It’s true the pandemic is a crisis moment and it takes an unwanted toll on people’s health and lives. It’s also true that we don’t really learn until it concerns us, each of us individually, when it comes close to your home. Learning from the experience of others is still a limited practice.
Also I’m lucky to work for a global ICT company, a good hearted one, where people are still first and where you give back to the society, so we all grow and thrive. This allowed me to keep working while in self-isolation and be in contact with my family, friends, colleagues, customers and partners. Remote working was familiar to me in my geographically extended role, but there is a difference between opting for it and being coerced to it.

Reflecting back on the 3-4 weeks passed into an escalating crisis here are my take-aways:

Pandemic is a crisis and follows the same phases: Disbelief & Denial, Panic & Becoming obsessive, Disinterest in previous activities, Emotional numbness, Anger, moodiness, and irritability, Grief, Crying etc. Clearly the more you know about the crisis the better you can prepare, that’s why is so vital to educate the citizens on what it is, how to protect against and how to get help if impacted. A continuous confident communication with the citizens is requirement from any government and public authority. Panic will never help, will worsen the situation from drop of the immune system to compulsive shopping that will paralyze the supply chain and penalize those in real need.

Maslow pyramid kicks in:

  • Physiological: stay healthy and functional. Keep being active and working so we can have the means to address your needs.
  • Safety: Stay safe, away from the dangers, understand the dangers and the safety mechanisms and tools. Listen to the authorities.
  • Love/Belonging:Make sure you’re family and dear is safe and sound and keep your family live as active as you can. Don’t be egoistic, secure time with others even though in isolation, remotely.
  • Esteem:Think of others outside of your close group. Think of the doctors that are in front line of danger, think of the people infected or quarantined, think of the workers that keep the economy going sometimes at high personal risk. Contribute, help, overcome egoism.
  • Self- actualization:Don’t give up on your hobbies, on the activities that fulfill you. Keep learning and educating yourself. Search solutions to help yourself, others, to make the best of the existing situation or safely change it. Take the opportunity to become a better self.

I’ve went via these phases and what help me was:

  • Making sure my family is ok and that we can be in daily video contact: grocery refill chain defined 😊, video conf calls, which meant new subscription, smartphone for my mom and training her on the use of WhatsApp 😊
  • Staying active, continue to work remotely: keeps mind off negative things, be able to help customers continue their activity while switching to digital, helping emergency teams act faster and safer. Balance the longer hours while in crisis response mode, ICT being a key answer to keeping the economy and society up and running with decompression time. Manage stress and stay sane.
  • Keeping my gym routine: lucky again to have a good, fun, smart gym colleagues and trainers. We took the fun and fit online, and we even expanded our time to also connect after the training hour
  • Catchup on reading, trainings, cooking again after years, my favorite series, National Geographic documentaries, going to Egypt
  • Thinking of the society we had and the society we become. Asking myself questions:
    • Do I need all that I thought I need? (consumerism),
    • What’s important to me, that I will never let go? (family& friends, work, gym/staying active),
    • What I miss most? (Hugging people, nature and travelling. I need a garden badly)
    • How to not give in into extremisms of any kind ? (racism, conspiracy theories, Mysophobia etc.)
    • Could we design a greener society? (apparently we can be greener if we cut done on the consumption and mobility options)
    • Will we go on with the globalization or will we see resurgence of aggressive nationalism? (while in isolation you’re safe, hence closing borders or grow immunity by learning from others, finding solutions together)
    • What the role of technology will be moving further? (clearly it was a key solution in these times, but should not be the only one, counselling and human interaction are needed)
    • How to ultimately stay sane? (confinement is not easy, but creativity and curiosity helps)

And as a conclusion and to feed on the amazing medicine that humor is: What the role of women is in this period? I believe this video showcase it well.

Wishing you all to stay healthy, safe and joyful!