Five tips for keeping perspective during the coronavirus situation
I have not written a post for a while and don’t usually share my personal views too widely. But, I wanted to just share a few reflections and tips for managing yourself during the coronavirus situation.
It’s a disturbing time for many people right now.
Like most people, this is the most disruptive and concerning situation I have witnessed in my lifetime. I fully understand that many people are being affected in unimaginable ways, which have come out of the blue, thick and fast.
Human nature is to react to things in different ways. And of course, there is no right or wrong way to deal with such a situation.
You certainly should not be judged for the feelings, emotions and reactions you have. Equally, you should not feel compelled to conform and follow something just because you are told to. You are your own person. It is OK to be different.
Everyone is entitled to their own views and opinions and these should be respected.
I’ve have personally found the following five things are helping me to keep some perspective. I don’t expect everyone to share my views. However, I thought it may be helpful if I share my thoughts with you. My hope is that it will help you or inspire you in some way.
1) Let go of the things you do not have control of
When you focus on what you cannot control, you experience fear, anxiety, overwhelm, confusion, worry etc. This leads to negative emotions taking over.
To avoid this, try not to go with the frenzy. Don’t be easily dragged into the news or the barrage of social media posts. Where possible, I try to check news and social media once or twice per day. And often when I do check, I find it can be easy to get sucked into the negativity.
Because I am conscious of this fact, it immediately reminds me how important it is for my own mental health to limit my exposure to media.
While staying informed is vital, there should be a balance that helps you gain a sense of stability and remain grounded.
2) Focus on the things you can control
Some things can be controlled and kept in check. Some examples are:
- Keeping a positive attitude
- Letting go of the fears
- Spending time with family
- Virtually connecting with friends or colleagues
- Focusing on personal development and self-reflection.
One of my top tips for managing yourself during coronavirus is to focus on the aspects that you have control over. By doing so, you will add value to your life.
You will also help those who matter most to you through their challenges too.
Be grateful and reflect on the positive things that you have.
It truly pains me when I hear people complaining about not being able to get their hair done or that the supermarkets are bare.
That is not to say that there aren’t members of our community who are facing challenges due to lack of supplies in supermarkets. For example, the elderly, vulnerable and those with young children.
However, I often think about the many people in far worse situations across the world. Many people don’t have a home to self-isolate in or have anti-bacterial hand wash. Many of these people have not and never will be in a position to walk into a supermarket and fill up their trolley with goodies. They do not have a Government to support them through life’s challenging situations.
I often think back to my visit to Wajir in Northern Kenya. The people here face difficulty every day of their lives, struggling with extremely poor living conditions.
Another example is Syria, which has been in conflict for 9 years now. People have been forced out of the homes and lost everything.
There are many other regions of the world that have been ripped apart by war or political instability.
Suddenly, a few weeks of lock down and limited supply of toilet paper doesn’t seem the end of the world!
4) Working from home
For those who are lucky enough to be able to work from home, it can feel very isolating at times.
Personally, I have become very accustomed to working from home, having previously worked ‘virtually’ a fair bit over the past few years. I am also naturally more than happy to be in my own company.
During this time, I am fortunate to have the company of my wife and son with me. However, I remember when I first started working from home on a regular basis, it took a lot of adjustment. I had to force myself to get away from the desk sometimes and take regular breaks!
I’ve therefore included this in my tips for managing yourself during coronavirus.
Many people will feel differently about working from home on a regular basis. They may be more used to the social aspect of the workplace or find that physically being out of their house makes them more productive.
I completely understand those who feel isolated. You should not overlook how important it is to help your colleagues who may be struggling – possibly in silence.
Create opportunities to keep connected through video meetings, virtual coffee breaks and fun team activities or games.
It is also important to set a schedule with defined times to start, finish and take breaks. This is something I try hard to do but still struggle with at times, due to the nature of my work.
Taking time for a walk or some exercise can be beneficial too. I prefer a walk in the morning and at midday, as it helps to get fresh air, clear my head and incorporate some movement at the same time.
5) Look at the bigger picture – it’s not all about coronavirus
I know it is hard to look beyond the immediate issue when the media is so saturated with COVID-19. But the fifth of my top tips for managing yourself during coronavirus is to look at the bigger picture.
It is obviously important to remain informed but try not to get too distracted. There are still many other things going on across the world.
The recession is not the only fall out we will see (although, that would have happened anyway at some point, Coronavirus has just forced it).
It is extremely likely that there will be things that come as a result of this ‘pandemic’ which you may or may not welcome (depending on your views).
For example, there are already reports of:
- Enhanced global phone tracking
- AI screening and facial recognition
- Bio chips
- Creating a cashless society
- Compulsory vaccines
No doubt, as the situation continues, it will pave way for more enhanced surveillance and monitoring techniques. Ultimately, this is going lead to less and less privacy.
Many of the things mentioned above have already been stepped up China.
Is technology good or bad: it’s an interesting dilemma
Personally, I have mixed feelings on this topic and understandably, it can be highly emotive for many people.
Having built my career in technology, I am generally an advocate. There is no doubt that technology can be highly beneficial to many areas of our lives. But equally, being a private person, I have increasing concerns over how it is being used.
I firmly believe that technology must be used responsibly and in an ethical way. In my view, it should always be used transparently and people should have choice about how privately they wish to live their lives.
Once this choice is removed, we enter dangerous territory. Potentially unethical territory, in my opinion. Just because something can be done, doesn’t mean it should be done.
I am writing more about the benefits and impact of technology for the workplace (which is somewhat synonymous with lifestyle technology) in my upcoming book. Despite many delays along the way, I am now finalising the last chapter!
So, having expressed my own thoughts, I appreciate that everyone’s circumstances are different. As such, my tips for managing yourself during the coronavirus will not resonate with everyone. However, I hope for some, it will provide food for thought.
I would love to hear your views and invite you to leave comments or questions below.
In the meantime, be calm and be safe.