• Adele Pargeter

Five Things I’ve discovered since COVID-19 touched down

Right now, where you are and how you’re coping during this uneasy time, is likely very different from the person living across the road from you. While we’ve all banded together to significantly change our everyday lives to save the lives of others, our own situation is entirely unique. If you put aside the necessary social isolation restrictions, the shutting down of businesses, the closing down of entire industries, and dig even deeper, you’ll find that this pandemic isn’t only impacting us physically. As we manoeuvre our lives around, keeping COVID-19 away, a whole lot more starts to shift as well. It’s this shifting that’s unnerving for most of us.

Yes, we’ve had to physically socially isolate, work remotely, conduct school remotely, reduce our hours of employment, or even worse, lose our employment. Sure, we’ve had to pivot our businesses, close our businesses, and possibly find new and creative ways to make an income. But, as we make these physical changes to adjust to our environment we’re living in right now, the things that usually define us, are slowly fading away. And, as the pandemic continues to play a role in our lives, who we are, and how we see ourselves, will most definitely change as a result of this profoundly unsettling period in time.

Humans are a resilient bunch, constantly finding ways to not only survive but thrive during times of unrest. And like many small businesses and start-ups, I’ve had to dig deep to keep the creative juices running and my positivity in check. I’ve had moments, like the rest of us, where I’ve had to look beyond my immediate space for positivity and confidence to keep going. It hasn’t been an easy ride, but I’ve discovered a few things so far.

1. During times of crisis, communities rally together

I sound like Captain Obvious here but reach out and connect with those in your immediate community because these little connections are pure gold. Before the pandemic, I can honestly say, we didn’t know many people living on our street (busy lives and no time to chat). We knew our immediate neighbours and saw them regularly, but beyond this, we had very few interactions with others. Now, with streets dotted with hidden teddy bears and pavements covered in chalked rainbows and words of hope, I know the many faces that live along our street. When we take a walk (and it’s a lot lately), we stop and say hello (from a distance). We check-in, we chat COVID-19, we fill the social cup. These little moments of incidental connection along our beachside street, have offered hope and a sense of normality. Our socially distanced lives have become somewhat richer through these little smiles, quick chats, and friendly banter with our neighbours.

2. You are more than your job

When we lose our income, when our roles change, when our hours shift and when our place of work shifts too, who we are, and how we define ourselves, changes. These physical and psychological adjustments have a profound impact on our sense of self, so much so, that we can start to feel as though we are no longer who we thought we were. What I’ve learnt over the past few months is that our career, our job, our place of work, is really just one part of our ‘self’. And yes, there is absolutely no doubt that it is a very important part and plays a large role in our lives, but essentially, it is just one part. When we start to foster this idea and develop other areas of interest beyond our workspace, our identity isn’t held intact by just one aspect of our lives.

What this pandemic has unearthed for many people around the world is the very real need and desire to foster and nurture other areas of interest. With nothing but time on our hands and many weekends forced inside, there is no better time than now. I’ve indulged in cooking, gardening, reading, building forts with the children, and hours on end of Lego…just to name a few. These mindful activities have forced me to slow down and to really recalibrate.

3. Taking a short break away from your socials won’t harm your engagement long term

My forced social media break was entirely out of necessity. When I found myself at home, three children remote schooling, and a husband teaching remote classes from the bedroom, I couldn’t write a sentence let alone a social media caption. My priorities were first and foremost about ensuring my children felt safe during the pandemic. My focus shifted from growing my business presence on social media to home-schooling.

Here’s the thing, a small break away from your business socials, won’t damage your brand or your engagement. In fact, I think you’ll find you’ll come back with a brighter outlook on your social media marketing strategy.

4. You don’t have to pivot during a crisis

It’s easy to think that during this crisis your business has to pivot, it doesn’t! You should definitely use this time to invest in other spaces of your business such as refreshing your website material and rethinking your current product and service offerings but don’t feel like you need to make any massive business decisions right now. A decision to pivot needs to make financial sense and should continue to be on-brand. When done properly, pivoting has its advantages (and in some instances ensures that a business survives), however, it can also result in significant losses if it fails. When a business pivots during a crisis, it’s often born entirely out of necessity. When this occurs, the pivoting decision made during the crisis may actually become another significant business offering in the future.

5. Create some routine

When all hell is breaking loose around you, it’s absolutely essential to create some routine. Each day we begin with a family walk, this very simple action provides each of us with a starting point for the day. It also wakes us up, gets us moving, and makes us all feel good. We also stop for lunch together and if the weather is nice, sit outside in the sun to reconnect. If I’m not helping a child with school work, I’ll make sure I check my work emails, finish tasks, and do some writing. Humans thrive when their lives have some semblance of normality. So, during this pandemic, when our normal isn’t quite normal, finding our own routines will significantly help us feel much more comfortable.

At the start of this year, I was openly optimistic about the outlook of my business. I had prospective clients lined up and a few repeat clients on the books. Today, I’m like many women running a small business from home, I’m keeping busy by helping my children with their remote learning. As I type this blog I’m quietly hopeful that the coming months will bring with it more clarity, more confidence, and more work. As I lift my gaze above my laptop and share a smile with my daughter, I’m quickly reminded of just how lucky I am. And, in those moments of frustration, or angst, or uncertainty, let’s always try to lift our gaze, because, in all honesty, it’s these little moments that provide true meaning to our lives.

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