COVID-19: Lessons from Home in Unprecedented Times
Wednesday Apr 29,2020 | Social Innovation
By Christy Davis
We live in unprecedented times. In fact, this is the first time any of us this generation have experienced a global pandemic. As such, we find ourselves in a state of anxiousness due to the uncertainties that lie ahead. We try to be “normal” when the ground is shifting under our feet and we don’t know what our world will look like when it stills and settles.
The good news is that the World Health Organization has said that this is the first pandemic that can be controlled, which gives us hope. In the Lien Centre for Social Innovation’s April Newsletter, I wrote about not letting this growing disquiet inside us take over our lives, and how some people within the community have stepped up to take action on the things they care about. Here, I’d like to use my personal experience to share some ideas for simple steps that can help us navigate through this trying season.
Take little steps
As human beings, we are creatures of habit in one way or another. I’ve always taken much joy in working from an office space, so being asked to work from home felt like I’d been thrown a curveball overnight. I miss the discipline of getting up and walking through the door of SMU’s Administration Building, where Kaur, Chandee and Yvonne smile and greet me with a cheery “good morning!”. I also miss watercooler conversations with colleagues and riding the lift down from my office to head home after a productive day. At first, working from home felt chaotic, but now into my fourth week, I’ve established a routine.
In my “new normal,” I make sure to combine old habits, like making my bed every morning, with some new habits. It doesn’t have to be rigid, either. I continue to initiate new routines and adjust my stride of old steps with new ones. For example, I now make time for consistent daily workouts—something which was too often an aspiration but not reality. I also make it a point to write in my notebook three things I’m grateful for at the end of each day. These little things may seem frivolous on the surface, but actually make a big difference to my personal well-being.
Reconnect with people
Ironically, this season presents a great opportunity for us to reconnect with people, thanks to the Internet. I wish we weren’t using the term “social distancing”. “Physical distancing” is so much more appropriate, as there has never been a more critical time to be socially close. By staying home, we save time that is otherwise spent commuting. So why not use this time to get online and just have a chat with a friend? Or, there is always the joy of an actual phone call. My friend Betty, who lives in Sydney, rang me out of the blue the other day, just to check in and say hi. It made my day!
Technology has made it so easy for us to constantly be fed with information, but even if we spend all day reading news about the coronavirus, we’d probably not be able to finish it all.
Writer and professor Julia Hobsbawm calls this “infobesity”, describing the overcrowded world of information that keeps us chained to our devices. I choose not to binge on information but to remain in the know by grabbing only the essential information through reliable sources. Then, I make time to read other inspiring and uplifting stories. For me, this includes stories of social innovation—how individuals, companies, governments, social sector organisations and NGOs are hatching up creative solutions that ease the discomfort of this time on others. With less time spent bingeing on the news, I also have more time to enjoy the pleasures of reading the books from my bookshelf.
If you can, take some time to read stories from our flagship content platform Social Space. We’ve also started a youth-led #GetWideAwake movement to inspire young people in this trying season. Feel free to share your ideas, photos, videos and stories. The message is simple: with more social consciousness—the ability to be aware of the problems in our community—the courage of individual action will spur a collective positive difference in the lives of people.
All images via rawpixel.
Christy Davis is the Executive Director of the Lien Centre for Social Innovation.