If you are anything like me, I paid very little if any attention to the world news around the Coronavirus back in December coming out of China…like zero…I was oblivious, ignorant even; preparing for Christmas and New Years wondering how 2020 was going to unfold, I was planning, preparing and dreaming…
Fast forward to now…April 2020 and like so many I find myself working from home, home-schooling and having conversations with all types of humans sounding like “What on earth is actually happening?”
This global crisis is unprecedented, there is no roadmap for the how or what and yet seemingly on an hourly basis organisations, leaders, and humans across the globe are being required to respond and navigate decisions and choices all having huge affect and effect on professional and personal lives.
If you are a non essential services employee chances are in the past two weeks you have found yourself clearing out the spare room, kids toy room, the corner area of the lounge room anywhere that might host the newly assembled Ikea/Kmart office desk ready for your new “office”! Or maybe you have simply had to clean your actual study to make it ready for what it was actually built for…
Finding a new routine will take some trials and errors, what works for some might not work for you? First and foremost it is important to stick to a routine, and possibly the same one you had for when you were actually “going” to work. The morning routine and discipline is crucial for setting the tone for the rest of the day. What used to be the “kitchen chats” might now involve a walk around your neighbourhood, a zoom or phone conversation with a colleague or friend…connection is critical.
In my role as a counsellor there has been a definite trend/ response to our new “normal” and they are affectionately known in my world as the 3P’s:
Anxiety, overwhelm, grief, depression, sadness, loss, and fear are just a few emotions that describe the general consensus of how most of us are feeling currently. We are being inundated with often conflicting and constantly information, opinions, and facts of the practical health risks coupled with what behaviours need to be adapted. In addition the snowball effect of people’s livelihood and employment being robbed, reduced and at the very least rattled causing an experience of acute stress and anxiety.
We need to limit the amount of external information being digested through the media; be informed, but don’t be obsessed with the latest COVID-19 statistics, and stories of economic disaster.
Create a habit of 1,2 maybe even 3 times a day giving yourself permission to learn, see and hear what is happening in the world, but then turn your attention back to your work, family, and personal situation. Be present in your own world, longer and more frequent than the one you have absolutely no control over.
For most of us we have experienced the sudden and unwelcomed reality of everything being put on pause waiting for the day when all of this changes and goes back to “normal”. In some situations there may be an element of relief, but for the majority there is an overwhelming sense of being out of control, a concept avoided at all cost in the everyday. As our world is continuing to be dictated to by COVID-19, it is important to press pause on some of the additional pressures like the “hustle” to be proactive, productive and purposefully planning for the future. Sure, all of those things are still important however right now in the “eye of the storm” we need to make room and take a moment to regroup from this trauma and crisis. We cannot operate at the new “normal” if we don’t give ourselves licence to grieve the life we had. Pressing pause is not stopping, it is just taking a moment to recalibrate and redirect kindly and gently.
I am just going to call it …. 2020 is going to be the year of PIVOTING! This pandemic is teaching us globally about adapting, changing, growing, learning, manoeuvring and embracing the “what is”. None of this is easy, it’s terrifying and challenging, but the sooner we adapt the greater our resilience is going to be. Pivoting is not about ignoring, suppressing or using language like “it is what it is” – it is quite the opposite, it is about acknowledging the PANIC; pressing PAUSE and giving yourself permission to PIVOT into new ways, habits, behaviours, and mindsets that will ensure your mental, emotional and physical health are safe and secure.