Welcome to the new normal of working from home, and dealing with the unknown about novel covid19, the economy, and what our life ahead is going to be like.

Whether you are a corporate CEO, a small business owner, or a seasoned professional, productivity is based on mental focus and emotional stability.

Coronavirus pandemic creates fear and anxiety

In the past two weeks, as the coronavirus pandemic has been spreading in the US, California started a statewide Shelter in Place last week. Everyone has been experiencing various levels of fear, anxiety and stress, after normal work and life routines were abruptly changed, while the stock market reflected our inner roller-coasteering between hope and fear.

This invisible new virus is threatening every country on Earth and bringing our global economy to its knees. A lot is unknown. How long are we going to keep social distancing? When will everything go back to normal? When will there be a vaccine?  Will the stock market continue its downward spiral? Is the United States going to win this war against the virus? How much damage will the pandemic will do to our economy, to democracy, to open society, and even to our work and social lifestyle? Will my business survive or not survive? Will I still have a job?…

It is simply inhuman not to worry about our own health and not to be anxious about the financial impact this screeching brake has on our economy, our family and our own future.

Fear is the oldest and strongest emotion of mankind, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is the fear of the unknown. 

Fear can mean either “forget everything and run”, or “face everything and rise.”

Crisis reveals true characters

People show their true colors in crisis. There are hoarders, price gougers, panic sellers, compulsive buyers, opportunists, self-centered, self-claimed influencers, cult-leaders, haters, end-of-worlders, and those who believe in and practice “everyone for themselves”… 

It is the worst of the times, it is also the best of the times.  Either we let the best in us shine through the worst, or let our worst make the darkness even darker. 

When the world is turned topsy turvy, the comfort of being with each other at this unusual time is more than any other “essentials”.  Humans are social animals. We depend on each other for mental, emotional and even physical health. At this time, we need true connection with loved ones. We need support from family, friends and community more than ever, especially while we experience social distancing and quarantine required for mitigating coronavirus’ spread.

Just as some take advantage of the crisis to self-serve or self-promote, to cash in, or to divide, the truly noble and heroic people are quietly donating masks, checking on lonely elder neighbors, taking care of their small children, elder parents and their loved ones while adapting to working from home and are volunteering, giving, and serving, comforting and uplifting others in every way they can.

In a pandemic, nobody is as exposed to risk and relied upon as our doctors, nurses, emergency responders and healthcare workers: they are the light in the darkness. They are the salt of the Earth.

Serving others comforts ourselves

The warmth of the volunteers, the givers and the caretakers eases others’ loneliness and anxiety. Many of those who help others during disasters and crises find that being at the service of others is also tremendously comforting to themselves, since keeping themselves busy and occupied with volunteering work makes them temporarily forget about their own anxiety and worries. Serving others is intrinsically fulfilling and soul-soothing.

The least you can do, is to keep calm

Panic, just like a pandemic, is contagious and lethal.  Not to react to others’ panic but to stay calm in a crisis is inspiring and helpful. Not everyone can volunteer when they have family members to care for and work from home at the same time.  

The least you can do is to first take care of your own physical and mental health, so you don’t become a source of stress or even a burden to others and to further strain the already stressed healthcare system. Be the safe harbor for all those around you in a stormy sea.

Then your calmness will be comforting and uplifting to your loved ones, your family, friends and your community.  Your GENUINE optimism and hopefulness will have ripple effects to all.

Inner peace anchors you and gives you a sense of control. A sound mind is the foundation for productivity.

Today’s choices are tomorrow’s memories

No one is 100% prepared for any crisis in reality since every crisis evolves as it unfolds, and has a life of its own.  We can let a crisis define our resolve rather than limit our capacity. Let a crisis refine our character as we each learn-on-the-job. The coronavirus mostly likely will be with us for 12-24 months, more or less.  Like all storms, disasters, plagues and wars, IT SHALL PASS.

When we look back at 2020, what memories are you creating today, tomorrow, next week and in the next 9 months?  Will these memories give you satisfaction, peace and pride, in coping with this temporary new normal? Think about it, before making choices to either “forget everything and run”, or “face everything and rise.” 

To be continued in our next “Crisis” series: How to Communicate to save your relationships.

By Joanne Tan, March 21, 2020.  © Joanne Tan 2020.

About the author:  Joanne Tan is the CEO at www.10PlusBrand.com, a full-service brand marketing agency helping businesses decode the DNA of their brand, create differentiating verbal and video content for websites, and amplify your impact with social media, content marketing and SEO.  Email: info@10PlusBrand.com