Being positive in a negative situation is not naïve, it’s leadership
In my last segment I talked about goals and plans. This time I thought I would shift focus a bit, given all that is going on around us at this dismal time. I want to talk about how leaders can emerge from the strangest of situations, bringing a positive outlook to a situation that seems terribly bleak.
I hope you will find some small tips on how to cope and stay positive and sane through this period.
At this time, as the world is going through one of the more scary health crises in history, a lot of people are confined to their homes, not able to have their normal schedules, not having access to their workplaces, schools, shopping routines, etc. Inevitably, someone will step up as a leader and help others through this – by starting the conversation, by bringing the family together for a group brainstorm, or by setting a routine and then helping everyone stick to it. A good leader will also watch for signs of “wear and tear” – different people experience change and difficulties differently, some may feel anxious and sad, some may get lazy, while others may get fidgety. Almost definitely, a leader will rise to the occasion and help! Why not be a go-getter and start something for yourself and others?
While the world awaits some sign of good news on the situation, whether that is a drastic drop in number of cases, freedom to go out again, or even a cure, this is a good time to take a pause from worrying, and think about all the good things we’ve got going for us…. the blessings we’ve had and continue to have, the many wonderful people and things at home and work, our families and friends, the beauty in nature and indeed so many things all around us that are so, so positive.
As human beings, when crisis strikes, we tend to commiserate with each other, with friends, with family, in fact with anyone we meet, even the provision-seeking shopper at the grocery store, walking around glumly, shocked at the empty shelves. One can’t help hearing things like: “O my goodness, I can’t believe it”, or “How stupid and selfish people are”, or “What am I going to do – I can’t find any bananas”. We don’t usually dwell on the happier things in these times – there seems to be solidarity in misery, a kind of “wallowing”. It almost doesn’t seem appropriate to “celebrate” things.
A friend said to me yesterday that he had no idea what he and his family were going to do, sitting at home and waiting for the tide to roll back. He was worried his kids would be bored, his wife and he would start fighting with each other, his elderly parents would sink into depression. While I fully understood him, I found these sentiments so alarming that I felt compelled to write this post and offer some ideas on how a “go-getter” might deal with the situation!
My family is comprised of my husband, myself, a couple of our grown sons, and my elderly mother. We of course, are concerned especially for her, since she’s much more vulnerable to sickness than the rest of us. All of us are either working from home now, or studying from home, as all schools and universities are closed or having online classes. We normally have a very busy life with work, school, church activities and a good amount of volunteer work in the community, much of which has come to a grinding halt, mostly due to the restriction in physical interaction.
So here’s how we’ve begun dealing with it. With the onset of social distancing, last week we had a family meeting and talked about how we would support each other as we ride out this period. As it turns out, there are tons of things we can do to keep our own spirits up as well as those of the people we know and love.
Following our family brainstorm, here are some examples that we came up with, and that we’ve started doing ourselves:
There are some useful and interesting things we can do within the home:
- Dust off those board games that you used to play years ago when you had time; gather your family and friends around a table and play!
- Learn how to play difficult games like chess, bridge and sudoku
- Discover your creative side – spend some time on those hidden talents you’ve pushed to the side because you never had the time to pursue. Pick up that guitar or sitar or triangle, whatever you have at home
- Begin to write that article, publication or book that’s been on the back burner for ages
- Learn how to cook – it’s fun and creative, besides you’ll have an eager group of people waiting to taste and provide “quality control” – who knows, you may end up loving it
- Get in touch with the creative side of your brain – get a head start on holiday crafts, start making small hand-made gifts to give away at Christmas, birthdays or other celebrations – you’ll be glad you did come Christmas!
- Download some mandalas or colouring activities, grab some crayons and get colouring!
- Learn how to dance, or …….. just dance! Turn on some good music, whatever you fancy, and move to it, alone or with family members
- This is a wonderful opportunity to set aside some reading time – whatever you like. Whenever you read you are learning
- Begin early spring cleaning. That way, once you have to go back to your regular routine, you’ll be way ahead of the game, how great is that!
- It’s the perfect time to develop an exercise plan, then set aside at least an hour each day to work out
- Get some quality family time by going outdoors when it’s quiet, taking long refreshing walks and getting some Vitamin D
- Find a space in your home, perhaps the basement if you have one, or just move your furniture around, and play catch with your family members with a small ball or other thing to toss around without getting hurt or breaking things
- If you live in an area where this is feasible, try gardening – indoors or outdoors
- Remember that household or other project you kept putting off? Now is a great time to pick it up and plod through it. You’ll feel so pleased when it’s done and it’s time to go back into the office, school or other routine
- Give your car a good clean and spruce it up for when you do go out; wash your neighbour’s car too
- Many museums have virtual sites – take a virtual stroll through one of the world’s famous museums, and appreciate art, history and the like
- Binge-watch, but within reason – the last thing you want is to stay inactive for long periods – that’s counter-intuitive to keeping yourself healthy!
- If you’re a praying kind of family, take a few minutes to get together to count your blessings and pray for a quick end to the chaos, while also remembering all those who are afflicted by this and other ailments – this is so therapeutic, and you really feel you’re doing your part
There are also things we can do to help others:
- Make a list of all your older friends and family. Jot down in a calendar specific dates to call them to cheer them up, or just to stay in touch. Call or skype with them
- Send cheery and appreciative messages to people you know who are in the medical profession – these people are lifesavers and we all need them to stay strong!
- Make a point to phone your family and loved ones regularly – at this time it is easy to experience loneliness
- If you’re going to the store to pick up stuff, pick up extra things and leave them on the doorstep of your neighbour or someone you know who is housebound, with an uplifting note
- Pick up the phone and read a funny story to your nephews, nieces or friends’ kids who are probably bouncing off the walls and driving their parents crazy
- Cook a dish or a meal and drop it off at a friend’s, especially if they’re in isolation or not able to look after themselves, or if they are medical workers
- Make a charitable donation to a homeless shelter or other places where there are vulnerable people that have nobody to care for them
- Send out happy messages, greeting cards or online bouquets to cheer people up
- Above all, be kind to one another!!
- Once all this is all over, support your local small businesses by shopping there, getting your hair cut or eating out
It’s easy, when folks are confined in close quarters for long periods of time, to get on each others’ nerves. Be aware of this and try to support each other, not get irritated or upset. Instead, be patient, be kind, be supportive – we’re all in this together, let’s make it work!
At this time, change management is of the utmost importance! This is a time when we reach into our inner resources and think about how we might cope with this extraordinary change that has been placed upon us. And this is where leadership steps in!
Stay safe, everyone!
In my next post I’ll continue to bring in ideas that I hope will help! It’s going to be a long journey to eradication. In the meantime, let’s all play our part, be socially responsible and help each other through this.
Feel free to add your ideas to the post by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org Do you have aspiration towards leadership? Would you like to learn change management? Are these areas you’d like to explore? If so, reach out to me at email@example.com and get ready to explore the possibilities that are out there waiting for you!