Finding Resilience Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

by Kenny Daugherty, Director of Safety & Environment
February 8, 2021

While some have settled into new routines, many of us are still asking, what happened to the familiar world we were living in a short time ago? A world where we could safely go to work, school, places of worship, concerts, restaurants, the zoo, retail stores and many of our favorite destinations. Even healthcare facilities were considered somewhat safe. Seemingly out of nowhere, #COVID19 has plagued our society and dramatically changed how we live, work and interact with one another. We are all doing things that we are not used doing, both at home and in the way we work.

Terms such as “teleworking,” “virtual call,” and “social distancing” have become part of everyday conversation. Video chatting with coworkers, friends and family has become the new norm – no longer are we able to connect and engage with people in person. Many of us did not know what personal protective equipment (PPE) was in February. Now, it is highly recommended that we wear some form of it (gloves, masks) when we simply go to the grocery store.

Experts claim that it will not be the same for some time, if ever. So, how do we get through to the other side? I believe that resilience, whether it is simple or complex, is key to getting there.

I recently re-read an article by Steven Snyder in Harvard Business Review from 2013 that holds tremendous relevance now. He said, “despite the overwhelming consensus and supporting evidence that resilience is vital for success in today’s business environment, the truth remains: resilience is hard. It requires the courage to confront painful realities, the faith that there will be a solution when one isn’t immediately evident, and the tenacity to carry on, despite a nagging gut feeling that the situation is hopeless.”

We are all being challenged, faced with adapting to a new normal that is impacting our physical and mental health in ways that we are still trying to understand. As you confront your own stage of resilience, here are a few actionable ideas to help you through this trying time:

  1. Develop and Maintain a Routine: Strike a balance between being productive and finding time for leisure. Be structured but also be flexible. Routines can help improve your mental health and help relieve some anxiety. For some, this may be as simple as setting your morning alarm for the same time daily. Remember to make self-care a priority.
  2. Stay Physically Active: Go for a walk (indoors or out), run, bike ride or do yoga – many studios are offering online classes through apps so you can practice when you want and where you want. Build an obstacle course (indoors or out). You can even clean your house. The key is to stay active.
  3. Find a New Skill or Hobby: Play board games with your family or host a virtual game night with friends (BATTLESHIP is a fun virtual option). Set up a portable ping pong net at any household table. Be creative.
  4. Remain Connected: Call up a friend or family member that you haven’t talked to in some time. Feeling isolated is a natural emotional response; thankfully modern technology allows us to have a “virtual happy hour” with our friends and colleagues. And when you are connecting with others, consider identifying a topic to discuss, whether it be sharing a new way you did business this week to offering a high and low of the week, allowing everybody on the call to both share and listen.

So, what will the “New Normal” look like? No one really knows. How do we endure? It might not feel like it in the moment, but I believe we can become better as individuals and as organizations from this extraordinary experience.

What have we learned?

  1. We can come together even when we are apart.
  2. We can all be leaders in some way - leading by example and following the recommended guidance that can keep us all safe.
  3. We’re all in this together. It’s important to regularly check in on one another - our children, friends, neighbors and co-workers. Remember, this situation has not been easy on anyone.
  4. History repeats itself. While this is unknown territory for many, generations before us have endured unexpected circumstances and have found their way to the other side.

Ultimately there is potential for us to emerge as a stronger society. One that does not take for granted the ability to see a friend or a family member in person, and one that remembers the importance of true human connectedness.