Updated: Oct 12
Let's face it, we live in a world of limitations & uncertainties. National or global events occur that force us to change how we behave, interact with each other, & inevitably change how we perceive the world.
As much as we want to control the faith of our lives, sometimes we don't always get the desired outcome due to external events. However, we owe it to ourselves to adopt to ongoing changes & focus on what we can control. By doing so, we will not only feel better about the future but also be able to properly prioritize our commitments.
It's important to acknowledge how much COVID-19 has changed our lives since its early beginnings in 2020.
COVID-19 being a contagious disease as it is, has had health consequences & human costs we as a community have continuously observed & reevaluated. Geographical locations will vary with COVID regulations, local & online cultural climate, & social norms are important factors to include.
The goal of this blog post is to go over some changes that have been recurring & how best to adopt to them. We also aim to highlight on things to focus on where we have more autonomy & control over.
Think about these topics & suggestions carefully & bring up in a counseling session if something is worthwhile & applicable.
NOTE: keywords in the table of content will be hyperlinked for quick navigation across this webpage. This article doesn't have to be read in its entirety as some parts might be more relevant to read than others.
Here are some examples of recurring changes that have been taking place.
Lastly, suggestions provided may not be generalizable so it is important to consult further with a trained professional.
Table Of Content:
As the world moves towards globalization, geographical boundaries are becoming less and less relevant with some places shifting towards remote work. With COVID-19, this shift has become more accelerated, with an estimated one-third of the workforce working remotely over the next five years.
However, industries with a higher effective potential for productivity in a shift to remote would be financial services, management, consulting, scientific/technical services, & information technology.
Not all work environments are ideal for remote-work despite the urgency to make COVID-friendly shifts like education, healthcare, retail, administrative support, & many others. Shifting to remote work can be problematic for both workers & consumers when there is work involved where human interaction is a lot more involved than automated.
This can make work feel less meaningful & deliver less of an ideal consumer experience.
Likewise, other issues to consider is being a worker & not having much of a choice if work is fully remote or not.
Whether you work remote or not, having access to tools & key principles can make adjusting easier.
Here's some advice for people who are working remotely:
Coordinate routine scheduled times to meet with your supervisor. If work performance is concerning, reach out to your supervisor to elicit feedback. With a lot of remote work being self-directed, it's hard for supervisors to know about your difficulties if they're not directly there to assist.
Limit home distractions. It's possible having accessible exposure to distractions can cause employees to prioritize work less. Turn off notifications, remove irrelevant tabs, or distance oneself from other people in the same household.
Consider changes in scenery. The feeling of being stuck at home all the time isn't pleasant & can feel redundant. Consider planning on visiting different libraries, parks, coffee shops, & outdoor locations with a good internet connection to complete necessary work.
Reach out to coworkers & participate in virtual events! This might seem challenging at first because of the already limited contact. However, it's a possibility other colleagues are missing out on needed engagement & could benefit from
Here's some advice for people who are not working remotely but would like to:
Work at a remote-friendly company. Because of this technological shift that's been taking place, a lot of bargaining power is being given to the employee. If a workplace is giving you a hard time with working remotely where you more productive & comfortable, maybe it's a sign to consider a switch.
Consider a switch in industry. This is easier said than done, however the reward/risk ratio might be worth it if a job is willing to pay more for your skills, knowledge base, & expertise. Other industries are more remote-friendly than others. Although jumping into a new industry can be risky & competitive, the opportunity for a better quality of life afterwards can be worth the reward.
Scale up in the company. This like many previous examples may not be generalizable to all companies or industries, but being promoted yields for better opportunities & increased freedom. Consider taking supplementary courses to increase one's market & resume value with affordable platforms like EDX, Skillshare, Coursera, & many others!
Attend networking events for newer work. These are often abundant locally, via webinars, college campuses, & often promoted on LinkedIn. Keep an eye out for interesting positions people are offering. Take a business card & feel free to reach out to their teams, they are looking for fresh talent & new eyes to help them grow their company.
Social Economic Status
COVID-19 has caused a recession since March of 2020 with a large number of people facing different financial hardships.
A lot of people were thrown off guard with how the economy reacts to an ever-changing pandemic.
In the United States, COVID-19 disproportionately affects ethnic minorities and those who have lower social economic status. Those with lower SES have a harder time accessing basic financial necessities like financial education, housing opportunities, loans and healthcare.
This calls for a lot of concern for people who might be stricken economically because of COVID-related hardships.
What are some ways to overcome financial hardships:
Cut extra costs. This one could be tricky but consider what things are needed for living & what things are a means of additional luxury. Cutting costs to things that are not needed can be a huge differentiator. Things that could be cut out of expenses could be things like streaming subscriptions, take-out, impulse buys, extra unneeded clothing, & recreational drugs like alcohol.
Consider moving to another economically friendly location. This might seem like a big ask, however the cost/benefits might be worth it. MyMove, a marketing research company reports that out of the 15.9 million people that moved, 18% left where they were living because of financial reasons. Some valid reasons to move could be because of lower cost of living, more economic opportunity elsewhere, relocation for job growth, or moving in with additional people to split costs.
Learn & adapt from money management habits. Learning from past mistakes could be cues for better financial outcomes later on. This can include cutting expenses, creating a budget, mindful spending, putting money aside, & seeking financial literacy resources for help.
Financial Literacy. Financial literacy is the understanding of how money works, what it’s worth, and how to make it work for you. It teaches people about managing their income and learning about different ways they can invest or save their money. YouTube is a great place to start with learning about money because of all the free content available on there like tutorials, talks, interviews and videos that all help you understand how managing money better. Blogs provide great information for all types of individuals with step by step guides and explanations that are easy to read through. Podcasts are an interesting way to learn about money as they allow listeners to hear stories in audio format from people who have faced challenges or overcome them with their finances. Broadcasting shows like Bloomberg & CNBC have expert breakdowns of the economy from professional financial analysts.
Something that tends to be beyond our control is managing if a scheduled event goes accordingly as planned. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has been the catalyst to put a lot of events
into increased potential for disarray. From travel restrictions, local regulation, health concerns, & other event logistical factors, event planning can feel like a big downer.
But just because a anticipated event is cancelled, doesn't mean it can't eventually happen.
When an event gets cancelled, it would feel natural to feel some disappointment, discontent, & maybe a little frustration. However, this would be a pivotal moment to reframe how we react when things don't go our way.
There's this term known as cognitive reframing, which is described as a process by which we aim to think differently about something. If certain things happen, how we "frame" it can determine how we think & feel about it. To reframe would allow us to change how we are feeling to help make more sense out of a situation.
In relation to event planning during COVID-19, sure an event not going as planned might suck at the moment but consider preparing for the event more when it eventually does happen. This additional planning time can could an event execute better than originally planned.
Let's acknowledge that when events don't go our way it could be because of events beyond our control. But, what we do have control over is how we reach & what to do about it next.
How To Handle Event Planning Because Of COVID-19:
Determine if an event can be virtual. This depends on how flexible an event is based on the goal of it. For instance, business events can be turned into webinars or video conference rooms whereas an event that celebrates people (like birthdays, religious ceremonies, weddings) have the best turnout when people are physically present. Here is a good rule of thumb. Anything that can be done rather quickly like 1-2 hours worth of time like a lecture, business gathering, course, & physical training session can be done remotely. On the other hand, events that usually last long than 2 hours where people are appreciating the time they spend together might be worth more doing in-person.
Consider a hybrid event. Hybrid events give people a full range of flexibility to be able to attend events. This would be especially useful if attendees have to make a last minute change of plans.
Come to compromises. Consider the people who would be planning to come to events on the kind of people they are & the distance they are traveling from. There are people who otherwise would be traveling a far enough distance & other people who may be a vulnerable crowd like the elderly or disabled. Some people might have things to do but would feel bad saying no to an event invite. Reach out to see who would be open to being at an event virtually/come again later to take all accommodations into consideration while allowing people to feel as involved as possible.
Make an exerted effort for a reschedule. This can be challenging having to be followed up with all invited about a planned event to hope that it can happen again. However, this can be a testament to a person's ability to hold onto commitments. There's no shame if an event absolutely can not take place, & no party should take it personal if it doesn't. A reschedule can provide people with more time to plan accordingly to reconsider details of an event to make it better like agreeing to meet at a different location, invite more people, less people, or even bring up more worthwhile conversation points to talk about.
There is a growing trend of people feeling lonely and isolated. The state of the world because of COVID-19 has added to the mayhem by causing people to interact less with one another. Even with increased access to communicating with people, it can feel like people are more alone than usual.
According to researchers at the Journal of Nature, "There is limited research on psychological well-being during a pandemic. In addition, much of the research is limited to older adult samples.". There is little research available on the long-term mental well-being on adults, & much less for those under 18. Much of what has occurred in the last 18 months is unprecedented & is likely to be studied for behavioral patterns for years to come.
Social media, texting, and video calling services don't offer the same opportunities for social interaction like in-person conversations. A lot of the same elements for interactions may not be viably present such as body language, facial cues, clear tonality, or touch. It's easy for someone to feel like they can't find someone to talk with when they want, or that their emotional needs are not being met by the other person on the other end of the line or screen.
However, in the face of adversity or uncertainty, compromise should be considered in order to maintain the health of relationships that are the least the most meaningful to one's life.
Reach Out To People Virtually. Talking to people or sending them messages will not only fulfill your need for social interaction but will also help you discover new things about them while staying updated about current events. And at least this form of communication is better than nothing, or even easier to do than others.
If Communicating Online, Avoid Undesired Negativity. As great as the potential of social media can be, these companies benefit when they share viral content to users despite the context of the material. It can be easy to fall into a negativity or distraction loop when it comes to viewing things online. A healthy moderation of usage especially to use social media just for talking to people is a healthy practice.
Partake In Synchronous Activities. Synchronous activities are things that are happening in real time & applies to both in-person & online. If people wanted to listen to a song together, they can be next to each other & decide to listen to something together. Likewise, they could be doing a video chat/facetime & still have the ability to listen to music together, just not physically next to one another. Other examples include: playing games, conversation, outreach/networking strategies, & watching/listening to entertainment.
Partake In Asynchronous Activities. Asynchronous activities are things that don't happen at a concurrent time but rather done in a flexible & time friendly manner. This in the instance of COVID-19 can make doing things together with other people easier without immediate time sensitivities. This could be watching things or listening to content at different times than people, or an online game, or a collaborative creative project. Asynchronous activities gives people an opportunity to do things with each other although not in real time, but can provide an opportunity to reconnect with someone later on & talked about what they did asynchronously.
Mental Health Challenges
According to Google Trends, word search queries for online counseling reached an all time high around the first two weeks of April 2020 & has maintained a high volume of search queries since. It is evident that the pandemic with lockdowns, getting sick, COVID regulations, & factoring in a lot of the human costs has had its implications with the populations mental health.
The pandemic has caused many mental health challenges. Depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders are some of the mental health issues people are facing due to the pandemic. There are a lot of resources available for those struggling with mental health problems.
A lot of these issues have arisen directly or indirectly because of COVID-19 & is leaving the mental health industry with more demand for services than there is supply of.
We can help those struggling with mental health problems by providing them with therapy sessions, community awareness campaigns on mental health, or even text support or available hotlines.
Here Are Some Suggestions To Get Through Mental Health Struggles:
Seek Out Telehealth Services. This method is most COVID-19 friendly as servicing can be done online, more easily accessible, & likely to be more affordable than traditional counseling.
Seek Out A Therapist In-Person. This may not be as COVID-19 friendly as telehealth, but some people feel more engaged when they are within physical proximity to a person. A person can benefit more from a therapy session if a counselor is able to visually see more apparent body cues a person is giving off in sessions; this can further the progression of treatment & discussions of personal issues.