A time of uncertainty and change.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece on the impact of the news on our psyche – see “The Future is Human – Using PP in times of trauma”.
The article was regarding the news about the bushfires in Australia, yet here we are in the grip of another ‘devastating’, ‘dramatic’, ‘horrific’ news cycle. The COVID-19 pandemic is creating challenging times for individuals, communities and businesses globally. It is causing illness, and in some cases, death across the world. It is real. At the same time, the way we approach the situation seems to be driving even greater drama than is necessary.
Countries are working to ‘flatten the curve’, knowing that the COVID-19 virus will spread. That is inevitable. Yet if we are sensible, we can find a way to handle it in a way that doesn’t overload the health services; in a way that supports kindness and care for each other (and not toilet roll wars); in a way that allows our global economies to survive and thrive again.
What is the impact of negative stress?
One of the sure-fire ways to compromise your immune system is to experience strong negative emotions. We know that in times of threat, our body floods with adrenaline and cortisol. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone, and it is designed to draw energy away from your digestion and immune system. What does this mean? It means you may be more likely to eat things that are not good for your wellbeing; drink more alcohol to numb emotions you are experiencing; stay in and not exercise. It may also mean that when the virus does come knocking, you are potentially more susceptible.
I am not saying don’t be concerned.
Of course, we are concerned… for our health, our loved ones, our jobs, our finances, our communities, our ability to work, travel and do what we love. Yet, let’s consider what we can do to come out of this stronger.
How can we leverage this time to ensure we continue to build our relationships, our businesses and economies; to still look after the wellbeing of our team members; to promote connection and contribution even with a distributed workforce?
Look after yourself during this time.
Do what has been suggested (by the real experts) and wash your hands properly and frequently, be more cautious about where you go and how you connect, curtail your travel and if you need to self-isolate, do it! Take care of the vulnerable people in your lives.
- Watch your mindset – the more you stress about it, the worse it could be when you come into contact with the virus, and more importantly, the worse time you will have along the way.
- Careful where you get your news – if the media is causing you anxiety, stop watching!! Keep abreast of the situation via reputable sources that you can look at periodically to keep updated. The global situation is challenging, yet if you are feeling the effects of consuming too much negativity, become a conscious consumer and choose your sources wisely.
- Watch your health – continue to exercise (in the fresh air where possible), eat healthily, drink lots of water, and look after your microbiome so that it can look after you. Look after your wellbeing. Put strategies in place every day that keep you in a better mental, emotional and physical space.
- Continue to connect – with many people working from home and self-isolating, there is the risk of disconnection. Find a way to reach out to people – even just singing out of your windows like in Italy (see here). Find ways to create a human connection: send videos to those you love, message each other, make calls daily to hear a human voice, use technology at work, and turn on your video!!! It doesn’t matter if you have make-up on, or are still in your jammies with your cat on your lap – the human connection and vulnerability are worth it!
- Generate kindness and compassion – it may sound trite, yet consider we are all in this together, all around the world. Our situation is not about one group against another: this is every one of us. How can we show kindness and compassion, support each other and ensure that everyone gets through this stronger?
- Keep sane – hoarding toilet roll is not necessary. Even if the worst happens and your supermarket is out of toilet paper, there are so many other alternatives. If we generate compassion and kindness, maybe your neighbour will lend you their newspaper!
And from a business perspective…
…continue to do what you do best to the best of your ability. Do not allow this to shut everything down. Continue to support your team members, continue to invest your time in their wellbeing, and ask them for help to enable the business and community to flourish. If we all contribute and stay connected, we can come out of this better than ever and perhaps even more aware of what is essential.
Current challenges are creating new ways of working. They are also creating opportunities to develop skills to approach stressful and emotional changes and remain connected while physically isolated.
Langley Group offers a suite of webinars and virtual learning opportunities utilised by our global clients to improve workplace culture, wellbeing, and performance.
Our well-researched scientific content, practical activities and engaging learning experiences facilitated by a professional and experienced team are available at the time and place to suit your people. We use everything we know from neuroscience, emotional intelligence and positive psychology to generate powerful and practical learning.
Learn more here.