Pandemic lessons in overcoming adversity

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An orange, plastic, realistic model of the human brain placed upon a white surface
Here we see a model of something that most people do not use natasha connell via unsplash

Whether it is a global crisis or a personal one, we all have tools we can use to get through

by spencer grasdal, contributor

Provincial governments across Canada are loosening their pandemic health orders. Alberta has dropped all its restrictions, and Saskatchewan is following which means we will no longer publish the numbers of those infected with Covid-19 daily. At this time in the summer months people are wishing to return to living a normal life, without having to worry about being infected with coronavirus or keeping track of the latest information and orders regarding the pandemic. It is understandable, as in any society, that security and safety are important factors for the morale and wellbeing of its citizens. Without a sense of order in our daily lives, some people cannot live their lives because of their fear.

Although we may seek normalcy in our daily lives much to people’s dismay, another crisis always seems to be underway. Even after mass vaccinations and keeping the spread under control, places across Canada are dealing with wildfires and the evacuations of towns affected by them. As well, the coronavirus is still infecting millions of people around the world. While we may experience normalcy returning as we continue to deal with the pandemic, it should make us consider what we have learned in the past year and a half to help us better prepare for other crises that may occur in the future.

The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the first major global crisis younger generations have experienced. This pandemic has given people the realization that we are not invincible, and death can come for anyone. It is not a pleasant thought but consider that millions of people have died from the disease and have been directly and indirectly affected by is aftereffects. It shows that people have no choice in how to continue living their lives and performing their duties in these types of circumstances. What drives us to continue in the face of adversity? How can anyone witness traumatic events and live unpredictably? People have developed these skills for thousands of years and have been able to reach the light at the end of the tunnel in any situation. You may read about some of the most influential people’s achievements and most often their stories have episodes involving failure or adversity before they are successful. They have traits that allow them to continue after dealing with failure and uncertainty. These traits in people allow them to keep themselves on guard and deal with all events in their lives.

Individuals who have discipline are able to control their behaviours which allow them to adapt to the environment they are in. It means they are willing to act in compliance with expectations to achieve specific objectives allowing them to have situational awareness. Times of crisis will require people to act according to rules and standards that are established. This was demonstrated by the pandemic through required government intervention because of its scale and severity. It required careful study and planning by experts, who then created and issued order and regulations to contain the spread of COVID-19 and keep people safe. Guidelines were given, and people who didn’t adhere to those guidelines would risk getting fined or – more importantly – getting COVID-19. People may not always agree with certain orders and rules but being disciplined allows them to understand the reasoning behind things, and see the bigger picture of why they are being issued. Those with discipline will also be able to help correct and guide those who are undisciplined. This prevents the breakdown of groups and ensures that less difficulties are encountered.

Emotional intelligence is the understanding of emotions in yourself and others. Uncertain times will cause people to become angry, sad, and worried, which will influence their actions. You cannot always allow your emotions to dictate how you act, as they may not always reflect the most appropriate course of action for the situation at hand. This does not mean that you should supress your emotions entirely, but it is about being able to reflect on how you feel when the time is appropriate before planning your next move. You may also be able to read how people are feeling around you based on their actions and interact with them in a complementary way. We always need to pay attention to our emotions during a crisis as allowing our emotions to overwhelm us may cause poor choices to occur. Understanding others will allow you to better work with them in problem solving and performing whatever duties are needed.

Having expectations that can be fluid is a valuable way of thinking as crises are always unpredictable. It must be understood that it is sometimes futile to try to predict what will happen in the future, although that is easier said than done. People will try to create order in amongst chaos to regain their bearings and sense of control. It is not a bad thing to do, but that does not change the fact that we cannot predict the future. After events have passed, there is the possibility that we still may not fully understand why things happened the way they did. It is better to think short-term rather than long-term in these situations.

These are just some ways to manage yourself in a crisis, and they only scratch the surface in terms of teaching one how to become more mentally resilient. It should be developed and practiced through means of seeking adversity you can manage and reflecting on unexpected events. There will always be times when crises will arise, both during and after this pandemic. We have not fully gotten through this crisis, and another has started with regards to the forest fires appearing all over Canada. We may have comfortable lives when our safety is secured, but we cannot take it for granted.

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