On March 15, my workplace closed its doors and all employees were thrusted into a new reality of remote work (i.e. work from home). In one weekend, employees found themselves at their computers in back to back sessions learning new programmes (Skype For Business, Zoom, Microsoft Teams), signing remote work protocols, updating information and documents online and trying to understand the Covid 19 pandemic and its impact globally.
The first two weeks were nerve wracking as I had to build and improve my skillsets for delivering information to my customers (my students) and find ways to interact with work colleagues, my family and my friends who were in a similar environment. There was not a lot of time to think; it was more a time to act and stay focused. You were being bombarded with new rules of staying at home, staying safe, curfew times, 24 hour lockdown, borders closed, Covid 19 tests - positive and negative results, press briefings, rush for toilet paper and paper towel, shortage of sanitizers and the wearing of masks. If I had that moment to think, I might have just screamed BUT instead, I made space at home for an home office, subscribed to CIG TV for notifications of the government press briefings, signed up for weekly webinars to get additional information on how to deal with this crisis as a worker, a manager and a parent and got my supply of essential items (yes I too got the toilet paper and paper towel!). I also discussed with my family new house rules of staying safe – if you go out, wear a mask, wash your hands, change your clothes, and take a bath, and so much more. For a moment in my house, it was the twilight zone intermixed with the Wizard of Oz – strange and mysterious!
However, two months later I think we have all gotten use to this new normal. Wearing masks, abiding to curfew rules, going out on the road according to your surnames and interacting via zoom have become the norm of the day and our exciting reality. I say exciting because for me this has been a period of discovery, self-reflection, creativity and learning new things: my own renaissance. So, here are 5 things I have I learned during this crisis:
Humans are self-reliant. We are not easily broken, out of crisis comes innovation and new possibilities. Just take a look at the scientists working on vaccines, developing ventilators, individuals and cottage industries making masks, persons displaying their creativity by developing jingles, public service announcements, etcetera, and communities banging on pots and pans to celebrate our essential workers.
Out of crisis and challenges comes determination, strength, and grit. Our frontline workers are facing the crisis head on. Persons are working from home, caring for their children, staying safe and working with each other to make this situation more manageable.
Support is available and it is okay to grieve. On the flip side of this crisis are persons who are not coping mentally or emotionally. Persons have lost their jobs; some are facing eviction because they cannot pay their bills and sadly some of us have lost loved ones. Like some of you, this crisis has touched me personally with the loss of loved ones and knowing persons who are having financial difficulties. It is in these times, that I see persons/organizations who have much or little, stepping forward and providing support, whether financially or otherwise. Our own Lions’ organization is one example of altruistic service, providing meals, rental assistance and volunteering as needed. Charitable organizations, government agencies have been established to support those impacted by Covid 19. Persons are directed to mental health, domestic abuse, and suicide hotlines, grief counselling, parenting virtual sessions are available and many have been given financial assistance and support.
Reflection is important. In our quiet times, it is important to take time to reflect and create deeper relationship with yourself and others around us. Being with family and friends has now taken on a new meaning because their value have become more significant especially when you realize that this virus respects no one. Here today, gone tomorrow. You may have found that when you NOW connect (via zoom, WhatsApp, or other social media platforms), you actually listen, you actually care!
5. It is okay to be happy and have fun! Smile more, attend those zoom parties, the virtual happy hours, go for that walk during the time allotted especially after eating the comfort foods, and enjoy being alive! Be assured that this too will past.
So, what have you learned? What are your experiences? How will you face post Covid 19? Will you be stronger, more resilient, innovative, reflective or will you be let this crisis overwhelm you and shape your life experiences?
Join me in starting a list in this my Covid 19 Chronicles.
Written by: Lion Dr. Belinda Blessitt Vincent
May 22, 2020