The Covid 19 pandemic seems to have brought the very worst and the very best out in people. We’ve all seen evidence of our primal survival instincts kicking in with panic buying and knee jerk reactions. We’ve also seen strong leaders like Jacinda Ardern and Mark McGowan making tough decisions for the benefit of all.
Adopting an emotionally intelligent approach to the Covid 19 pandemic will help us weather the storm. Emotional intelligence is about integrating thoughts, feelings and actions to create positive choices, it’s about acknowledging and managing our feelings so they don’t overwhelm us, so we can behave more constructively. It’s about empathising with others, seeing the bigger picture and being proactive and solution orientated.
What can you do to adopt an emotionally intelligent approach to the Covid 19 pandemic?
Focus on the positive
- Some may say there is no positive to a pandemic with unprecedented social and economic ramifications but if we focus on all the negatives, it will amplify negative feelings such as despair, anxiety and depression. Instead, we can choose to focus on the things we can control. Now is the time for strong leadership and direction, we’re living through history. Make your actions count. You can choose to be empathetic to your staff, focus on how we can support each other and ensure everyone is clear on new policies and procedures. We can choose to acknowledge our team’s efforts and compliance with recommendations. We can focus on the learning we’re getting from having to deal with this challenge.
Overcome obstacles through creative, solution orientated thinking
- Some organisations are choosing to alternate staff members working from home and being in the office to comply with social distancing. I am starting to look into conducting training via video conferencing in the short to medium term. Other organisations are sharing pay cuts amongst senior staff or taking extended unpaid leave rather than making people redundant. During tough times, emotionally intelligent people collaborate and focus on what they can do to improve the situation or outlook.
See problems and setbacks as temporary
- Whilst it may not seem like it right now, this too shall pass. Covid 19 and the many of the impacts it’s having will have a limited life span. Already in China infection rates are declining with no new cases seen in the past 4 days. Life will return to a new normal eventually. It’s good to remind ourselves to maintain perspective.
Keep your sense of humour
- Laughter and light heartedness have been proven to provide health benefits and are contagious to others (in a good way!). Not to diminish the seriousness of the Covid 19 outbreak but humour can lighten the atmosphere and alleviate some of the fear. Take time to see the funny side of situations – there are some hilarious memes, videos and posts that help shine a different light on current circumstances.
Seek support during difficult times
- Acknowledge and share your feelings with trusted colleagues or EAP and encourage staff members to do the same. Emotional intelligence is not about sweeping negative feelings under the carpet, that just intensifies them. Emotional intelligence is about paying attention to the signals our emotions are trying to convey eg. fear is telling us we don’t feel safe, that we need to protect ourselves so acknowledge that and then take actions to help such as adhering to recommendations, getting the facts etc.
- Covid-19, whilst highly transmissible, has a remarkably low mortality rate of less than 2% so we need to be grateful that it’s not higher. We can be grateful that we have a great health system, grateful that organisations are adhering to policies and recommendations to curb the spread. Expressing gratitude has been demonstrated to have a positive impact, not only on the individual but the wider audience too.
There are certainly challenging times ahead but adopting an emotionally intelligent approach to the Covid 19 pandemic will help us to come out the other end stronger.
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