Now we are slowly leaving the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Now that we look back, we have been in the lockdown phase for 1.5 months. We are still at the middle of this war. This realization makes me believe more than ever, that when we face the biggest challenge, we have the greatest growth. We learn to accept so as to change ourselves to cope and get through this difficult stage. We continue to learn from our experiences.
- We can take this time to think. Really think. This is the moment given as we can really pause our work (well we have to anyways) and reflect. In order to think, we may need to stop what we are doing at the moment, as we often do things but do not get in touch with the real meanings of our doing. COVID-19 gives us the opportunity and space (whether we like it or not) to reflect on our current and past actions.
- Even we are now responding to the crisis, we often find ourselves and the external professionals underreacting to the changes. We are bombarded by the words – inadequacy, inefficiency, deficits, deaths, loss…This is the reality of the Covid-19 pandemic. The golden rule for us to deal with it is that we learn from experience. But not many of us would have experienced a pandemic like Covid-19. Asia has experienced SARS; Africa has embraced Ebola; the Middle East suffered from MERS. None of the disease has reached the wide extent as Covid-19. Covid-19 has hit the whole globe, especially covering all the ‘big countries’. The scale of impact this virus has casted on us is far more severe than we can imagine, and we are not even at the peak or the full extent of the attack (in Europe and North America). It is for sure that we cannot and are not able to accurately predict our future physically, emotionally/psychologically, socially, economically, politically and environmentally. This understanding tells us that we need to be more aware to the surrounding and new knowledge. Self-awareness helps us become more open, and our opened attitude builds our insight into what’s happening to us and the surrounding. Only with the enhanced insight we have more capacity to changing our usual thinking and behavior.
- Give some compassion and mercy to ourselves and the others. In the crisis point, if no one can truly be 100% prepared and ready for it, so why do we still put a blaming finger at each other? I have been hearing many complaints against the government for the under-reacting decisions and the forever-delayed responses. In fact no one is or can be perfect. We can live with or without negative feelings, but we certainly cannot live without hope. Our success comes from the own hard work and equally if not more through gaining support from one another. Then a more common thing which happens is we put the blaming finger at ourselves. We have been affected by this national and global lockdown. We are still adapting to a different lifestyle and routine – a much more restrictive physical and socializing space. This is a fact, and therefore it makes perfect sense that we make mistakes or fail to meet our expectations. Or at times we just want to stop working, or have a phase of ‘wanting to be lazy’. That’s ok. It is completely fine we are still in the process of figuring out what our work-life balance is in the changed environment. Give compassion to our mistakes and negativity. Let them happen. They will pass when we are ready to change again, perhaps even before we realize the change already happens.
‘We are isolated by space, but we are not isolated in heart.’
- Because we are all isolating, and are isolated from the real social world, we shall make more attempts to connect and listen to one another. We are isolated by space, but we are not isolated in heart. I continue to learn the different experiences from people from different backgrounds– colleagues in the NHS who provide mental health, frontline medical members who watch the patients die in front of them, carers of their families who are in the vulnerable/high-risk group, international students who remain at the bedroom-sized accommodation and cannot go home, friends and families back in Asia who worry for us who are under support in a different medical system and governmental procedural guidelines: the one they find ‘problematic’ as they are different from the ones they are used to. I learn about their suffering, struggles, but more love, devotion and solidarity. Hearing their stories make me realize we can all gain positivity and support when we are together.
- Being positive and sharing positivity is not us trying to sugarcoat the bad situation, rather highlight our need to have positivity for us to be able to MOVE ON from the current situation. Stand strong together. A picture speaks a thousand words – ‘There is always light at the end of the tunnel.’ When there is light, there is hope, and we will be fine.
- We celebrate the positives gathered at this crisis point, but also reflect on why they have not taken place in the usual times before. We have experienced many beautiful moments. There have been claps for the NHS staff and carers at 8 p.m. – a joyful injection for many NHS staff members who have long been feeling under-appreciated. Then for the first time, 14.3 billion of NHS debt was weighed off; in Italy, people were singing at the balconies to bring positivity and support for each other; in China, volunteers and medics traveled across provinces and remain at Wuhan for over two months to save more lives. Have we always appreciated the presence of our medical systems? How much are we, or are we aware at all of, or pay attention at such support and contribution for us? What do the professionals do and what are they risking or sacrificing themselves for as they fulfill their job roles? I have been reflecting these days how I give support both at work and in my personal life. Have I done enough? Within my capacity, what can I do more to spread positivity? (And this blog is a product of my thoughts)
- This lesson has taught us the importance of trust. We shall not stay alone to face our own challenges, especially that such challenges are shared with the others in the whole world. To reflect on the meanings of trust, we have to go back to our ‘real-selves’ in the daily life. How do we trust the others? Who do we trust or not? If so why (not)? Is there anything we could change ourselves to establish a genuine connection? The truth about trust is that trust is not a miraculous phenomenon which always happens at the crisis point. It requires a daily effort on building and molding trust and is only maintained through reciprocation. The thing is we may not see the necessity of trust during our usual times. We can pretty much stay alone, do our own things, or we simply do nothing and we feel fine. But then the true value of trust comes into play when a real challenge or a crisis happens. If we don’t get equipped with sufficient water or at least equipment like fire extinguisher, how can we put out a fire? And that is the reason we have to regularly build trust with the others, even when it does not seem important at the time. Send a text, ask ‘how are you?’, share a smile, etc. Trust building takes place not just when we are happy and comfortable, but also (or even more importantly) when we have to break our own comfort zones before we acknowledge our vulnerabilities and stubborn points which prevent us from reaching to the others. Trust is a growing process when we continue to work on our personalities and interpersonal relationships.
Our change already happens the moment when we learn to accept the ‘reality’ of the reality. Flowing water can move rocks, as long as it keeps on flowing. Gradually it wears down the round shapes. It fills small cracks of the rocks until a day it splits apart the rocks. What is our way to move on from the crisis? Many measures are taking in place – financial aid, manpower, emergency aids, etc. However, from the psychological perspective, there is no quick fix solution to our emotional or psychological wellbeing. The long-term impact of our emotional and psychological health will gradually emerge as we continue to go through this difficult time. The solution to our challenge is not that we find a cure or an answer, but how we get equipped with resilience and the right mindset.
We do learn and grow from our experiences. This is not just a hopeful thought. It is the necessary journey we all go through.
Here let us send each other a bit of positivity, and a bit of care – ‘Hey how are you?’