Career Advice

The Calm and the Chaos

Posted by Madeline
min read
Manny Pantoja P2 4kx Fhv Cq Unsplash

Collecting your thoughts during COVID-19

I spent the end of 2019 thinking about my new start in 2020 and how impactful it would be. It’s a new year, a new decade, and it’s the year of the rat which is my Chinese zodiac sign. The stars were aligned for me to have a great year. 2020 was my year and nothing could stop me.

Then COVID-19 hit. My motivation and optimism took a big hit as uncertainty travelled around the world. The words ‘unprecedented times’ would ring through my ears daily and in turn, fuelled my anxiety. This pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities of humanity – this virus does not discriminate and is affecting everyone.

The results of this pandemic are quite extraordinary. The economy has declined, redundancies and pay cuts have occurred and bizarrely, we’re all staying at home. Personally, staying at home 24/7 has been an interesting experience. Sometimes, I feel couped up and trapped. I’ve always considered myself to be a social butterfly, so not being able to physically see my friends, family and colleagues has been difficult. However, after a month of self-isolation I have realised a couple of things that have helped me throughout these times.


Critical Calls

We are so blessed to be living in a technologically advanced world. We can communicate with people all over the world through the internet and phone calls. As such, I have been actively calling and video conferencing my friends to socialise. Being able to see each other through video calls has helped my mental health as it materialises the situation. I can see my friends smile, laugh or make goofy faces which brightens my day.

From a work perspective, calling my team members, candidates and clients on a frequent basis has allowed me to improve my professional relationships. It’s important to remember that everyone is in the same boat, so a simple catch up with your temp or an online coffee break with your colleagues can really make a difference.


Take Action

Remember all those things you wanted to do last month? Perhaps it was decluttering your room or learning a new language. The amount of free time has increased as we are unable to travel or do outdoor activities. During this down time, we need to take initiative and start doing all those things we wanted to do. I’m the type of person who needs to be kept occupied. Learning new things has been a great way to stimulate my brain as I feel like I am doing something productive.

Since gyms are closed, working out has never been more difficult. Should I do a 30-minute workout or lie in bed for another 30 minutes? To combat this, it helps to do activities with other people as it keeps everyone accountable. It also gives you an opportunity to socialise and interact with others.


Reflect and Appreciate

During these difficult times, I have been writing one thing I am grateful for every day. This exercise has allowed me to reflect on all the little things that I have taken for granted. I miss the ability to discover new places through a road trip with friends, but also the fantastic Korean fried chicken I used to frequently buy from a shop 45 minutes away. I miss shopping for toilet paper with ease and lazing around on the beach.

This pandemic has affected our lives dramatically. Once this dies down, there will be a new normal that we need to adjust to. As scary as that is, I am also excited to live everyday to the fullest. This down time has allowed me to appreciate my social circle on a new level. I will never take any form of social interaction or function for granted. At times like this, I am forever grateful for our amazing health care workers who work tirelessly to help our community. I don’t know what will happen in the future; we are living in ‘unprecedented times. What I do know is we will get through this.


Stay indoors, stay safe and stay healthy.