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When Simply Surviving is Enough

The Covid 19 pandemic has certainly stopped us all in our tracks, and for most of us has had a major impact on our lives. For some of us it’s through having caught the virus ourselves or concerns about catching it, dealing with the death of a loved one from the virus, financial worries, career or job loss, the effects of social isolation, or having to juggle working from home with home schooling children etc.

However, now that we’re about 4 weeks into the restrictions imposed on us in Australia, and coming to terms with the effects of that, we find that many people are literally ‘picking themselves up’ and moving on with their lives, looking for the opportunities within the current situation. We’re seeing examples of people who are positively showing creativity and are developing themselves to learn new skills. We’re also being bombarded with offers from people who are using the opportunity to launch their new products and services online.

While that is fantastic for those people, and I for one am enjoying some of the benefits (think online yoga and dance classes), it can also have the effect of making others feel somehow inadequate if they are not able to forge ahead with a clear direction for themselves. I frequently see posts on social media, and receive different emails with statements such as “the best way you can help ( the current situation) is by making sure you’re not part of the problem”, “ now isn’t the time to shrink, it’s the time to grow!”, “I could wallow in that (loss of speaking contracts) for days, but that wouldn’t be productive,” and ‘’focus on the positive, rather than the negative’ . These statements are no doubt well meant and intended to encourage people to move on, which can indeed help to motivate some. There is, however, no acknowledgement or understanding that not everyone is able to use their current situation to ‘thrive, rather than simply survive’.

Recently on the TV program ‘The Project’, the Australian comedian Kate Langbroek, who is currently in isolation in Italy with her family, was asked whether she was using her current isolation as an opportunity to improve her Italian language skills. Kate commented that while some people are using the situation to develop themselves and be creative, she was not one of those people, but was currently feeling ‘frozen’, and is focusing on simply managing the day to day situation and getting meals on the table for her family.

Coming from a successful comedian, this might be surprising, but also quite enlightening, as it allows others to acknowledge that maybe it’s okay to be simply ‘surviving’ at the moment, taking things one day at a time, without necessarily needing to be ‘achieving’ new things. Obviously, ‘surviving’ can mean different things for each of us, and we need to acknowledge that many people are not managing as well as we might be, and may be struggling, either physically, mentally or emotionally.

It does also highlight that we all respond differently to a crisis, some people are able to respond to their changing circumstances and seize opportunities quickly, while others need time to adjust to change more slowly.

So, if you are currently feeling ‘frozen’, or are simply in ‘survival’ mode, taking one day at a time , perhaps it’s good to remind yourself that it’s enough, and you’re okay!

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