We are all learning to transition to life during a global pandemic. There are no guidelines, although there seems to be an overwhelming amount of information written daily guiding our behaviors, explaining our feelings and analyzing our emotions. We are learning to create an online presence as we actively engage in the process. There wasn’t time to prepare for best practices and modifications, nor was there an opportunity to shift our mindset to a new way of working, doing and being. Every aspect of our lives has collided into one space and we haven’t properly reflected on how best to navigate it. There is a psychological difference between working from home and working from home during a pandemic. Nonetheless, we are expected to forge on and embrace these complex times and current circumstances.
COVID-19 is an unpredictable life experience. It’s strenuous, but there are opportunities to set some intentions and habits that can help us reframe our new “normal.” To allow yourself to properly transition to so many overlapping expectations and to find balance, I encourage you to give pause and attention to what can help maximize your energy and spirit.
Below are five suggestions to help you thrive during times of transition:
1. Acknowledge the end of something and the beginning of something else. While barriers such as space, time and a typical 9-5 identity are temporarily indistinct and hazy, we need to recognize a new way of existing at work and home to fully engage in prioritizing, managing time and setting boundaries.
2. Allow yourself proper time to process the atypical situation. Grieve the loss of what we knew as the status quo, and slowly move on by giving thanks for that which matters (health, family, and any other identified positives).
3. Seek support. Rely on your network and community for encouragement and social interaction. Subscribe to teaching and learning websites and magazines for professional development.
4. Give support. Offer your experience and useful tips and techniques that you find helpful and effective to others. Allow students to feel empowered in their learning process by offering them options and, allowing their voice in decision-making, and allowing them time.
5. Establish rituals and routines in your daily practice. Improve yourself physically, emotionally and mentally. To add value to your work and others, you must care for yourself first. Be sure to get enough sleep, exercise, nutrition, and time with friends and family. While virtual connections can feel sterile, social relationships remain crucial to our wellbeing.
6. Express yourself creatively. Creative resilience can help re-frame your perspective, develop optimism, and improvise in times of hardship. These are all attributes of resilience. Change can be very painful, but it can also be a source of growth and even transformation.
While we all respond to and survive change differently, we all require resources to provide us guidance and support. Allow yourself grace and time 1) as you transition to a virtual version of life as you know it; 2) as you learn to mindfully engage with others while minimizing distractions; 3) as you minimize competing responsibilities. Know that eventually, you will thrive.