South Africa – actually the whole world – is in a time of crisis. Our grandparents may have experienced the 1918 flu pandemic and two world wars… but Covid-19 is like nothing we’ve ever seen in our lifetime, and hopefully never will again!
But crisis can be a time of opportunity.
What? OK – we get that you’re not feeling it right now, and binging Netflix and eating everything in the fridge probably seems like the best course of action. It’s OK to not feel OK, for a bit. Then you need to get up and change your mindset so that you are able to emerge from these trying times stronger and with new coping skills.
People who go through periods of crisis are usually more resilient and confident in their abilities to cope with challenges. Being stuck at home with nowhere to go is also a forced pause, where you have the opportunity to work on your skills and knowledge away from the hustle of normal life.
Challenge vs threat
How do you view a crisis like the one we’re currently experiencing? Is it something that you have faith that you can overcome, is it an opportunity to grow your skills… or is it something that fills you with fear and uncertainty?
It’s completely natural if your initial reaction is fear. However, you can change your mindset and use these uncertain times as an opportunity for growth.
Change your mindset and survive lockdown
Mindset is everything when it comes to the current crisis. There’s not much you can change, but you can change your attitude. Right now, changing your attitude may not feel very empowering, but you can be assured that any coping skills you learn now will be very valuable in the future!
1. Assess your skills and resources
Have an objective look at your skills, knowledge and resources. Ask someone for their ideas and input if you’re stuck in negativity and can’t find any silver linings. You’re probably much better equipped than you think.
If you find yourself lacking, don’t despair – forced downtime means that you have an opportunity to upskill and gain new knowledge. This could be anything from completing some short online courses in social media to learning how to use important programmes and apps relevant to your career, or even learning a new skill like cooking or baking.
2. Dig deep for some gratitude
OK, things aren’t great, but could they be worse? Take a good look at your skills and resources; it’s likely that you will see that you actually have a lot going for you compared to other people who are worse off.
If you have a safe place to quarantine, access to food and sanitation, and friends and family to reach out to… then you should find gratitude in that. Gratitude is something that can really change your mindset, put your problems into perspective, and give you hope for the future.
3. Accept what you can and can’t control
You can’t control the regulations imposed on you, you can’t control the pandemic, you can’t control the fact that your studies are either postponed or held online for the foreseeable future.
But you CAN control your own actions, attitudes and choices. For example, if you’re having a bad day, think about what you could do to help someone who is have a day even worse than yours? Or you could reach out to a friend or family member. Or you could just show up to the day regardless, and try your best to turn negative into positive.
Face it till you make it – you’ll soon see that there are many opportunities for you, despite living in a time of crisis.