Episode 1: Uncertainty of the New Normal

Overview: Everyone is new to the experiences brought by the pandemic, causing us to feel mixed emotions day-to-day. SatisFIND Co-founders, Michelle and Gabe begin the Reboot Program by letting us embrace these feelings and guide us to slowly deal with the crisis in ways we can practice while staying safe.  

Michelle:

Thank you for joining us in this Reboot Program. We designed short learning episodes to help frontliners prepare for the day we open our doors to customers again. In today’s episode, Gabe Baradi will take us through the reality we are facing today and what it means for frontliners and businesses in service.

Gabe:

Before the Pandemic, we were already experiencing world-shaking changes and challenges: Political conflict, economic downturn, natural disasters, environmental damage, and a general uncertainty about what all these would bring to our future. 

Our lives before the pandemic were already far from perfect. We already had challenges at work and at home and the pandemic only added another layer of complexity to our lives. 

The whole world is new to this, companies are new to this, you and I are new to this experience. As the world goes on lockdown and more communities are put on quarantine, no one truly knows when it will end, and what the new reality will look like. 

What we know is we are trying to survive this crisis. And the way we are dealing with the crisis comes in different ways, there is no one right way to do it. We are all doing our best. This means that our response to our situation and our feelings are just as varied as the number of people in the world experiencing the same thing.  Because of these individual situations, we cannot compare or judge who had it worse, or who is not having such a bad time compared to the rest. What can be acknowledged is that what you are feeling and what everyone else around you is feeling are all valid. It is understandable to feel scared, to feel confused, to feel sad, and even angry. We are all human and we are being stretched to our limits now. This pandemic is affecting everyone from the business owners to your managers and your co-workers at the store. Nothing about our world now is normal, no one wanted this to happen, but in our own way, we can find some ways to deal with this crisis together.

The first thing to do is to stay focused on the most important thing now, which is to be physically safe. Stay aware with what’s happening in your community without having to go out of your home. Let’s be proactive in getting accurate information online on how to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. Following the rules of the quarantine in your community is not easy, they are inconvenient but if our focus is to remain physically safe, we will be more aware of our surroundings, and have more responsibility to follow these guidelines. There is enough information telling us how to properly sanitize, and how to keep distance from other people when we need to go outside to buy essentials.

The second way to deal with this crisis is acknowledging the many mixed emotions we are feeling now. Many of us are feeling the effects of the isolation and it’s starting to make us feel confused. Express what you’re feeling with people at home or friends you are connected with online. They are also experiencing mixed emotions with this crisis. It helps to be able to say these thoughts and feelings out loud to your family or friends, because we are acknowledging the reality of our feelings. You will realize that you are not alone and therefore you are not completely isolated after all. 

As we acknowledge our feelings, it’s very important to understand when you need help and even more important to be able to ask for help. This is the 3rd way to deal with this crisis. One of the many positive reactions that we are seeing on social media is the willingness of people to help others. People around the world are showing gratitude for the efforts and dedication of frontliners who still have to go outside to keep working, so the rest of the world can stay safe indoors. 

Please find the courage to ask for help if you need it. Do not suffer in silence. This pandemic revealed that empathy is real. We will talk about empathy on another day, but there is so much kindness that’s going around, which show us that people’s basic human nature is good. If you ask for help, believe that help will come from the goodness of people’s hearts, and if you can help in any way, now is the time to reach out, as well.  

The fourth way to deal with this crisis is to check up on other people how they are doing. Sometimes, showing that we care about them goes a long way. They could be relatives, friends or people at work.  It helps a lot to make someone feel less alone when we connect with each other. 

In this already stressful situation, you also need to manage your stress. A lot of the stress that we experience during this crisis is a result of our fears and sometimes it is also other people’s fear that makes us feel stressed. 

Lessening our stress is easier said than done, but we can help ourselves by focusing on what we can control. This is the fifth way we can deal with this crisis. While we are at home, we are in control over our own lives and the safety of our families. Even simple decisions we make at home are because we choose to stay in control. Focus on that, it can be a powerful source of finding our strength to overcome fear and stress. 

While many things are uncertain, we can find ways to manage this feeling by establishing routines on how we can spend our time. Having new routines gives us a sense of power over the long hours under the quarantine. It’s ok to even have a plan for one day. Take that step and try it out tomorrow. 

Set routines for shared meals with the people in your home. This is a good time to talk as a household, find reasons to smile and find comfort in being together. Having regular time for exercise, even if it’s a simple one helps to keep you healthy, happy, and proud of yourself for having this achievement. We will all go back to work one day. We are all needed when the world opens up again. The best thing for us to do is prepare ourselves physically so we stay healthy when that day comes. Aside from exercise, getting enough sleep is equally important. It is ok to have those afternoon naps you didn’t want as a child but are longing for now that you’re an adult. 

If you work from home, set a schedule that serves as your “office time”. If you have children at home, they should have their own schedules as well, to help them deal with the large blocks of time. Work with them on what skills they want to learn every day and every week. Have them help you with the chores that need to be done daily. While we cannot control the bigger crisis, we can control our own actions within the safety of our homes. You are in control over your life. 

During this time, we have the opportunity to find ourselves again, and prepare for this “new normal“ that you must be hearing around. No one knows yet what the new normal will be like, but here is one secret – you are in control of creating your new normal at home and at work. History teaches us that change is the only constant in life, and the best response to change is to adapt. 

We are acknowledging the uncertainty of the new normal, but we are seeing this as an opportunity, where we can actively take part in creating our new normal at work and at home. Let’s review the 5 ways we can deal with this crisis:

  1. Focus on keeping ourselves physically safe
  2. Acknowledge the many mixed emotions we are feeling
  3. Ask for help when we need it
  4. Check up on other people how they are doing
  5. Focus on what we can control through the decisions we make in a day

For the next few weeks, through these short videos, Michelle and I will be sharing with you practical lessons on leadership and how you can be a better frontliner at work, how to deal with our co-workers, with your customers and even with your own bosses. See you in our next episode.

Michelle closing: 

We’d like to end this episode with a few questions to help you practice what Gabe shared with us: 

  • At home and in your personal life, what are the things that make you feel scared now?
  • How do you feel about your work, are there things that make you feel scared?

By acknowledging these truths, you are embracing your own vulnerability. To be vulnerable is to have this self-awareness that there are real threats and risks around us now. To find ourselves in this state is the first step in finding our inner courage again. 

  • Make a plan for tomorrow and see how you are able to follow that plan based on the little decisions you have to make throughout the day. It’s not easy, but this is why we have enough time to practice this. Start your day tomorrow by telling yourself that you are in control over your own life and over all the simple decisions you will be making for the day.

If you have questions about today’s episode, we would love to hear from you. Please click the link and share your thoughts or questions with us. We will answer them in the future episodes. Thank you for joining us.