network, like the other consortia, has been offering members a variety of resources to help them through the crisis.

Of late, that's included topics like travel insurance, what it does and doesn't cover, what happens if a customer contracts the virus on a trip, etc.

But Travel Leaders president Roger Block said the consortium is also offering support in another important area: How to cope with the pandemic.

That includes mental and emotional coping and managing employees through the crisis, Block said -- things that, one year ago, Travel Leaders never thought about.

"It's really very important," he said. "All of us need to recognize the amount of stress not just the owners are under but also the staff."

Personal stress is, in many cases, exacerbated by concern for co-workers or employees in an agency, many of whom operate more like families.

"They've been working together literally for decades," Block said.

Block couldn't be more right about the importance of mental and emotional health during the coronavirus crisis.

Seek out resources from consortia, host agencies and travel companies to help. They have a unique perspectives on the travel industry that should prove insightful.

There are numerous resources online, too, from the more serious to the somewhat more lighthearted.

I thought I'd also share some of the things that have helped me the most throughout the pandemic. 

• Talking with friends, especially when it seems like some of the country has forgotten that we're in the midst of the pandemic.

• Keeping in touch with friends, and talking about it, reminds me that there are other people acting responsibly.
Regular exercise. It's easier to get up and get moving when the weather is nice, but setting a routine of jogging on my treadmill and doing yoga has been really beneficial to me and will remain so as the weather turns colder.

• Setting aside time to do the things I love most, like gardening and cooking. I've been dabbling in hydroponic growing this summer, which has given me something to focus on that's not virus related. And yes, I'm one of those people -- I've been keeping a sourdough starter.

• Avoiding overloading myself on news and trying to do things that don't involve screens whenever possible (hence the sourdough and garden).

It seems like the pandemic is unending. I identify with those memes proclaiming the date is March the 144th. But this, too, shall pass. In the meantime, try to stay positive, stay safe and wear a mask.


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