This is day 11 of full confinement and France is in complete lockdown. So are many other countries. The impact of this pandemic will go much beyond the obvious, have countless repercussions, many of which we cannot yet foresee.
Beyond the tragedies we know about, there may be a more silent impact of this pandemic: on our mental health. According to scientists, the psychological impact of quarantine can be devastating.
How do we as individuals and as a collective maintain hope and perspective through such rapid adjustments, fear, and uncertainty? Collective leadership, beyond egos and nationalism, is vital in these conditions. Let’s step up.
Resilience embraces new meaning
To drive positive actions, we must prepare ourselves and help others build individual resilience. It might be challenging as many of us have to deal with addressing essential needs and working out responses to emergencies. Nevertheless, this is imperative to foster collective resilience to revive our societies and economies. Most certainly, stronger individual resilience will be a starting point for our communities to rethink and act for a better world, once we’re beyond this crisis.
Here are a few thoughts on where to start the personal resilience journey:
1. Accept the new reality
Yes, this is real. Once again reality has surpassed fiction. This is our new reality. Confinement is the only possible response (at least in developed countries).
2. Change your perspective
We’re all hit, and it’s hard. Although in isolation, we’re all in this together.
To start with, each of us can find a long list of things to be thankful for. (For instance, I am grateful for this piece that helped me feel less alone as an extrovert dealing with the impact of lockdown.)
Looking at a wider perspective, I’m also seeing how lucky some of us are. We still have jobs, our health system is under pressure but coping, our government is focused on how to help, and our economy is still strong enough to soften the blow (at least for now).
While governments and many of us are focusing on addressing pandemic-related emergencies, we have to be ready for the next wave. It is likely that lower-income countries, in South Asia, Africa, and Latin America, which have been relatively untouched so far, will be hit hardest.
Here are two concrete examples that illustrate the scale of the challenge still to come. They imply yet another race against time. How can we best prepare now to support those countries to mitigate the impact of the pandemic?
“How are we going to practice ‘social distancing’ in one of the most densely populated country on earth (1200 people per sq.km.) and 2.25 million people living in the slums?”
asks Farhad Reza, Founding President of Build Bangladesh.
Maintaining a broader perspective allows seeing where the gaps are, prepare the next emergency responses, and keep thinking about the longer-term revival.
3. Seek inspiration and learning
“Now that blinding habits have evaporated, we can live our lives differently, and see people and objects with fresh light”
says Cristina Comencini, an Italian novelist and screen director.
We are getting into a new routine. While at home, we can get back to simple joys, get inspired, or learn new skills that we may need to rebuild a better world after this is over.
Two ideas worth highlighting:
- You can visit the world’s most amazing museums and art collections for free or listen to incredible concerts while staying at home. This includes the Social Distancing Festival which is one of the coolest initiatives out there to keep the arts and culture space alive.
- There are thousands of free online courses available for you to choose from (for example provided by edX). Personally, I’m tempted by this programme to co-create the revival.
4. Reach out
Family, friends, colleagues: help yourself by helping others.
I’m sure there are many virtual solidarity chains or support opportunities in your own community. Seek them out. As an example: Touchnote allows you to send free postcards to vulnerable people who are isolated due to coronavirus, using the code KINDNESS20.
Similarly, organisations are putting together challenges for topics of emerging needs, such as:
- How might we rapidly inform and empower communities around the world to stay safe and healthy during the COVID-19 outbreak?, a challenge by IDEO
- How can business support the most vulnerable in value chains and communities in the face of Covid-19?, a challenge by Business Fights Poverty
5. Reflect and reframe
“If we let go of everything that is not essential — what’s left?
[…] What if we used this disruption as an opportunity to let go of everything that isn’t essential in our life, in our work, and in our institutional routines?
How might we reimagine how we live and work together?”
asks Otto Scharmer (Senior Lecturer at MIT and co-founder of the Presencing Institute) in a highly insightful article titled: “Eight Emerging Lessons: From Coronavirus to Climate Action”.
How could we turn the negative into a positive? How do we prepare for revival?
Food for thought from:
- Leading impact investors: Lauren Cochran, MD at Blue Haven Initiative- here; and Maya Winkelstein and Caroline Bressan, CEO and MD of Open Road Alliance – here
- Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation – here
- Mariana Mazzucato, professor of economics at UCL and director of the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, here
- Matt Mellen, founder of Ecohustler, here
We have a historic opportunity to radically change our societies and make them be more just, sustainable and inclusive. This is what our impact movement is all about.
Connect with us if you want to participate!
This article was previously published on LinkedIn and is reproduced with permission.