Saturday, March 28, 2020

Staying Calm During a Crisis

               Response to the COVID19 Pandemic by citizens has been mixed.  There have been people on both ends of the spectrum from those who don't believe it's happening to those whose lives are affected by it, and everywhere in between.  I have not experienced anything like this in my lifetime and I think it is safe to say that there is not one right way to respond emotionally.  There are mature ways and more admirable responses, and while none of these are expected from anyone they are highly appreciated.
               This situation has placed unusual strain in leaders, organizations, and ordinary citizens.  While you yourself might not be affected, or perhaps emotionally you are not in the same place as somebody else, it is important to be respectful of others as you would be to anyone experiencing a difficulty.  More importantly, it is vital that you honor your own feelings and concerns, not  by giving in to them and behaving in reaction to how you are feeling, but by asking imperative questions about your own response to help you work through the turmoil.              
              By now you have probably observed more than one crisis in your environment.  You might have had one of your own or you were close to someone who was in the process of overcoming one.  You have come to learn that not every crisis affects you and that you won't be at the center of every crisis.  Hopefully you have also learned that during a crisis the goal is to help overcome the event.  There will be situations where you can do a lot to help with your skills and resources, and there will be times when you will need to be on the sidelines.  Sometimes the best thing thing that you can do will be to provide support for those who are experiencing hardships even if it is only emotional support.  Other times the best thing you can do is steer clear of the situation and allow it to play itself out, especially when it doesn't affect you.  In this current situation dealing with COVID19 something is required of each of us.  We are, after all, in this together. 
              The people in the fields that are hardest hit by this situation are doing an amazing job.  Just showing up to work in the medical field and as a first responder in the middle of a pandemic is noteworthy.  I am applauding their work and including them in my prayers.  Our leaders are also showing us that we can trust them to put aside their differences and get things done in an emergency.  Many organizations are doing right by their employees and setting aside their bottom line in service of a greater good.  Hats off to them for staying on their feet on such shaky ground.  The citizens who are doing their best to comply with the restrictions of social distancing and quarantine also deserve gratitude.  This is a difficult time but our great nations have not been built by, and are not inhabited by, people who cannot overcome difficulties.
              I am closing this entry with some tips that can help you stay calm during this crisis.  They can also help you figure out if there is something you can do to help, and they can give you some peace of mind if you can't do very much.  The current crisis tugs at our tendency to take action.  We want to do something to help.  It is not easy to sit on the sidelines with something small much less with something of this magnitude, so it is important to recognize that doing whatever we can do is enough.

  1. If you don't know what is helpful in this situation or what you can do to help take time to process the situation. 
  2.  Steer away from overwhelmed feelings by asking yourself questions that are relevant to the situation.
  3. Ask yourself what you can do from your viewpoint without overextending yourself.  Overextending yourself will only leave you depleted and unable to function at your best should a crisis occur that is centered around you or your field.
  4. It is important to do what's best not what stands out, or what others are doing.  
  5. Trust others to do their job while you do yours.

Sandra Aguillon
Odysseys, LLC
Managing Director