Since the middle of March, coronavirus has been impacting our lives. We’ve considered fears that never crossed our minds just a few short months ago. Nothing feels quite right in this time of coronavirus, but thankfully, it’s not all bad. Our eyes have opened to things we were too busy to see before, and maybe, once ‘normal’ is restored, we’ll appreciate them more.
Focusing on what we can control
We can’t control a pandemic – there’s no way to know how our daily actions contribute to the survival of the virus, and that’s stressful. Turning away from what we can’t control has led many to see the positive ripple effect of what we CAN control. On a personal level, we can wear masks and maintain social distance when around others. On a professional level, we can treat customers with more kindness. We can prioritize the well-being of our customers and employees over our bottom line. We can be one less thing that causes them strife on a given day.
Many people are also applying this tactic to their world at large. They are planting gardens to have food readily available without relying on an overwhelmed supermarket. They’re working on their yards and spending time improving their immediate environment, opting to stay at home and drive less reduces toxic emissions in the air. These are small, manageable acts that pave the way for positive change.
Coming together like never before
As a global phenomenon, Covid-19 has many folks coming together to solve problems rather competing for scarce resources. “It’s a herd mentality, bringing people together under this threat,” says Pete Davis, Co-Founder and CEO of GreenPrint. We’re not alone, and it’s obvious how we can affect change when we all work together to make choices for the health and safety for all.
Twitter, for example, is one such place applying the lessons of today forward, allowing employees to work from home indefinitely. They won’t open offices until at least September, and have cancelled in-person company events for the rest of the year. Each decision was conscious of spread – to one’s community and home – and employee health. It’s a decision mindful of the impact each individual can make.
Slowing down the right way
The slow down forced a change in habits for the better. We make less waste, no longer having lunches on the run or flying through a drive thru for another cup of coffee. We’re going on fewer errands, spending that time at home instead of in our cars. We are making small differences which coalesce into real change.
The slowdown also means it’s no longer go-go-go for many of us. With no commute, we can all finally set aside blocks of family time during the week. The rush to get things done has slowed down because we simply can’t work at the breakneck pace of before. People are traveling less, realizing that we can do more remotely than we’d ever thought possible. Before coronavirus, work-life balance was a foreign concept for many. We might now be on track to get there.
Slowing down has given us the clarity to see how we can do it all a little better and care for the world around us at the same time.
Transforming the future
Reopening the world won’t be like flipping on a light switch, it will happen gradually and with many unknowns. We have the power, and the responsibility, to make it a better normal.
The protests across the country and globe have awakened the need to reinvigorate our highest values and carry with us a consciousness for justice. Championing the issue of climate change extends beyond two degrees Celsius, it means defunding the coal power plants which pollute the air and water in communities of color. It means thinking locally, supporting those businesses which offset carbon and abate the disproportionate impact of natural disaster. It means sustaining a lifestyle which benefits less from emission creating activities.
Our task is to take the lessons we’ve learned during quarantine and applying them to the benefit of the world at large. Keep sight of the personal and environmental benefits that are happening now. This will allow us to approach regular activities, when they return, differently. Just like the development of a good habit, if we allow small shifts to build on each other, we can let new habits take hold that continue to make a positive impact on the future.