Wow. A lot has happened in just a short period of time. It’s enough to make your head spin, right?
In the past two weeks, the world as we know it has dramatically changed in response to the COVID-19 virus. Many professionals are now working from home for the first time with little to no preparation. In some areas, schools have also closed, which means these same folks are trying to care for their kids and prevent them from falling too far behind in their studies. Some businesses are experiencing major slowdowns, while others are completely shutting down (leaving workers unpaid), and still others are ramping up to help deal with the situation.
No matter your personal circumstances, we are all being tested right now. Our ability to manage change is more important than ever.
I am reminded of the many training workshops I’ve led where we’ve discussed change and how to manage it in the workplace. I often ask participants to recall times in the past when they went through major changes—the emotions they experienced, the strategies they employed, and how they ultimately adapted successfully. Every one of us has been through this cycle countless times before. Sure, the changes we’re experiencing now are perhaps bigger and stranger than any in the past…but we all know how to do this. Have faith in yourself.
Many experts have studied change and how humans respond to it. Turns out, we are biologically hardwired to resist it. After all, for our cavemen ancestors, change often signaled a threat to survival. So, physiologically, we experience the stress response, even if the changes we’re experiencing are not immediately or imminently life threatening.
Managing your stress in this time is especially important for your own health—and for the health of your loved ones as well. Keep in mind that, through our behaviors, we are teaching our children how to handle a crisis. Let’s show them what it looks like to accept change gracefully and to contribute positively to our communities in times of need.
Change also takes a mental toll. Our brains like to play tricks on us. Martin Seligman, a world-renowned psychologist and researcher, identified three common mental fallacies we experience during change, which he refers to as the 3 P’s. I’ve listed them below, along with some tips for overcoming them.[Read more…] about Adjusting to the New Normal: How to Cope with Rapid Change