Remaining calm and staying positive during this pandemic craziness is not easy.
I usually am a glass half full kind of person and try to look at the bright side of situations. Admittedly though, I have my fair share of anxiety when reading articles about the health care situation in Northern Italy and thoughts about what the virus could do in Africa are racing through my head preventing me from falling asleep.
“I strongly believe we get more of what we focus our attention on and looking for the positive in any situation helps keep anxiety in check.”
Here are my thoughts on how to stay positive:
1. We are truly embracing the digital lifestyle
A lot of organizations have set up their staff to work from home or are in the midst of doing so. Times like these make us appreciate the true value of the Internet and the IT teams that make it all happen, which is not a small task for many of them.
Whether it is working from home or e-learning for our kids, many of us have advanced to becoming fully digital in the shortest of time. Conferences have become virtual and traditional face to face meetings are done over the phone or zoom.
2. Increased awareness and security
Raising awareness on the importance of basic hygiene measures has resulted in a lot of people embracing the 20 seconds hand wash, social distancing and elbow shakes.
In the digital world, risks increase when people no longer connect via their company’s protected network but via their home WIFI’s instead or when connecting with their own devices. Cybercriminals have kicked off a phishing frenzy using corona themed attacks playing into people’s fears. Companies are aware of these threats and are investing more in security controls, such as VPN solutions, 2-factor authentication and raising their user's security awareness.
The word crisis in Japanese includes both the meaning “danger” and “opportunity”. I believe we humans are pretty good at finding opportunities when things turn bad. Creative solutions are definitely needed right now by both governments and businesses alike stopping the pandemic while dealing with the economic impact of the lockdowns.
4. More empathy
I feel that there is a heightened sense of empathy. People stick to the rules of social distancing to prevent a virus from spreading, not necessarily because they worry about themselves but out of care for the elderly and people who are more susceptible to it. The owner of a Cape Town restaurant told us yesterday in a very stoic manner that closing her restaurant right now is the right thing to do. She worried more about the impact this pandemic might have on HIV+ people in the township than her business's survival.
Often it’s the little things that make us happy and when these are taken away, we get to appreciate them more fully. Dinner with friends in a restaurant, hugs, sharing banter in the office. Bigger things too which we often take for granted: having a job, health. And the healthcare staff who care for people and thereby risking their own health.
Juggling working from home with young children and without the now very much appreciated support from domestic help means even South African men so used to just dropping the towel after their showers are helping cleaning the house. (At least mine is, and I appreciate him for that!)
Let’s practice empathy, wash our hands, stay safe online and remind ourselves, “this too shall pass” - hopefully soon.